The closest rival to the Tesla Model 3 is finally here.
The Polestar 2 liftback is now on sale, after initially slated from February, starting from $59,990 before on-road costs and incentives, up to 540km of driving range (WLTP), and Android Automotive infotainment system with built-in Google Maps.
However, like other car brands, the EV will come with reduced LED lighting features at launch due to the ongoing semiconductor shortage.
Using a direct-to-consumer fixed pricing model, the Polestar 2 comes with a seven-day return policy, five-years free servicing, and guaranteed future value financing to rival the said popular Tesla Model 3, Kia EV6, BMW i4, and its very own Volvo XC40 and C40 Recharge siblings.
It also signals the launch of the Polestar electric performance brand in Australia – offshoot by Geely and Volvo Cars – with a history dating back to 1996.
The Chinese-Swedish brand is also set to debut the Polestar 3 crossover SUV this year, Polestar 4 coupe SUV in 2023, Polestar 5 grand tourer in 2024, and Polestar 0 carbon-neutral EV by 2030.
Price and models
It can now be ordered online via the Polestar Australia website.
Around 180 ‘pre-configured’ models are available for immediate delivery and physical ‘Polestar Spaces’ stores will launch from April 2022 for in-person look and test drives.
Polestar 2 Standard Range Single Motor – $59,990 before on-road costs
The base Standard Range Single Motor front-wheel drive comes with as standard:
- Battery – 67kWh (usable) nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) pack
- 19-inch 5-V Spoke Black Diamond Cut alloy wheels (Michelin Primacy 4 245/45)
- Interior – Charcoal or Zinc vegan embossed textile seats with 3D Etched deco dashboard, charcoal headliner, and textile floor mats
- Exterior – ‘Void’ black colour
- Safety assistance systems – automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane keeping aid, oncoming lane mitigation with steering assist, run-off-road mitigation, post-impact braking, driver alert, and standard cruise control with speed sign support
- Rear view camera with front and rear parking sensors
- 11.2-inch vertical Android Automotive infotainment system with Bluetooth, DAB+ digital radio, and e-SIM connectivity
- 12.3-inch fully digital driver’s display
- Lifetime over-the-air (OTA) software updates and three-year Google service connectivity
- Eight-speaker premium audio system (250W)
- Polestar Connect for roadside assistance and SOS calling functionality
- Polestar mobile app and Digital Key (beta)
- Keyless entry – includes remote key fob and waterproof activity key tag
- Electric tailgate*
- LED headlights with auto high beam, ‘Thor’s Hammer’ daytime running lights, and tail light bar with light signature and automatic dimming
- ‘Mid-level’ interior illumination
- Two-zone automatic climate control with cabin preconditioning functionality
- Front seats – heated, semi-electric adjustable with four-way lumbar support and driver’s seat memory
- Four USB-C charging ports
- 12V power outlet in the boot
- Electric folding, heated frameless wing mirrors
- Automatic dimming interior mirror
*NOTE: The Polestar online configurator states the kick-to-open foot sensor for the hands-free electric tailgate may not be included due to chip shortage, but can be retrofitted for free at a later date.
Polestar 2 Long Range Single Motor – $64,900 before on-road costs
The mid-spec Long Range Single Motor front-wheel drive adds:
- Battery – 75kWh (usable) NMC pack
Polestar 2 Long Range Dual Motor – $69,900 before on-road costs
The flagship Long Range Dual Motor all-wheel drive adds:
- Increased power and torque
- All-wheel drive from dual electric motors
- Increased top speed to 205km/h (up from 160km/h)
- Performance Pack – $8000: 20-inch 4-Y spoke forged alloy wheels with gold valve caps in Continental SportContact 6 (245/40) tyres, manually adjustable Öhlins shock absorbers, Gold Brembo four piston brakes, gold front and rear seatbelts, and gloss black roof (with Plus Pack only)
Options on all variants include:
- Metallic paint – $1400: Snow, Magnesium, Thunder, Moon, Midnight (the latter two cannot be optioned with the Zinc textile or Slate WeaveTech style interiors)
- 20-inch 4-V spoke diamond cut design alloy wheels – $1400: Includes upgraded Continental PremiumContact 6 (245/40) tyres
- Pilot Pack* – $5000: Blind spot alert, rear-cross traffic alert, rear AEB, ‘Pilot Assist’ adaptive cruise control, emergency stop assist, 360-degree surround view camera, ‘Park Assist’, automatic dimming wing mirrors, matrix Pixel LED headlights with adaptive high beam, bending and cornering function, LED front fog lights with cornering function, front and rear welcome/farewell light sequences
- Plus Pack – $6000: Heat pump, 13-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio (600W), heated windscreen washer nozzles, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, Charcoal or Slate WeaveTech vegan interior with Black Ash deco, ‘high-level’ interior illumination, panoramic glass roof with Polestar logo reflection, full electrically adjustable driver and front passenger seats with manual cushion extension, 15-watt Qi wireless charging pad, boot floor divider with bag hooks, tinted rear windows
- Ventilated Nappa leather Barley interior with reconstructed wood deco – $6000: Includes air cooling on the front two seats
*NOTE: Due to the chip shortage, the following features have been changed on the Pilot Pack, which has been temporarily renamed to Pilot lite:
- Price – reduced to $3400 option
- Pixel matrix LED headlights with bending and adaptive high beam – replaced with standard full LED headlights with active high beam, but no cornering function
- Welcome and farewell light sequences – replaced with a fade in/out animation
- Front LED fog lamps – loses cornering function
Size and design
Adapted from Volvo’s CMA combustion engine platform that rides the Volvo XC40 and C40 Recharge SUVs, the Polestar 2 features a unique higher-riding SUV and liftback crossover design with a 151mm ground clearance (146mm on the Long Range Dual Motor fitted with the Performance Pack).
It also has a familiar ‘Thor’s Hammer’ daytime running light signature, full-width rear LED light bar, and a practical hatchback tailgate opening with 40/60 split folding rear seats and two ISOFIX child seat points.
Additionally, there’s a carpeted frunk (or froot) under the bonnet for extra storage.
The 2 has a vegan interior made out of textile or WeaveTech (with the Plus Pack) seats with fabric and textured inlays, a familiar Volvo-like steering wheel, and a centre console divider with an electronic gear selector, volume knob, and gloss black surfaces.
The Polestar 2 liftback has a 0.28 drag coefficient (cd).
Range and powertrain
The pure-electric luxury liftback is available in two permanent magnet synchronous powertrains and two battery sizes.
The mid-spec Long Range Single Motor achieves the best range in the line-up at up to 540km on the more realistic WLTP testing cycle, whereas the entry-level Standard Range Single Motor is the most efficient at a claimed 167 to 179kWh/km, and the Long Range Dual Motor is expectedly the most powerful with 300kW of power and 660Nm of torque.
Polestar says the standard range 69kWh (gross) battery is made up of 288 prismatic cells and 24 modules, while the long range 78kWh (gross) battery has 324 pouch cells and 27 modules.
Both lithium-ion packs are made from the common nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) chemistry.
All models include a multi-link rear suspension, front and rear brake discs, and Michelin Primacy 4 245/45 R19 tyres as standard or Continental PremiumContact 6 (245/40 R20) tyres on larger optional wheels.
The Polestar 2 can fast charge at up to 130kW DC on the Standard Range Single Motor 69kWh (gross) battery, whereas it can peak up to 155kW DC on the Long Range Single and Dual Motor 78kWh (gross) pack.
All models have up to 11kW AC charging capabilities at one- or three-phase sockets using its on-board charger.
The company claims all Polestar 2s can top-up from 10 to 80 per cent in just 35 minutes on a compatible DC fast charger, while it takes seven hours (standard range battery) or eight hours (long range battery) to charge on a three-phase, 16-amp AC charger.
It is based on a 400-volt architecture and uses the standard Type2/CCS2 connector.
Polestar recommends owners to charge up to 90 per cent to maintain the health of its NMC battery, in which a charging limit can be set on the touchscreen or mobile app.
Battery preconditioning can be activated when the driver sets any public DC fast charger as the destination on the Google Maps navigation to achieve quicker charging speeds. It also boasts one-pedal driving when set on the ‘standard’ regenerative braking setting (up to 100kW).
Safety and technology
The Polestar 2 has achieved a five-star safety rating by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) under the 2021 testing criteria.
All variants include active safety assistance systems, including AEB with vehicle, cyclist and pedestrian detection, oncoming lane mitigation and run-off road mitigation (which steers the vehicle to avoid a possible accident), post-impact braking, driver attention alert, standard cruise control with traffic sign recognition, and a built-in SOS calling service.
However, buyers will need to opt for the $5000 ‘Pilot Pack’ (or temporary $3400 ‘Pilot lite’) to have safety assist features like blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert, rear AEB, ‘Pilot Assist’ adaptive cruise control, and a 360-degree camera system.
Additionally, it’s one of the first vehicles to debut the built-in Android Automotive system by Google.
Running on an 11.2-inch vertical infotainment display, it features native Google Maps navigation, Google Assistant voice control, and access to the Google Play Store to install third-party apps like A Better Route Planner and Spotify. Google Maps can also be projected on the 12.3-inch digital driver’s instrument cluster in full screen.
Using an embedded e-SIM, the system is capable of over-the-air (OTA) software and hardware updates. Previous updates overseas have improved the accuracy of active safety systems, enhanced regenerative braking, and introduced compatibility with the connected Polestar mobile app and the beta Polestar Digital Key.
Polestar Australia says all 2s will receive lifetime OTA software updates, but three-years of Google service connectivity. It’s unclear how much owners will pay for the latter after it has expired.
Features like Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring, a YouTube video streaming app, and Google Assistant voice commands to remotely control the EV from a smartphone are slated to be coming later this year.
Warranty and servicing
The Polestar 2 is backed by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre vehicle warranty and an eight-year/160,000km battery warranty.
All models include five-years free servicing and roadside assistance for new buyers, the former of which is limited to 100,000km.
Polestar Australia hasn’t detailed servicing intervals yet, but will use the current network of Volvo Cars service centres for checkups and maintenance.
Is it cheaper than an equivalent petrol car?
How does it compare to a Tesla Model 3?
Below is a comparison between the base versions of the Polestar 2 and Tesla Model 3. While both models have the same starting price of $59,990 before on-road costs, they include different features as standard.
In order to align the Polestar 2 Standard Range Single Motor with the Model 3 rear-wheel drive, the Pilot Pack (or temporary Pilot lite) and Plus Pack will need to be added to have key features like more advanced safety assist systems, a heat pump, glass roof and more.
It's worth noting that the Chinese-Swedish EV offers unique features from said option packs not available on the Model 3, including a 360-degree surround view camera, semi-automatic parking system, and radar-based blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alerts.
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