Volvo's EV Brand Polestar Teases the Upcoming Polestar 3 Electric-Performance SUV in New York

Volvo's EV Brand Polestar Teases the Upcoming Polestar 3 Electric-Performance SUV in New York

Author: Eric Walz   

Electric vehicle brand Polestar, which is a standalone brand jointly operated by Sweden's Volvo Cars with support from its parent company Chinese automaker Geely Holding, unveiled a camouflaged teaser look of new Polestar 3 SUV at a media event in New York on Thursday.

Polestar CEO, Thomas Ingenlath, hosted investors and press at a series of events in New York to discuss the company's future vision and growth plans. 

The Polestar 3, which will launch in 2022, will be a sleek electric-performance SUV that will compete with the Tesla Model Y and other similar electric crossovers. The full reveal will come later.

The Polestar 3 is Polestar's first SUV model and follows the Polestar 2 fastback, which was the company's first mass-market vehicle. The Polestar 2 was recognized as the world's first vehicle to come with Google's new Android Automotive OS embedded in the vehicle's infotainment system, which allows drivers and passengers to access popular Google services such as Maps, Play and Assistant without having to sync a smartphone. 

Polestar 3 will also feature connectivity features based on Android Automotive OS, as well as high-end, safety-focused autonomous driving features, the company said. It will offer autonomous highway driving powered by a centralized NVIDIA DRIVE processor with integrated LiDAR from its partner Luminar. It will be one of the world's first EV's equipped with lidar during production to support autonomous driving.

The Polestar 3 will also be the first Polestar vehicle built in the U.S., with production set to take place at Volvo's auto factory in Charleston, South Carolina. All of the Polestar 3 vehicles built in South Carolina will be sold in the U.S., the company said.

The Ridgeville, South Carolina plant was opened in 2018 by Volvo Cars. The plant is currently the production home of the Volvo S60 mid-size sedan. The facility will produce the next generation XC90 sport utility vehicle next year 2022. The factory has the capacity to produce up to 150,000 cars annually.

"We will build in America for Americans," says Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar CEO. "Polestar 3 is planned to be launched in 2022 as a premium electric performance SUV that will define the look of SUVs in the electric age."

Polestar was established in 2017 as a new, standalone Swedish premium electric vehicle manufacturer. Founded by Volvo Cars and Geely Holding, Polestar has access to the technological and engineering synergies of Volvo Cars and benefits from significant economies of scale as a result.

The launch of the Polestar 3 next year means that segment leader Tesla will face more competition in the premium-electric vehicle segment, which it operated in for over a decade with little competition from the world's automakers. But now that's about to change as automakers around the world   unveil new electric models to compete with Tesla.

The premium SUV market is one of the fastest growing segments in the U.S. auto industry and is expected to be one of the most rapid to adopt fully electric vehicles, according to Polestar. Other models recently launched electric SUVs include the Mustang-inspired Mach-E SUV, Audi e-tron and Volkswagen ID.4 and upcoming Cadillac Lyriq from General Motors.

Polestar also unveiled its Precept sedan concept for the first time in New York on Thursday, which represents the company's design technology and sustainability goals for the future. 

Polestar is taking the Precept on a national tour, visiting Polestar retail locations throughout the U.S. into the new year.

Like EV makers Tesla, Rivian and Lucid Motors, Polestar will not have a network of traditional dealerships. Instead the company is opening dozens of "Polestar Spaces", which will serve as retail showrooms for customers to experience Polestar vehicles in person and learn more about the features and technology. 

The Spaces will be staffed by knowledgeable product experts who can answer any questions potential customers might have about the Polestar vehicles. Customers will also be able to place their vehicle orders at the Polestar Spaces.

The Polestar Spaces will offer services such as home test drives, free pick-up and delivery servicing, and other conveniences for Polestar consumers.

Polestar CEO Ingenlath also told the audience he believes "there is a fundamental difference between Polestar and many other electric car companies." 

"We are not a virtual company waiting to build factories and sell cars; we are an actual company already building and selling cars around the world," he said. Our two award-winning cars are on the road in 14 markets globally and we expect our global sales volume to reach around 29,000 vehicles this year."

As a joint venture of two well established global automakers, Geely and Volvo Cars, Polestar will not face the same challenges of scaling up production that newly listed companies Rivian and Lucid Group are facing. Lucid, for example, had to build its $1 billion EV factory from the ground up in Arizona before its could start producing its first vehicle, the Lucid Air sedan.

With a state-of-the-art factory at its disposal, Ingenlath said that Polestar is planning to launch a new car every year for the next three years, starting with Polestar 3, and plans to increase its presence to at least 30 global markets by the end of 2023, which will position the company to become a major player in the growing luxury EV segment.

Polestar plans to grow ten-fold from global sales of around 29,000 EVs this year to 290,000 by 2025. "From here on in, Polestar is all about growth," said Ingenlath during his presentation.

Polestar announced last month that it will come out with a production version of the Precept before 2025, which will become Polestar's flagship model that will rival the Tesla Model S, Mercedes-Benz EQS, Lucid Air, and Porsche Taycan electric sedans.

Following its commitment to transparency, Polestar is documenting the entire Precept development process in a YouTube documentary series. The series will chronicle the design process, development and production for the Precept.

The documentary series is titled, "Precept: From Concept to Car'' and it will offer a glimpse of all of the behind the scenes work that goes into designing a new vehicle. The series will continue throughout the Precept's production phase, offering the public a rare chance to follow the electric sedan's development and design process.

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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