Polestar 3 electric SUV – Everything we know in Dec 2021 [Update]

In June 2021, Polestar released the first teaser of its electric SUV, the Polestar 3. The company also announced that it will build the vehicle in the United States. It plans to price the 3 at the same level as Porsche’s Cayenne, which costs between USD 69,000 (SUV)/USD 77,500 (Coupe) and USD 165,300 (SUV)/USD 180,800 (Coupe).

Manufacturing

Polestar plans to manufacture the Polestar 3 alongside Volvo models at the Volvo Cars’ first US plant in Ridgeville, Berkeley County, South Carolina. Currently, the third-gen Volvo S60 rolls out of this facility. The first Polestar SUV will hit the production line at the end of 2022. Volvo Cars is a large shareholder in Polestar, and so, the latter benefits from its technologies, and the financial and industrial synergies.

The Polestar 3’s production will take place in China as well, at the company’s Chengdu plant, as local production can allow pricing the EV attractively and making regional adaptations. Autocar has reported that the European units of the 3 will come from the Chinese plant, not the American Volvo Cars. The Chengdu plant has an annual production capacity of 150,000 units, and Volvo Cars operates it.

Polestar Precept Concept side
According to chief designer Max Missoni, the Polestar 3 SUV will draw design inputs from the Polestar Precept concept (pictured). Image: Polestar

At present, Polestar makes electric cars in two plants in China, for the local market as well as for exports to Europe and the USA; the niche hybrid-electric Polestar 1 is made in Chengdu whereas the Polestar 2 electric crossover is made in Luqiao.

Specifications

Platform

The Polestar 3 will share its platform and battery with the next-generation 2022 Volvo XC90‘s electric sibling. It’d be the upcoming SPA2 platform but with a skateboard chassis, a different floor assembly.

Gleaning from the Volvo Recharge Concept announcement, the new platform that will underpin the Polestar 3 allows a flat floor that would improve cabin space. Expect a generous wheelbase, larger wheels, short overhangs, and a larger storage area between the front seats than an equivalent combustion engine SUV. This platform allows positioning the seats such that the driver can have a high-eyepoint despite a lower height of the vehicle. In other words, the occupants would sit higher in what’s a slightly low-slung design.

Performance

Similar to the upcoming Lotus Type 132, the Polestar 3 should be an enthusiast-oriented model developed with a strong focus on the performance aspect. Polestar chief engineer Joakim Rydholm has indicated that it’ll be fun to drive, as per an Autocar report. All Polestar models will make the driver always feel connected to the car, Rydholm said. However, for obvious reasons, “the 3 will breathe and flow a bit more (than the 2).”

Polestar is developing a new ‘P10’ motor for powering the rear wheels of its future EVs, which can deliver up to 450 kW (637 hp). The company can use it in AWD models by combining it with a front motor, and in that case, it can achieve up to 650 kW (871 hp) of combined power. A two-speed gearbox is also under development. The company revealed these motor and gearbox developments in an investor presentation in September 2021.

On December 20, 2021, Green Car Reports talked that the P10 motor after having a conversation with Gregor Hembrough, Head, Polestar (USA). It said that the new electric motor will be approximately 1.5 times more powerful than the motors powering Porsche’s Taycan. The targeted power output is 475 kW (637 hp), the report added. Hembrough revealed that Polestar would not share its motors with Volvo or Lotus.

Range & Charging

Coming to the drivetrain of the Polestar SUV, we expect the Audi e-tron rival to feature a range in the ballpark of 310-320 miles. According to Missoni, it will have different driving characteristics than the next-gen XC90’s electric sibling. While the Polestar electric car will focus on sportier handling, the Volvo SUV is likely to prioritize comfort.

Polestar wants the 3 to return a range of more than 600 km or 373 miles. It may use an 800-volt battery pack with an energy content of 103 kWh in the 3. The energy density of the 3’s battery pack could be better than that of the 2. Multi-charging (400V and 800V) and bi-directional/V2G charging should be possible. According to Green Car Reports, 20 kW will be the power output available for bi-directional charging. Ultra-fast charging to 80% may take just about 20 minutes.

Polestar 3 Design

The Polestar 3 electric SUV will be about drivability, design, and “offering something different,” Polestar’s chief operating officer, Jonathan Goodman had told Carbuyer.co.uk.

The Polestar 1 was derived from the Volvo Concept Coupe (presented in 2013), and it was originally a Volvo design. The Polestar 2 has more than a few design lines common with the Volvo 40.2 Concept (presented in 2016). With the launch of the Polestar 3, the brand would start distancing itself in design and “drive that separation further and further,” Thomas Ingenlath, the company’s CEO, told Fast Company in May 2021.

Polestar 3 prototype
What’s certain is that the Polestar 3 (pictured) will look radically different from most mainstream competitors. Image: Polestar

As for the Polestar 3’s styling, Max Missoni, design director for the brand, had confirmed that it would be inspired by the Precept concept shown at the 2020 Beijing Auto Show. Missoni also commented that the Precept concept would be an indication of the brand’s design direction. The direct production version of the show car will be a model called Polestar 5.

The Polestar 3 will be a sporty SUV with a sleek silhouette. Pictures of camouflaged prototypes suggest that it will feature a hexagonal compact upper grille, horizontally flipped T-shaped headlamps, a trapezoidal lower grille, and triangular cut-outs in the outer sections of the bumper at the front. A leaked patent image, which you can see on Burlappcar, suggests that Polestar will offer a front trunk or a ‘frunk’ in the 3.

A low height, a sharp kick in the beltline, and a slim greenhouse would give it a dynamic styling on the sides, as revealed through a prototype image posted on Reddit. The roofline has a subtle slope towards the rear, which should preserve the headroom.

Polestar 3 rendering
The Polestar 3 would be a large five-seat SUV that would take on higher offerings from Tesla, Mercedes and Audi. Pictured is TopElectricSUV’s rendition of the vehicle.

Our exclusive rendering shows the Polestar 3 with muscular wheel arches, strong shoulders, and a wide stance. Horizontal T-shaped headlights and sporty bumpers should add to the aggressive styling. The Polestar 3 will be more aerodynamic than comparable ICE rivals, with more slanted A-pillars, a lower height, and the EV-typical closed-off upper grille. The triangular black portion in the outer sections of the bumper could hide the vehicle’s LiDAR sensors.

The Polestar 3 could have been a three-row SUV, but it had good reasons not to be. Ingelath told Autocar that choosing a two-row seating layout allows a more aerodynamic roofline. There’s also the additional and crucial advantage of making the passenger experience comfortable and luxurious. Moreover, the brand needs to differentiate significantly from the comparable Volvo SUV (production Volvo Concept Recharge). Polestar is focusing on luxury and sportiness than family-hauling capability.

Interior

Polestar Precept Concept interior
Where the Volvo Embla (name: TBC) will be a 7 seater, the Polestar SUV will be a strict 5 seater. Image of the Precept concept for illustrative purpose only. Image: Polestar

A key difference between the production Volvo Concept Recharge and the Polestar sport utility vehicle will be the seating capacity. Where the family-friendly Volvo model will continue to offer up to 7 seats, the Polestar 3 will be a strict five-seater.

In March 2021, Volvo had released the C40 Recharge electric SUV coupe as its first model with a leather-free interior. Now, Polestar, Volvo Car Group’s second passenger car brand, is also likely to offer an EV completely free of leather. In an interview with Forbes in February 2021, Ingenlath was asked how much of the Precept’s “inventive thinking” would trickle into the Polestar 3. In response, he said that market and regional Polestar officials finally understand the values of investing in new design and technology. In the same answer, he hinted at a leather-free interior for the Polestar 3:

Only a few years ago we would hear answers such as: “We understand what you are saying, but our markets still want leather.” Thankfully that argument is over.

Thomas Ingenlath, CEO, Polestar to Forbes

Further ahead, Ingenlath said that the natural fiber material it had worked on with Bcomp for the Precept concept’s seats “is now going into production.” So far, no other Polestar model has offered a leather-free interior, neither the 1 coupe nor the 2 sedan-style hatchback.

Features

It is safe to assume that the Polestar 3 will be equipped with plenty of technology, comfort, and convenience features, many possibly shared with Polestar 2. A lot of focus should be on connected car solutions and on-board entertainment, with premium features like Polestar Digital Key, video streaming app, premium Harman Kardon sound system, etc., borrowed from the Polestar 2. Key features may include a head-up display and a widescreen digital instrument cluster as well.

Digital Key & Video streaming app

Polestar Digital Key, currently in the beta stage, works with a total of 18 Bluetooth sensors in and around the car in the case of the Polestar 2. The video streaming app, which is also currently in the beta stage, lets the user stream content directly to the vehicle’s center display while the vehicle is parked or charging. Development of both features should be completed by the time the Polestar 3 goes on sale. The Polestar 2 has a 13-speaker, 600-watt Harman Kardon sound system, including two subwoofers, and so, the Polestar 3 would also offer a rich audio experience.

Autonomous Driving

The Polestar 3’s main attractions will include hands-free, autonomous driving with ‘Highway Pilot.’ SAE Level 3 could be the targeted level of autonomy in this model’s case, achievable with a software upgrade later during the lifecycle. Polestar has told investors that the 3 will gain “unsupervised highway pilot” at some point during its lifecycle. Zenseact will provide the software for the 3’s Highway Pilot.

The 3’s automated driving system hardware could be technically related to that of the 2022 Volvo XC90. NVIDIA DRIVE Orin SoC will power the autonomous driving computer in the next-gen XC90, and a LiDAR sensor developed by Luminar will be standard.

Android-powered AVN

Like the 2022 Volvo XC90, the Polestar 3 would feature an infotainment system powered by Android Automotive OS. Using onboard functions via the vehicle’s center screen would be very easy and familiar for customers, especially those accustomed to Android devices like smartphones, tablets, and TVs. Customers can download apps via the Google Play Store and use everyday apps like Google Maps, Spotify, Audible, and Google Podcasts on the go directly in the infotainment system. With Google Assistant, users can enjoy voice commands with the familiar prompt phrase “Hey Google.”

Launch markets

Polestar 3 teaser
A look at the Polestar 3 and how it stands out in the crowd of EVs. The focus of this official teaser is on the car’s sloping roofline. Image Source: Polestar

Officially, the Polestar 3 will go on sale in the first markets sometime in 2022. Given the Polestar plans to begin production at the end of 2022, deliveries in Europe may begin only in Q1 2023. The U.S. market is likely to benefit from local manufacturing and receive the 3 earlier. Hembrough said that Polestar will start accepting orders for the 3 by mid-2022. An official reveal could take place as early as the beginning of 2022, then.

Compared to the 1 and 2, the 3 would have a wider reach globally right from launch. Polestar has divided its retail operation into three regions: Europe, North America, and Asia-Pacific. Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Island, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK are the company’s European markets. In North America, it is present in the U.S. and Canada. The Asia-Pacific territory includes China, Hong Kong, and Singapore, as well as Australia and New Zealand. Of these 18 markets, Polestar cars are on sale in 14 markets already.

In the first half of 2022, Polestar plans to enter Spain, Portugal, Ireland, and Israel. In total, Polestar wants to enter 12 new markets in 2022. That would mean creating a presence in 30 countries worldwide by the end of 2022. By 2025, it aims to increase its annual global sales to 290,000 units.

Like the Polestar 2, Polestar 3 will be a key volume driver for the company. Polestar expects to sell 24,000 units of the 3 in 2023. The company expects the 3’s sales to grow to 67,000 units in 2024 and further up to 77,000 units in 2025.

Electrek reported that Polestar will increase its retail spaces from 86 to 150 by 2022 globally. The company plans to open satellite sales offices, too, for its low-volume markets, as per Auto News. Moreover, it could sell its cars through local importers in some markets. Right now, the company is expecting to succeed in achieving its target of selling 29,000 cars in 2021, as per Reuters.

In the U.S.

In the U.S., Polestar expects to have 25 retail locations before the end of 2021. The most recent additions in the U.S. were Boston and New York City facilities. The company plans to increase the total number of showrooms in the U.S. to 38 by 2022 and 50 by 2023.

Polestar will sell the 3 through its small network of ‘Polestar Spaces’ rather than a showroom-in-showroom concept using Volvo dealers. This offers buyers a more exclusive experience, the brand believes. The company introduced a new concept for its retail outlets this year, called ‘Polestar Destinations.’ It is opening them in large spaces at easy-to-access out-of-town locations. In addition to offering an immersive experience of the brand and test drives, it uses Polestar Destinations to perform customer deliveries.

To boost the digital sales model, Polestar planned to add around 60 test drive locations by the end of 2021. Moreover, the company is rapidly expanding customer delivery centers. As for the service network, it wants to increase the number of service stations from 650+ at the end of July 2021 to 780+ December 2021.

Polestar 3 Price

The upcoming electric SUV won’t be cheap, as Polestar is positioning its status as a premium brand. Although with the standing that the Tesla Model X (USD 90,000 onwards) has in that segment, Polestar may need to price the 3 competitively in the U.S, probably in the mid USD 80,000 range. The BMW iX is scheduled to go on sale in November with a base price in the same region, and the Mercedes EQE SUV, late next year.

Polestar going public

Polestar will merge with Gores Guggenheim, a special purpose acquisition company of The Gores Group and Guggenheim Capital’s affiliates. With this merger, Polestar will become a new public company called Polestar Automotive Holding UK Limited and list on Nasdaq likely under the ticker symbol “PSNY.” This merger will happen at a valuation of approximately USD 20 billion. The companies expect to complete the merger in the first half of 2022.

On April 15, 2021, Polestar had announced that it had raised USD 550 million from a group of long-term financial investors. This was the first time external investors had backed the company, thanks to the robust growth of the global EV segment. Zibo Financial Holding, Zibo Hightech Industrial Investment, Chongqing Chengxing Equity Investment Fund Partnership, and South Korea’s SK Inc had funded Polestar back then.

The fresh investments should secure the future of the upcoming Polestar models and accelerate their development. Polestar will likely use the new funding to expand production and launch new models.

Polestar to launch 3 new EVs

The Polestar 3 will be part of a trio of new EVs from the Swedish brand. After the Polestar 3, a Polestar 4 should arrive in 2023, followed by the Polestar 5. By 2030, Polestar wants to create the first truly climate-neutral car, and the company will develop this model under the Polestar 0 Project. It aims to reduce CO2 emissions by transforming the manufacturing process such that there are zero emissions right from the production stage.

Polestar 3 FAQs

What is the Polestar 3 release date?

The Polestar electric SUV is expected to launch in the first markets in the second half of 2022 and then in Europe in Q1 2023.

Which SUVs would the Polestar 3 rival?

The Polestar 3 is expected to be priced to compete with the BMW iX, Mercedes EQE SUV, Audi Q6 e-tron, Porsche Macan EV & Tesla Model X.

What will be the price of the Polestar 3?

The Polestar SUV is likely to cost between USD 75,000 to USD 90,000.