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Polestar debuts its electric car at Goodwood Festival of Speed

1w ago

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Whenever somebody asked me, what's the safest car you would recommend to travel from point A to B, my promptness would supersede my ability to think and I would answer - Volvo. I believed it to be one of those companies who happily fitted more airbags and safety warning systems than cylinders and horsepower on their cars. That safe! But now, they seem to be going in a totally different yet pretty cool direction.

Since the introduction of the new XC90 and S90, their designs have stood out while staying elegant. Now, if you buy a Volvo, you buy it because you want to stand out, yet subtly or you wish to make a statement but with a distinct charm. Volvo seems to have moved on from their primary idea of collision warning systems and now appear to eagerly involve themselves in the future. Case in point - electricity with elegance.

Polestar 2

Earlier this year, Polestar, Volvo’s performance (and now, majorly electric) division, had unveiled its second production model - the Polestar 2, to the world. Now, the fully-electric model is out on a tour of Great Britain with its first pit-stop being - the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2019. Placed as a static display piece at the festival, the Polestar 2 will be the firm’s first volume production offering with deliveries expected to start by the end of this year.

Sitting on the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform, which is also used by the parent company’s other products like the XC40, the Polestar 2 harnesses its power from a fully-electric, twin-motor drivetrain. A single electric motor drives each axle to put out a combined power output of 408hp and 660Nm of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels resulting in the five-door fastback, as Volvo likes to call it, hitting the 0-100kmph mark in around 4.7secs.

The source of this power, a 27-module battery pack, nests on the car’s floor. The company claims this helps in procuring more rigidity to the chassis while also getting a more refined or less ‘road-noise’ ride. Holding a capacity of 78kWh, the car is said to deliver a range of 500kms before it runs out of electric juice. This seems to be quite a competitive number when kept beside its primary competitors in the market - the Tesla Model 3 and the Jaguar I-Pace.

Polestar 1

The Polestar 2’s chassis has been designed by the same people who worked on the Polestar 1, Polestar’s halo car. According to Jonathan Goodman, CEO at Polestar, they wanted to deliver the same level of performance and excitement in the driver. Good for us!

If you’ve seen the recent Volvos, the inside of the Polestar 2 might come off as a tweaked version of the standard Volvos. But with the advent of electric cars, everything being controlled via software and big screens replacing dials and buttons, this setup looks to become a usual affair.

The tweak comes as a bit of an upgrade as the Polestar 2 gets an 11-inch infotainment screen at the centre instead of the usual 9-inch seen in other standard Volvos. The system now gets an Android-based interface which includes app services like Google Maps and Google Assistant while also providing support for the electric car’s functions. The idea behind such integration was to avoid having the driver manipulate their phones when they step inside the car. With this latest integration, the car and the driver’s phone stays connected, making the sync between two systems easier for the driver.

Other connected features include the driver’s phone being used as a key to the car. The benefit to the customer here would consist of other people become capable to drive the car. What this implies is - in a situation where the car needs servicing, a Polestar agent could collect the car from the customer’s workplace and drop it back before the customer leaves for home.

In terms of design, the car shares a similar front end design seen on the S90 sedan, although the grille gets slimmer and the front bumpers get a new symmetrical design. The side and rear profiles are where one can see significant differences. For instance, the shoulder line acquires a haunch right over the rear wheels giving it a muscular look, the roof slopes steadily towards the rear bumper right before it merges with the boot, the lower section of the taillights forming a bar running across the width of the car, a trait seen on various recent Porsche models.

When the car goes on sale, expected prices are said to hover around the £35,800 mark, which is very close to what a Tesla Model 3 would cost, but there’s a catch here. That is - for the first 12 months, Polestar will be selling a feature-brimmed Launch Edition variant for the Polestar 2 which is said to cost £53,700. After the initial year, customers can opt for the base or middle variant which might witness a less powerful motor option than the one mentioned here.

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