Volvo Cars is repositioning its racing-inspired Polestar brand to lure customers who want guilt-free high-performance vehicles that emit little to no emissions. Right now, the only brands offering those two contradictory perks in the premium segment are BMW's i subbrand and Tesla.
Polestar's debut model will be a first for the niche: a 2+2 plug-in hybrid coupe. The Polestar 1 promises 600 hp of combined power from dual powertrains, 1,000 newton meters of torque and an electric-only range of 150 km (93 miles).
By comparison, the two-seat BMW i8 plug-in hybrid coupe offers 362 hp, 570 newton meters and an electric-only range of 37 km. Starting in 2019, Polestar will add models to compete with Tesla's Model 3 battery-powered four-door sedan and the Model X crossover.
Thomas Ingenlath, Volvo's chief design officer who this summer added Polestar CEO to his title, emphasized that the brand's first model will be the most powerful car ever built in China. Production will begin in mid-2019 at a new dedicated plant in Chengdu. The Polestar 1 will also offer the best full-electric range of any hybrid car on the market now, he said.