Why Polestar still offers reasons to go electric

A stylish electric vehicleA stylish electric vehicle
A stylish electric vehicle
So suddenly, you’ve got 1,500 fewer reasons to buy electric. Thanks to a Government U-turn, the electric vehicle grant is cancelled. We didn’t see it arriving and we certainly didn’t see it going.

I’m not sure the plug-in cheque was a good idea in the first place, but I’m convinced that cancelling it was a bad move, particularly when electric vehicles (EVs) are still in their infancy and when the motoring public is dealing with an economic crisis, exorbitant fuel prices and confusion over what to buy – traditional or EV. No wonder many opt for neither.

But in the grand scheme of things, would it really deter you from paying £41,000 for a hi-tech car like the Polestar 2? I think not.

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Never heard of Polestar? It’s the upmarket purely electric wing of Volvo. Why it needed a new name is beyond me for surely Volvo is premium enough in its own right. And very soon all Volvos will be electric anyway.

So, what do you make of the Polestar? It’s a good-looking car with neat lines. It has something of a BMW about it – individual, powerful but understated. My neighbour across the road, who knows a thing or two about cars, came across when he saw the Polestar. At last, he said, an electric car which looks good.

He has a point. A lot of EVs are bland and too many are “global” cars without the styling which marks out a car as European. Polestar for the record is built in China, but it could be German or at a push Italian.

One area where Polestar fails is in the naming stakes. OK, so they wanted to keep it simple but Polestar 2? It sounds like a film.

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It is a billed as a performance fastback that brings a Swedish premium electric alternative to the compact electric segment. It launched with two electric motors and high specification, Polestar 2 brought the desirability first exhibited by the Polestar 1 to a wider audience.

In short, Polestar has produced two electric performance cars. Polestar 1 was built between 2019 and 2021 as a low-volume electric performance hybrid GT with a carbon fibre body, 609bhp and an electric-only range of 77 miles – the longest of any hybrid car in the world.

Polestar 2 electric performance fastback is the company’s first fully electric, high volume car. It includes three variants with a combination of long-range and standard-range batteries.

Polestar has big plans. From 2022, it plans to launch one new electric vehicle per year, starting with Polestar 3 – the company’s first electric performance SUV. Polestar 4 is expected to follow in 2023, a smaller electric performance SUV coupe. In 2024, the Polestar 5 electric performance four-door GT is planned as the production evolution of Polestar Precept. As the company seeks to reduce its climate impact with every new model, Polestar aims to produce a truly climate-neutral car by 2030.

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But back to the Polestar 2. It feels in some ways like a dodgem. Power as with most electric cars is instant. And although it comes with a brake pedal, it can be left untouched in most situations. It has one-pedal drive, so by releasing the accelerator it brings the car to a halt, reversing the torque direction of the electric motors and activating the disc brakes when necessary. Sounds complicated but it's easy to get used to.

The optional Performance Pack allowed more enthusiastic drivers to enjoy a heightened experience with better dampers and brakes plus forged alloy wheels and Polestar’s signature gold detailing inside and out. Classier than it sounds.

Polestar 2 is a driver’s car as standard, with as much as 300 kW (408bhp) and 660 Nm in Long range Dual motor guise.

Polestar 2 was the first car in the world to feature an infotainment system powered by Google’s Android Automotive system. If you can drive a laptop you can drive this.

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Trendier types will appreciate the vegan interior as standard.

It was with Polestar 2 that Polestar released its first Life Cycle Assessment report in 2020, with full methodology and transparency, and with a call to the industry at large for a uniformly open and transparent way of disclosing the carbon footprint of electric vehicles from all manufacturers. It pontificates but you don’t have to agree.

Polestar 2. It won’t save the planet on its own but it will put a smile on your face. Very few EVs manage that.

Polestar 2

Price: £41,900. The long range dual motor model is £45,900.

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Motor: A 308bhp electric motor with 64 kWh battery capacity. Three powertrains are available. The 300kW (408bhp) dual motor setup with a large 78kWh battery pack, is joined by two front-mounted single motor variants – available either with the same long-range battery and a 170kW motor, or a smaller, standard-range battery (64kWh) and a 165kW motor.

Range: It is claimed to manage 260 to 273 miles. In practice my test car said 250 miles and it did almost exactly 250 miles. Some do 336 miles.

Performance: Top speed 100mph and 0 to 60mph in 7.0 seconds.

Charging: It takes 35 minutes for 10 to 80 per cent on a public fast charger and seven hours at home.

Warranty: Three years for the car, eight years for the battery

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