Automotive

EV maker Polestar to develop own platform, boost number of showrooms

The company is increasing the size of its showroom network — operated in the U.S. by selected Volvo dealers — as it looks to dramatically grow its global sales in the coming years. Polestar said it is “on target” to reach its plan for 29,000 vehicle deliveries this year and expects to sell 290,000 annually by 2025, operating in 30 markets by the end of 2023.

“This adoption from internal combustion to EV is going to grow at a startling rate in the coming years, so naturally with the advent of the network growing and the brand awareness and product portfolio continuing to grow, we’re going to be there with an offer,” said Gregor Hembrough, head of Polestar USA, in an interview with Automotive News. Hembrough, along with Ingenlath, spoke with investors and media today in New York.

Polestar said it will launch a new model every year for the next three years, beginning with the Polestar 3. The company debuted a new teaser image of the crossover today, featuring the vehicle wrapped in camouflage.The four-door crossover has a sporty look, with a sloping silhouette and a front end marked by thin headlights.

Polestar said it will equip the model with hardware and electronics that would enable autonomous highway driving by the middle of the decade, including lidar sensors from Luminar Technologies and computer electronics components from Nvidia Corp.

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Ingenlath, speaking with Automotive News, said Polestar is hesitant to label the system as having either Level 3 or Level 4 autonomy, though he described it as a “big, great step into the autonomous age.”

“We very clearly describe what it can do: It is you letting go in an autonomous situation on the highway, with the driver out of the loop and having hands off the steering wheel and the car taking over on that stretch,” he said. “Some would call that Level 4. If you’re very strict on what the definitions are, it’s more of a Level 3-plus.”

Polestar is also developing its own “bespoke aluminum space frame platform architecture,” a departure for the company, which has until now shared platforms with Volvo. The company expects to debut the new platform on the Polestar 5.

Ingenlath said developing its own platform is crucial for Polestar so that it does not have to make compromises to vehicle design as it rolls out new models. He pointed to last year’s Precept concept as an example of how building on a unique platform can enable different designs.

“If we were to put that onto an available mass-production platform that we find in the toolbox of the group, we definitely would have compromised on the result,” he said.

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In the meantime, Polestar said it would soon roll out over-the-air updates for purchase for the Polestar 2, including one that would provide a performance boost of 68 horsepower. The upgrade, which Polestar aims to roll out in the U.S. in early 2022, will sell for about 1,000 euros ($1,130) in most markets, a company spokesman said.

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