A week after making its global debut on the internet, the Tesla Model 3–fighting Polestar 2 hatchback sedan (codenamed P319) was unveiled at the 2019 Geneva auto show along with more detail about the specifications and technology baked into the volume model of this new brand.
We reported last week that the first year’s production would be of top-spec Launch Edition models priced at around $63,000, with only a few available options: Performance Pack (Öhlins dampers, Brembo brakes, and 20-inch forged wheels, summer tires for $5,000), Nappa leather, special paint, and a wheel upgrade (pricing TBD). Next up will be a lower-spec front-drive model that shares the Launch Edition’s 78-kW-hr battery pack and offers many Launch Edition features (including all-wheel drive) on an à la carte basis. These will start out in the low $50,000s. The rest of the world will get a smaller-battery front-drive entry-level car priced around $42,000, but that model looks unlikely to make the trip to the U.S., barring a change in the tariff landscape.
The front and rear electric motors each have their own DC-to-AC inverters, and both are of the permanent-magnet type, so they must both be driven at all times. This is generally the case with AWD EVs except the Tesla Model 3, where an inductive-type front motor creates no drag when unpowered. Each drives the wheels via an 8.6:1 planetary-gear transaxle that is said to be quieter than the pure helical-gear transaxles some manufacturers like Tesla use (FWD models will employ a 10.5:1 axle ratio). The regenerative braking can be tuned for one-pedal driving or easy coasting, and with the assistance of 402 horses’ worth of regenerative braking, conventional steel brakes (14.2-inch diameter in front) can easily handle the demands of high-performance driving. Tesla typically blends way less regenerative braking than Polestar and others, relying on the friction brakes primarily in high-performance driving.
The lithium-ion battery pack uses 27 modules comprised of pouch-style LG Chem batteries that we’re told pack 10 percent more energy than those in use at Audi and Jaguar. The pack can be DC fast-charged to 80 percent (240-ish miles) in 45 minutes using a 150-kW SAE CCS Type 1-spec charger. The onboard AC charger supports 11-kW three-phase public charging or 3-kW one-phase wall-socket charging. A connected-services package will streamline the process of finding and paying for DC fast-charge or level-2 public chargers, parking spaces, etc.
Other technical highlights include fully hands- and feet-free automated parking as well as unique new rear lighting with 200 LEDs that can adapt their brightness to ambient light conditions for better daytime visibility and reduced nighttime glare (sadly, this feature is not yet legal in the U.S.). The panoramic roof uses a coating technology that purportedly requires no shade (we’ll be the judge of that in sunny SoCal), and a little LED projector in the floating center console projects a Polestar star logo onto the panoramic roof that’s visible from inside and out. Unlike Tesla drivers, Polestar pilots will not be beta-testing the autonomous future, but they will enjoy all current SAE Level 2 driver assistance technologies.
Safety-wise, the thoroughly redesigned floorpan includes aluminum extrusions in the sill to protect the battery pack, and features fewer lateral cross-members due to the stiffness of the battery. On the rear floor, a new “shark-fin” metal bracket is added to better retain the rear seat during frontal crashes for improved occupant safety. A slimmer rear header structure improves rear visibility.
Just looking at the side profile shots of the car suggests that the Polestar 2’s roofline will afford a roomier rear seat package than in the Model 3. It’ll likely carry more luggage, too, thanks to the hatchback design and dimensions estimated at 14.3 cubic feet in back and 1.2 in the “frunk.” These are via European VDA specs, but SAE will likely expand the rear number. Tesla only reports a total of 15.0 cubic feet summing the space in the traditional trunk and in the frunk.
Shortly after Polestars begin arriving from China in early 2020 we intend to pit the 2 and 3 against each other in some real-world situations to find out whether or how much Tesla needs to worry about Polestar. Stay tuned.
|2021 Polestar 2|
|BASE PRICE||$63,000 (est)*|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front/rear-motor, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan|
|MOTORS||2-200-hp/243-lb-ft AC permanent-magnet electric, 400 hp/487 lb-ft combined|
|LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT||181.4 x 72.8 x 58.2 in|
|0-60 MPH||4.9 sec (mfr est)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||Not yet rated|
|ON SALE IN U.S.||Early 2020|
|*Launch edition, before applicable tax credits|
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