While on paper the Polestar 3 is exactly what its name suggests, the brand’s third model, it’s also his first foray in the SUV segment. However, deep down there is much more than that behind this new electric car. The Polestar 3 illustrates the direction in which its executives they plan to direct the personality of the brand and to whom their product is directed. The design and technology of this electric SUV mark a before and after in the firm.
“The core of our brand is represented by the 3,” says company boss (and former Volvo designer) Thomas Ingenlath. Maximilian Missoni, chief designer, echoed these comments adding that “This car really shows where Polestar is going.” Polestar trend is move away from its former parent company, Volvo.
The first two models, 1 and 2, saw the light under the supervision of the Swedish brand. The Polestar 1 debuted in 2013 in the form of the P1800-inspired Volvo Concept Coupe. The Polestar 2 was revealed three years later as the Volvo 40.2 concept, which began to take shape from the S60 Cross Country in 2015.
The significant difference between the two previous models and the Polestar 3 is that the latter has been designed in-house from scratch. While it’s built on the same basic platform as, say, the future XC90 Recharge due in the coming months, almost everything else is brand-specific, starting with exterior and interior design. But so are the mechanical components, including suspension, steering, chassis tuning and tires. “It’s like a guitar: two different musicians can create completely different music on the same instrument,” says Ingenlath.
One of the biggest differentiators is the design. The Polestar 3 ushers in an angular, streamlined language that will permeate the rest of the range throughout the 2020s. The front end still evokes something of the essence of Volvo in the distinctive shape of the LED daytime running lights that create a subtle visual link between the two marks.
“It was a deliberate decision to make the 3 with two rows of seats because, in a way, that represents what we do at Polestar. We are not trying to have it all but to choose what is the right decision for our brand.” A spacious and luxurious cabin for four or five people it was only possible with two rows of seats. “If we had added two more seats, the aerodynamic flow of the silhouette would have been compromised, and that is not our way,” explains Ingenlath. Between the lines, this explanation suggests that the Volvo XC90 will have three rows.
Joakim Rydholm, the company’s head of chassis development, emphasized that the 3 won’t drive like the XC90. His team has tuned the chassis to make it sportier than the Volvo’s. “They are two different cars with two different philosophies,” he notes. And, while the platform is relatively modular and it is technically possible to remove one of the electric motors, a single-motor variant has not been planned.
Polestar is ready to stand on her own. The downside of not having Volvo’s heritage and experience is also an advantage because you can create your cars from a blank slate without meeting pre-set expectations. This situation also explains why Polestar has been able to be more open about future models, such as the Polestar 5, which doesn’t have to worry about cannibalizing an existing model.
Ingenlath argues that the brand “is settling in a historically important place and that the Volvo heritage is not entirely lost on the Polestar team.” Probably referring to the now defunct Saab without mentioning its innovative and quirky character, the leader says that “in the past, Scandinavia had two very strong and iconic brands. One of them disappeared, and now Polestar is emerging to fill that void.”
In late 2023, the Polestar 3 will be followed by the Polestar 4, a crossover with a fastback-style roofline, and the Polestar 5, a sedan inspired by the Precept concept. The production version of the dubbed O2 Concept (Polestar 6) will also arrive. When all these models are a reality, Polestar will be present in several segments whose lower limit is the one set by the Polestar 2. It has already ruled out launching a car below this, not only because the Polestar 1 already exists, but because the company wants define yourself as a premium brand and avoid spreading your resources too thin.” At the moment, we have no plans to offer a smaller model,” said Ingenlath.