5 Reasons Volvo’s New Polestar 2 May Be the First Legitimate ‘Tesla Killer’

This all-electric sedan has the Model 3 firmly in its sights

March 1, 2019 9:00 am

We’ll admit, the phrase “Tesla killer” is overused. If any of the hundreds of forthcoming EVs were really Tesla killers, Elon Musk would spend more time fine-tuning his production and less time tweeting about ET. But in reality, electric startups have come and gone, EV programs have been scrapped and all the while, Tesla retains the throne.

Then, on Wednesday, Volvo announced its new all-electric, mass-market sedan, and immediately became the number-one contender. How’d they do it? By calling Musk’s company out by name in the press release: “Polestar 2 is the first electric car to compete in the marketplace around the Tesla Model 3.”

Polestar 2 will be a premium five-door fastback with two electric motors and a starting price of $63K in the U.S. ($55K after the federal tax credit) … that is, when it gets here. While preorders are open on their website, production doesn’t begin until “early 2020 in China for global markets.” And that’s too bad, because just a day later, Tesla upped the ante by finally releasing the long-awaited $35K Model 3.

Polestar 2 (8 images)

But there are many reasons why you should put your money on Polestar (if not order one just yet), and here are the five we think are most important:

  1. Technically, Polestar is owned by both Volvo Car Group and Zhejiang Geely Holding. The second name will be less familiar, but beyond buying Volvo from Ford Motor Company (and completely revitalizing it), the Chinese company is one of the top 20 largest automotive manufacturers in the world. Obviously, Tesla doesn’t make that list, and only recently broke ground on its first Chinese factory. Geely doesn’t have to deal with those growing pains.
  2. Similarly, Volvo already has sufficient infrastructure ready to churn out the Polestar 2, which is why their timeline is relatively tight compared to other EVs (one year, as opposed to multiple). Naturally, they point this out in the press release. And while Musketeers might see Tesla’s independence as a badge of honor, the benefits of a more stable parent company are undeniable.   
  3. As Mashable notes, this will be “the first car to feature Google’s native version of Android built for cars.” Yes, no less an authority than freaking Google is putting its money on Polestar. The 11-inch tablet dashboard is similar to Tesla (though four inches smaller) and features an “entirely new Google-powered interface … the first for Google.” They’re not going to debut this new tech, which will eventually go into other cars, on just any vehicle.
  4. Yes, there is a Polestar 1, which is where they worked out the kinks. Admittedly, we did call that one a Tesla killer, but in reality it ended up being a $155K hybrid sports car of which only 500 will be produced (and all 200 North American models are spoken for). It was smart to debut with an exclusive model, though, to gain interest and allow themselves time to perfect the technology.
  5. Polestar is smartly not focusing on the vehicle alone. They’re also concerned with what the future of buying cars will look like. Polestar 2 will only be available to order online, but apart from buying and leasing, there will also be subscription pricing available. And as Jalopnik writes, Polestar’s dealership model in the U.S. will have “no inventory, no service center, just a small showroom and some reps.”

Again, like every other new EV, we’ll have to wait and see what happens when these cars eventually make it to the U.S. And after it debuts at Geneva this month, they’re slated for a stateside appearance sometime in 2019. See you there.

All images courtesy of Polestar

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