Polestar 2 front

Volvo unveiled the 2021 Polestar 2 all-electric vehicle at the automaker's headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden, ahead of its public introduction at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show next week. This is the second production vehicle from Volvo’s performance Polestar brand, and it will compete directly with the Tesla Model 3 EV.

Several luxury manufacturers have introduced new EVs or have announced plans to do so, including Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, and Porsche.

Polestar will first introduce what it calls a “launch edition” of the Polestar 2 that starts at $63,000 (without the $7,500 federal tax credit figured in). Pricing hasn’t been announced for the true base model in the U.S., though. The Polestar 2 can be ordered only online for now.

Test drives will first be available at Polestar events, according to a company spokesperson. Following those, eight showrooms are scheduled to open and offer test drives in early 2020. That summer, the first deliveries of the vehicle are expected on the West Coast and in Canada, he said.

Here’s what we know so far:

What it competes with: Audi E-Tron, Jaguar I-Pace, Tesla Model 3
What it looks like: It's a sleek hatchback with a roof that dramatically slopes down at the back. Its profile resembles the final-generation Saab 9-5.
Powertrain: 408-hp, dual electric motors; 78 kilowatt-hour battery pack; 1-speed, direct-drive transmission; all-wheel drive
On-sale date: Summer 2020 

Outside

The 2021 Polestar 2 incorporates current Volvo design elements such as the wide grille, T-shaped LED daytime running lights (called “Thor’s Hammer” in the automaker's marketing), and the squared-off rear end with a reflector strip running between the taillights. Polestar calls the car a five-door fastback. Consider it a hatchback similar to Jaguar's recently introduced I-Pace EV. 

Polestar 2 interior

Inside

Volvo's design influences are easy to see inside the Polestar 2. The steering wheel has the same design as other recent Volvo models, such as the XC40 SUV, but this one is topped with a Polestar logo.

A rotary controller sits ahead of the gear selector and is flanked by some basic climate buttons. The most distinctive element is the large, floating 11-inch touch screen. The infotainment system uses the Android operating system, and the Polestar 2 promises to be the first vehicle with dedicated services such as Google Assistant, Google Maps (with support to help drivers find charging stations), and the Google Play Store.

Polestar notes that the entire interior is composed of vegan materials to attract a “forward-thinking audience.”

Drivers will be able to use their smartphone as a key, and the Polestar 2 will be able to sense when the driver approaches in order to activate the climate-control system.

Polestar 2 seats

What Drives It

The Polestar 2 has two motors, front and rear, which give it all-wheel drive. Its 78 kWh battery, mounted into the floor, gives the Polestar 2 a targeted EPA testing range of 275 miles. Polestar says it should be able to accelerate from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour (or about 62 mph) in under 5 seconds.

Safety and Driver Assist Systems

Polestar didn't release any information on safety systems at this time, but given Volvo’s reputation for safety, we anticipate that it will be well-equipped. 

CR’s Take

This new model has the potential to give shoppers a new option in the expanding luxury EV field with a long electric range. Volvo says there will be a large charging network available to owners. Availability and the cost to charge remains to be seen.  

Polestar 2 rear