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Volvo’s Polestar unveils new electric car to rival Tesla

Jill Petzinger
·Germany Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
The new Polestar 2 will go into production in 2020. Photo: Polestar.
The new Polestar 2 will go into production in 2020. Photo: Polestar.

Volvo’s performance brand Polestar revealed its newest model on Wednesday, in an online launch from the company’s Gothenburg headquarters in Sweden. The electric Polestar 2 is a five-door fastback with a 78kw battery pack and a target range of 500km (310 miles).

“Polestar 2 is the first electric car to compete in the marketplace around the Tesla Model 3,” the company said. The launch edition will be priced at €60,000, and available only to pre-order online, as production won’t begin until early 2020. Like the Polestar 1, this car will also be produced in Chengdu, China.

“E-mobility is the right way to preserve this planet for future generations,” Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath said. “As an electric performance brand, and through the forthcoming launch of a portfolio of fully electric cars, Polestar is determined to address the world’s air quality challenges.”

Volvo, which is owned by China’s Geely, launched Polestar as its performance brand in 2017. It unveiled its first luxury car, Polestar 1, last year and opened up for pre-orders; production starts later this year.

The 600-hp Polestar 1 is a plug-in hybrid, that the company says will drive up to 150km on an electric charge. The new Polestar 2 is the first fully electric offering from the brand. The all-wheel drive Polestar 2 powertrain produces 300 kW (408 hp) and 660 Nm (487 lb-ft), accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in under 5 seconds.

Instead of simply selling the $155,000 Polestar at dealerships in the traditional way, the company plans to offer it on a subscription basis, where you pay a monthly amount and that covers costs of wear-and-tear, maintenance, and insurance. The same subscription offer will apply to the Polestar 2, the company said at the presentation.

Volvo has been dialling down its attendance at international car shows over the last few years, and announced last year it would not be going to the 2019 Geneva car show, which starts next week. It says it prefers to stage its own events for new model presentations.

“The ongoing change in the car industry is creating new audiences for Volvo Cars and new ways of bringing products to the market,” Björn Annwall, senior vice-president of strategy, brand, and retail at Volvo Cars, announced in June 2018. “We must tailor our communications based on how the options complement our messaging, timing and the nature of the technology we are presenting.”