CARS.COM — There's big news today from Polestar — formerly Volvo's performance division, now spun off into its own brand — namely the debut of its first car in the less-than-ironically dubbed Polestar 1.
Volvo previously announced that Polestar would incorporate "electrification technology" as part of its performance program and that the new marque would also be a dedicated electrified company. All of that begins with the hybrid Polestar 1, and it will be furthered by the outfit's next two vehicles: the (you guessed it) Polestar 2 and Polestar 3, which will feature fully electric powertrains — as will all future cars from Polestar.
The Polestar 1 is a 2+2 hybrid grand touring coupe, while Polestar 2 will be a mid-sized sedan (to compete with the Tesla Model 3) and the Polestar 3 a larger, "SUV-style" vehicle.
The Polestar 1 will have Volvo underpinnings and uses the automaker's "scalable platform architecture," though about half of the car is new and created by Polestar. Total output from the gas engine and electric motors is 600 horsepower and around 738 pounds-feet of torque. The Polestar 1 will also offer more than 90 miles of electric range, which is the longest electric-only range of any hybrid on the market today, Volvo says.
The Polestar 1 will have two electric motors attached to the rear axle, which enable torque vectoring as the motors control each wheel independently. It will also feature a lightweight carbon-fiber body and advanced chassis technology.
From a design perspective, the Polestar 1 also stands out. It's very attractive and modern, while in profile preserving the classic long-hood, short-decklid proportions seen in sports cars throughout the years — even if that sharply tapered roofline means the rear seats will be pretty much uninhabitable.
What's also remarkable about the Polestar 1 is how car shoppers will "buy" it. All ordering will take place online, though Polestar will open a network of "Polestar Spaces" around the world, separate from Volvo dealerships — a la Tesla. The cars will be offered exclusively on a subscription basis for two- or three-year terms, without a deposit. The subscription includes pickup and delivery services as well as the ability to rent other Volvo or Polestar vehicles.
Polestar is also going to turn your smartphone into a key with its Phone-As-Key technology, which allows the owner to share a virtual key with a third party; I call this the Do-I-Really-Trust-My-Friends? feature.
Polestar 1 is set to make its debut in mid-2019, and it will be built at Polestar's new facility now under construction in Chengdu, China. Preordering for the new hybrid starts today.