The California car gets competition.
The Tesla Model 3 broke a lot of new ground when it first started rolling from the company’s Fremont factory in 2017. And while it has served as a yardstick for electric offerings from other manufacturers, it hasn’t faced any direct competitors. Until now. Tomorrow morning at 7:00 AM EST, the first all-electric from Polestar cometh. (We will carry the reveal livestream here on InsideEVs)
The Polestar 2 is, arguably, the first real offering from the new Volvo electric sub-brand. Yes, there is a Polestar 1, but limited to 500 very expensive (base price $155,000) examples in its first production year and being a performance plug-in hybrid, it’s an hor d’oeuvre to the 2’s main course.
Now that a solid alternative to Model 3 is on its way — the company has stated outright that it “is designed to compete with Tesla Model 3” — we thought now would be a good time to compare the two cars. They are similar in a host of ways, starting with their names. Both are represented by a single numeral derived from its order in their company’s production plan. As mentioned, the 2 is the second vehicle from the Polestar brand, while the 3 is the third from-the-ground-up Tesla.
Both cars are four-door sedans of similar size. Though the Polestar 2 is sometimes referred to as a fastback, it appears from the overhead view revealed on the car’s app, that it, like the Model 3, will have a trunk and not a hatch. We would be happy to be wrong about that, though. Also noticeable from this image is the large panel of glass that covers the passenger compartment of the 2. Model 3, of course, also has a glass roof, which is awesome.
As for range and price, the competitors seem to be very much in the same ballpark. The Polestar 2 should have an EPA-rated range in the 300-mile neighborhood, maybe slightly higher. For its part, the Model 3 is currently available in two battery configurations: Mid and Long Range, yielding an EPA-rated 264 miles and 310 miles, respectively. The Polestar price range is rumored to cover a wide swath — $40,000 to $65,000. Similarly, the Tesla currently ranges from $42,900 for the rear-wheel-drive Mid Range to $60,900 for the Long Range Performance.
Speaking of performance, it seems the Polestar 2 will be no slouch. We suspect it will borrow the 135-kW (181-horsepower) motors from the Polestar 1 and so in the all-wheel-drive configuration should boast about 400 peak horsepower. The top spec Model 3 offers 450 horsepower and 471 pound-feet of torque, so performance-wise, the 2 should be pretty close.
Also similar will be the retail experience. Tesla famously sells its products over the internet and through small company-owned boutique shops. Polestar will be taking a similar approach, though they will be sticking with the dealership franchise model. The stores will not carry a ton of inventory and be staffed by non-commissioned personnel. As well, the brand will put plenty of info online to help inform customers. One difference, though, is that Polestar will also offer cars as a subscription service, meaning you pay a flat rate every month and all incidental expenses (save for electricity) are covered.
At 50,000 units a year, production numbers for the 2 are not nearly as ambitious as they are for the Model 3. Tesla delivered 139,782 copies of the mid-size sedan in 2018 and expects to increase that figure over the next couple of years. If the Polestar 2 manages to capture the imagination of customers in a similar manner, we could see higher production in the coming years, but unless there is a substantially increased investment in battery supply, we’re not sure it will approach that sort of volume any time soon.
Finally, styling wise, the vehicles have similar philosophies, though with different execution. The Tesla Model 3 has soft exterior lines and carries some styling cues over from the Model S and Model X. It is known for its spare-but-comfortable interior that features a single display touch screen in the center of the dash.
Judging from the teaser images, the exterior lines of the Polestar 2 will be more crisp, and carry cues from the Polestar 1. We can only imagine the interior will also be somewhat spare, though stylish, with a “Scandinavian” feel. Though aesthetics are a very subjective thing, we expect we’ll like it very much — possibly more than the Model 3 which, to this writer at least, lacks a certain spark in the passenger compartment.
If you are a fan of the brand, or intend on buying or picking up a subscription, be sure and stop by the Polestar section of the InsideEVs Forum to share your enthusiasm and experiences. We believe this vehicle could be a smash hit and we look forward to it introducing lots of new folks to the electric driving experience.