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Polestar boss warns EV revolution could become ‘plaything for speculators’

Darren Cassey, PA Motoring Reporter
·2-min read

The electric vehicle revolution is in danger of losing its focus on helping to reduce climate change, warns Polestar boss Thomas Ingenlath.

Speaking at the Shanghai motor show, the Swedish EV manufacturer’s CEO commented on the numerous new companies that have entered the automotive industry, riding the wave of increasing EV popularity.

He said the industry could become ‘a plaything for speculators’ and urged companies to ‘get their priorities straight by putting climate change before pushing for a sky-high market valuation’.

Polestar stand at Shanghai motor show
(Polestar)

Ingenlath continued: “What is at stake here is not how much financiers think a company is worth, but the chance to revolutionise the auto industry, turn it electric and at the same time make a huge contribution to protecting the climate.

“Put against these important themes, a market valuation is a very insubstantial and meaningless marker of success.

“The pathway to a cleaner planet passes through our design studios, our research departments, our factories, our supply chains and our boardrooms. We in the auto industry need to stay focused on what we are doing and why.

“The more speculative the EV sector becomes, the deeper our responsibility is to make sure that we stay grounded in the actual business of making the cars that will revolutionise the industry.”

He noted that while he welcomed growing investor interest in EVs, he warned it was easy to focus on ‘paper value rather than industrial reality’.

Polestar is a spin-off from Swedish car manufacturer Volvo, building electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles based on its sibling’s platforms. Last week, it announced a $550m (£393m) long-term investment package, the first external investment it has received.

Polestar stand at Shanghai motor show
(Polestar)

Established car manufacturers and newcomers are becoming more and more focused on electric vehicles, with numerous countries indicating that they will bring in blanket bans on internal combustion engine vehicles, or ban them from city centres.

In the UK, petrol and diesel vehicles can no longer be sold new from 2030.