A pristine white Polestar 2 arrives at my home and I am a little nervous. Distracted, I pay little attention to the delivery driver’s thorough explanation of the car’s technicalities, which I regret when it comes to charging the battery on my final test day. The problem is, the Polestar 2 has a great deal to live up to – ironically high hopes placed on the car by me. Having written positively on this new brand, interviewed the CEO and then the creative director, talked passionately about its design and liaised with a group of innovators making the novel vegan material featured inside, I am terrified that driving the Polestar 2, the real-time experience, may not match my great expectations.
Polestar was announced three years ago as a new company focused entirely on making cutting-edge, highly technical electric cars. The products benefit from the expertise offered by its parent company, the Volvo and Geely Auto Group. Yet, Polestar has its own mission in (what the company likes to see as) being the “guiding star” – pioneering ideas for the rest of the group. So, everything has been meticulously considered to be sustainable, right down to the low carbon footprint plant in Chengdu, China.
Visually, Polestar follows a strict regime of minimalist aesthetics – clean lines and clear surfaces, as well as a neutral color palette. Customers are not given free creative choices either – rather they pick and mix from a tight menu. The strict styling extends to the Polestar Cube global headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden. It may all sound a little too controlling, but the primary theme is to ensure the products follow a strict code and portray the message of unpolluted, cutting-edge transport.
First came the pinnacle Polestar 1 – a plus-$182,000, limited-edition grand touring coupé with 600hp electric performance, which I got to experience as a prototype. This volume model Polestar 2, though, is the car the company has high hopes for since it is a Tesla Model 3 competitor and priced reasonably around €40,000 ($46,000).
I hop onboard my Polestar 2 test car and head to west London to pick up my mother and run her errands, which is usually a great way to explore all practical aspects of a test car. Electric vehicles give linear acceleration and the Polestar 2 offers a pleasing commute. Performance is at the heart of this brand with the all-wheel drive electric powertrain has 408 horsepower and 660 Nm (487 lb-ft), with 62mph possible in under five seconds and with the car maxing at 127mph.
Mirroring the exterior design, the inside is clean and clear and uncluttered. It helps elevate a sense of calm – not a bad thing in pandemic times and certainly a welcome sanctuary in London’s traffic. Everything inside is covered in shades of white and black, bar Polestar’s signature bold orange/gold seat belts which somehow remind me of the red braces favored by the fictional character Gordon Gekko in the 1987 movie Wall Street, which I’m guessing is not the impact intended. That aside, this is a thoroughly likeable space to inhabit as I intuitively sync my iPhone and adjust to the car’s settings in a matter of minutes. The clear frameless side mirrors are elegant and provide great rear visibility and I take advantage of the top-down camera view which makes city parking an absolute breeze.