The Geneva Motor Show 2018 gets off to a fast start with a Tesla challenger
In an effort to take the luxury electric car fight to Tesla, Volvo spun off its Polestar performance sub-brand into its own marque last year, with the first of three cars introduced in October: the Polestar 1 coupe. This 600-horsepower sports car makes its global debut at the Geneva Motor Show today, and as you can see, it packs one electrified punch.
Polestar has its own booth at the show, sitting snugly next to Volvo’s exhibition area, which marks the fledging brand’s first major auto show appearance. It only has one model for now, but Polestar promises two more EVs will follow in the next decade. The Polestar 2 will likely be an EV sedan or sportback, with the Polestar 3 confirmed by Volvo to be an SUV.
Two electric motors at the back of the Polestar 1 make a combined 218 horsepower with an estimated range of 93 miles on one charge. For more performance, the 2-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine up front teams with those electric motors for the full 600. Polestar says this car has the longest range of any hybrid on the market.
The Polestar 1 also gets a “phone-as-key” system through an app on Apple or Android devices, allowing the driver to get into the car without a key. It also lets the driver authorize third parties to get into the vehicle for reasons such as servicing the car, fueling or charging it, or using one of the concierge services that sibling Volvo is trying to set up.
In person, the Polestar certainly has a modern and appealingly aggressive look. The company’s representatives pitch it as a Tesla alternative for people seeking a different aesthetic to their electrified joyride. The frameless windows are a nice touch, combining well with the bezel-less wing mirrors to recreate the hottest trend in smartphone displays on an automobile. The leather interior, subtly accented with a muted orange, is accompanied by a lot of shiny chrome widgets and controls (and it smells identical to the luxury sports cars that Polestar is trying to emulate).
The two Polestar 1 exhibits here in Geneva are production-class cars, but actual production of the Polestar 1 won’t start until the middle of next year, so there’s still a fair amount of time for eager buyers to wait. A new purpose-built Polestar Production Centre is currently being built in Chengdu, China, to make this hybrid speedster a reality.
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