Volvo’s 90 years of experience coupled with almost limitless Chinese financing could unseat Tesla from its perch as a top tech and luxury EV brand. Less than three months after the Model 3 launch, Volvo held a flashy introduction of its own: the Polestar electrified performance vehicle subbrand.
The new product line, part of Volvo’s strategy to electrify all new vehicles starting in 2019, is to consist of the Polestar 1, a hybrid performance coupe; Polestar 2, a higher-volume all-electric sedan; and Polestar 3, a battery-electric SUV. While discussing the sedan due in late 2019, Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath had Tesla square in his sights.
“We want to go all-in, to where it’s happening, to where it’s cooking,” he said. “We decided to build an electric car that will be joining the competition around the Tesla Model 3, bringing an exciting, appealing midsize battery vehicle to the market.”
Before heading Polestar, Ingenlath led Volvo’s design turnaround after Zhejiang Geely Holding Group bought the automaker from Ford Motor Co. in 2010. With an USD11 billion investment from its new Chinese owner, Volvo rolled out a slew of well-received products packed with advanced driver assist technology.
The makeover drove a sales streak, with 461,313 vehicles sold globally in the first 10 months of 2017, and a target of 800,000 vehicles sold annually by 2020. With Polestar, the automaker is branching out of its traditional customer base to a more niche, performance-minded buyer.