Polestar: Who Owns It and What Does It Sell?

The Swedish brand is looking to bring electric cars to the masses.

Capital One

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You may have seen an electric car on the road with a funky compass-like badge and thought: What the heck is that? That, my friend, is a Polestar. The Swedish brand is a subsidiary of Volvo, and you can definitely see the Scandinavian influence in all the sleek, clean lines and muted colors of its vehicles.

What is Polestar

The Polestar brand started in the racing world in 1996, when driver Jan “Flash” Nilsson founded Flash Engineering to compete in the Swedish Touring Car Championship. His team, fielding a factory-backed Volvo 850 GLT, won its first two seasons and reached the podium several times in the years to follow. In 2005, Nilsson sold the effort to driver Christian Dahl, who renamed it Polestar Racing. Volvo continued its support and made Polestar its official tuning partner in 2009. A year later, the two brands produced their first collaboration, the C30 Polestar Performance concept, followed by the roadgoing S60 and V60 Polestar models in 2013. Volvo bought Polestar outright in 2015 and spun the division into its own brand two years later.

Where Polestar Is

The company’s first standalone production car, the about $150,000+ Polestar 1, was a limited-run 619 hp plug-in hybrid with an impressive 52 MPGe range. Arriving in 2019, it served as a halo car to launch the brand and stayed on the market for a planned three years.

Also in 2019, the company revealed the far more attainable Polestar 2 electric fastback—currently the only model in Polestar’s lineup. Its around $49,800 base price is competitive for the segment, as is its 270 MPGe range rating, which nearly matches that of the single-motor Tesla Model 3 but falls below the 301 mile estimate of the BMW i4 eDrive40. What’s more, the Polestar 2 is the first vehicle to outsource its operating system to Google, saving the company from having to develop and update its own software.

Polestar has adopted a sales model similar to Tesla’s. There are no dealerships, only Spaces where potential buyers can learn about the cars and embark on a test drive (alternatively, Polestar will deliver a car to your home for you to evaluate). When it comes time to buy, you simply order your car online, and the company will bring it to your door.

Where Polestar is Made

Polestar uses different assembly facilities for each model. Its Polestar 2 is built in Luqiao, China alongside Volvo XC40 SUVs. Similarly, the Polestar 1 sports car was built in China. The upcoming Polestar 3 SUV, however, will be built at a Volvo assembly plant in South Carolina.

Where Polestar is Going

While its first model had an internal-combustion engine, Polestar has since committed exclusively to EVs and has announced several new ones on the horizon. We’ll see the Polestar 3 SUV this October, followed by a smaller crossover, the 4, in 2023. Further, the company intends to turn its swanky Precept concept into a production car by 2024. No word yet on whether it will bring its stellar O₂ roadster concept to life, but if it does, we don’t expect the roadgoing model will retain the concept’s autonomous drone.

Moreover, Polestar understands that while EVs don’t produce carbon emissions, the manufacturing process certainly does. And as an aspiring leader in the sustainability movement, the company wants to build the first carbon-neutral car (i.e., one that will not depend on carbon offsets, such as planting trees) by 2030. It plans to do this by eliminating emissions from the manufacturing process.

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Emme Hall
Emme Hall loves small convertibles and gets out to the canyons in her 2004 Mazdaspeed Miata whenever she can. You can also find her in the dirt in her lifted (yes, that's right) 2001 Mazda Miata, or racing air-cooled Volkswagens in races like the Baja 1000. She's taken first place twice in the Rebelle Rally — once driving a Jeep Wrangler and then a Rolls-Royce Cullinan the second time. She was also the first driver to take an electric vehicle to the Rebelle Rally when campaigning the Rivian R1T to a top-five finish