More and more often you notice coupés or SUVs with E-plates on the motorway or in the big city that you have never seen before. If a north star flashes on the bonnet, it is most likely a Polestar car. But where does the brand come from, which cars does it build and what is behind it? In this guide we will introduce you to the Swedish car manufacturer in more detail.
The Polestar Story: From Race Tuning to Electric Cars
Polestar has been around for quite a while, since 1996 to be precise – at that time the brand was still called “Flash Engineering” and was a Swedish racing team. Even then, the team had a close relationship with the manufacturer Volvo and used the car manufacturer’s cars in the Swedish Touring Car Championship (STCC).
In 2005 buyer Christian Dahl renamed the team Polestar Racing and 10 years later sold both the brand and the road car division Volvo. Since then, Polestar has been considered the tuning department of the Swedish manufacturer, until October 2017 when the first own vehicle was presented under the Polarstern logo: the Polestar 1. The spin-off was intended to signal a break with Volvo’s comparatively conservative image (source: Handelsblatt).
Since the IPO in 2022, the brand has been owned 48.3 percent by Volvo Car Corporation and almost 39 percent by Zhejiang Geely Holding, a Chinese car and motorcycle manufacturer. The brand is managed by Thomas Ingenlath in Torslanda near Gothenburg, Sweden.
The brand has come up again and again in recent years Appeals to the auto industry on more transparency and a faster transition to climate-neutral mobility. In September 2020, the company also published a comprehensive life cycle analysis of the Polestar 2 (source: golem).
Polestar models: from sports cars to SUVs
Polestar 1: hybrid athlete from China
The first was the Polestar 1, a plug-in hybrid sports car. The coupe was manufactured in China from 2019 to 2021. The maximum system performance of the model, which is limited to 1500 copies, is a total of 448 kilowatts (600 hp). The battery capacity is 34 kilowatt hours (kWh), which can drive the 2 electric motors together with 300 hp up to a distance of 130 kilometers purely electrically.
According to the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA), only 64 have been registered in Germany since 2020. The MSRP of a Polestar 1 is 155,000 euros.
Polestar 2: convertible mid-size sedan
In 2019, Polestar presented its second car, the (appropriately named) Polestar 2. Since 2020, the brand has been launching a purely battery-powered mid-range sedan. Unlike the Polestar 1 became the second model of the brand already produced 100,000 times – also in China.
Older versions that were produced before January 2023 are equipped with all-wheel drive and an impressive 300 kilowatts (approx. 407 hp). At 57,900 euros, the launch edition of the second generation was significantly more affordable than the Polestar 1. Thanks to an optional, paid over-the-air update, the models with 2 motors have been able to access more power and battery capacity since the end of 2021. But it can be even cheaper: If you do without all-wheel drive and are satisfied with front-wheel drive and an output of 165 kW (224 hp), that’s it Polestar 2 available from €47,295.
Polestar has been selling since January 2023 a revised version of the single motor option. In addition to various improvements in performance and battery and an increase in maximum speed from 160 to 205 kilometers per hour, the Polestar 2 is now moved via rear-wheel drive. The figures from the KBA confirm that the focus on cheaper models is bearing fruit: over 10,600 models have now been registered in Germany.
Polestar 3: A brand new electric SUV
The Swedish company’s latest stroke of genius falls into a trend that many electric car manufacturers are currently following: The Polestar 3 is an SUV. Interested parties have been able to pre-order the car since October. Here, too, there are several performance options, the most powerful version of which has an electric motor per axle with a total output of 380 kilowatts (517 hp). Depending on how much you spend on the SUV, the battery is either 86 or 100 kilowatt hours – depending on your driving style, you can travel between 560 and 600 kilometers (WLTP).
The fast-charging function is of course mandatory in 2023: the SUV charges from 10 to 80 percent within 30 minutes at a DC charging station – you shouldn’t charge more at the fast-charging station anyway. On the 11 kW wall box, the vehicle needs almost 11 hours to go from 10 to 100 percent. You pay for the Swede from China here between 88,600 and 95,200 euros. So the Polestar SUV is not a bargain.
You can read here why the trend towards e-SUVs is worrying experts:
Polestar: Arrange a test drive
You can look at the models of the former tuning team from Sweden in so-called “Polestar Spaces“ – there are now 9 of them in Germany, including in Munich, Frankfurt, Cologne and Berlin. You can find other locations on the company’s website (to the website). If you want to test drive the cars, you don’t have to visit the branches.
Instead, Polestar is offering to bring the vehicle directly to you (as of February 27, 2023, only the Polestar 2 model was available). A member of staff will drop off the vehicle and accompany you in case you have any questions or are getting stuck. According to the company, a free test drivebut finding a date could be more difficult due to availability.
The future of Polestar: where is it headed?
The resourceful Swedes are currently working on several projects, including a special e-bike (we reported). Probably the most interesting of these is a genuine super athletewhich could become an equal opponent to the Porsche Taycan.
So far it was valid Polestar O₂ only as a concept car, but now it should go into series production under the name Polestar 6 in 2026 (we reported). It shouldn’t be cheaper than a Porsche at 200,000 US dollars, but it’s one step ahead of the company: The 6 Series will be a roadster, which means that you can do without the roof if necessary – in the world of electric cars that rarely (you can read here why this is the case). Overall, the sixth model of the Swedes should have 650 kilowatts of power, which is the equivalent of fat 834 hp.