Update: ‘Manufacturing’ and ‘Polestar public listing‘ sections updated.
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. Take a look at what we know so far about Polestar’s next big launch.
Polestar plans to manufacture the Polestar 3 alongside Volvo models at Volvo Cars’ first U.S. plant in Ridgeville, Berkeley County, South Carolina, from the end of 2022. Currently, the third-gen Volvo S60 rolls out of this facility. The first Polestar SUV will hit the production line in the U.S. at the beginning of 2024, Ingenlath confirmed on CNBC‘s Squawk Box on June 24, 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 factory. The Chengdu plant has an annual production capacity of 150,000 units, and Volvo Cars operates it. It will start making the Polestar 3 in early 2023.
At present, Polestar makes electric cars in two plants in China, for the local market as well as for exports; the niche hybrid-electric Polestar 1 is made in Chengdu whereas the Polestar 2 electric crossover is made in Luqiao.
The Polestar 3 will share its platform and battery with the XC90’s upcoming electric sibling (Volvo Embla). It’d be the SPA2 platform – A skateboard chassis with 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 in such a way that the driver can have a high eyepoint despite the lower height of the vehicle. In other words, the occupants would sit higher in what’s a slightly low-slung design.
Similar to the Lotus Eletre, the Polestar 3 should be an enthusiast-oriented model developed with a strong focus on performance. 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 (603 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 output. A two-speed gearbox is also under development. The company revealed the new motor and gearbox developments in an investor presentation in September 2021.
On December 20, 2021, Green Car Reports talked about 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.
According to Polestar chief designer Max Missoni, the 3 will have different driving characteristics than the next-gen XC90’s electric sibling, which was previewed by the Volvo Concept Recharge. While the Polestar electric car will focus on sportier handling, the Volvo SUV is likely to prioritize comfort.
Range & Charging
Polestar has confirmed that it is targeting a WLTP range of more than 600 km (373 miles) for its next three launches, including the Polestar 3. In that case, expect the ‘Luxury Aero SUV’ to deliver an EPA-est. range of around 300 miles.
Polestar plans to include a 103 kWh battery pack in its cars, and the Polestar 3 could be the first recipient. It will be an 800-volt battery pack developed using Volvo Cars and Lotus technology. A multi high-speed charging system will allow switching between 800 volts and 400 volts. Using an 800-volt charger, it will take approximately 20 minutes to charge the battery to 80% SoC.
Bi-directional/vehicle-to-grid compatibility will be available in next-gen Polestar EVs featuring the company’s state-of-the-art battery technology. Hence, the 3 would allow powering home appliances, charging electronics, and topping up other EVs using the energy stored in its battery pack. According to Green Car Reports, the power output for bi-directional charging would be set at 20 kW. 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.
As for the Polestar 3’s styling, Missoni had confirmed that it would be inspired by the Precept concept shown at the 2020 Beijing Auto Show. The Polestar 3 will be a sporty SUV with a sleek silhouette. 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 that could hide the vehicle’s LiDAR sensors. A leaked patent image, which you can see on Burlappcar, suggests that Polestar will offer a front trunk or a ‘frunk’ in the 3.
The car has a sharp kick in the beltline and a slim greenhouse, giving it a dynamic look. The roofline slopes slightly towards the rear, which should preserve the headroom. Flush door handles lend the SUV a touch of minimalism. A strong shoulder area, thick body cladding, four-double-spoke wheels in a two-tone finish, and yellow brake calipers are among the visual highlights revealed by the new official image.
The Polestar 3 has a wide and powerful stance at the rear. It doesn’t lean forward, which gives it a confident appearance from this angle. The chunky tail light stretches across the width and ends with wide C-shapes, accentuating these attributes.
The Polestar 3 could have been a three-row SUV, but it had good reasons not to be. Ingenlath 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.
With Volvo going all-electric, how will Polestar differentiate itself?
The Polestar 3 will go on sale alongside a similar Volvo EV based on the same platform, the Volvo Embla. However, the difference will be how driver-focused the Polestar 3 is designed to be, Ingenlath told Automotive News Europe in January 2022. The Polestar 3 will embody a sleek silhouette and focus more on performance than cargo space. While Volvo’s designs appeal to a broader audience including large families, a Polestar is marketed to be more sporty, progressive, and dynamic. The same effect is carried down to the materials and colors. Volvo’s will continue to be warm and welcoming, while Polestar offerings will differ with technology-driven cabin ambiance.
Even though Volvo and parent company Geely jointly own Polestar, there’s a strong desire to differentiate itself from and even compete with its kin. Ingenlath stated in an interview with ANE in January 2022 that the Polestar 3 would have “a more daring design” and that there would be a “more polarizing, more exclusive” appeal to the Polestar 3 compared to its SPA2 platform sharing Volvo cousin. Moreover, another ANE report dated April 7, 2022, says that Polestar is ahead of Volvo in rolling out OTA updates and has already released over 40,000 updates to its cars in 23 markets worldwide, including the U.S., UK, Germany, and China.
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.
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. 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.
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 Volvo Embla. NVIDIA DRIVE Orin SoC will power the autonomous driving computer, and a LiDAR sensor developed by Luminar will be standard.
The Polestar 3 will 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.”
Polestar succeeded in achieving its target of selling 29,000 cars in 2021, and its target for 2022 was 65,000 cars. However, in the first four months of 2022, the company did approximately 13,600 cars. It has now reduced the sales target for 2022 to approximately 50,000 units, as the supply of certain components including semiconductor chips are far from normal levels.
A May 2022 investor document (view on polestar.com) suggests that the Polestar 3 will go on sale in the first markets in early 2023. The U.S. will likely receive the 3 after Europe, as the factory where it will source the SUV from will start production around a year later. Hembrough told Green Car Reports that Polestar will start accepting orders for the 3 by mid-2022.
Like the 2, the 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. By 2025, it wants to increase annual global sales 10 times from 2021 to 290,000 units, and rapid global expansion is crucial to hitting that.
Compared to the 1 and 2, the 3 would have a wider reach globally right from launch. Polestar entered 9 new countries in 2021 and is currently present in a total of 25 markets. It has divided retail operations into three regions: Europe, North America, and Asia-Pacific. By 2023, it plans to be present in at least 30 markets worldwide.
Polestar Spaces & Service centers
Polestar will increase retail spaces globally from 130 as of June 15, 2022, to more than 160 by the end of 2023. The company plans to open satellite sales offices, too, for its low-volume markets, as per Automotive News. Moreover, it could sell cars through local importers in select markets.
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 in 2021, 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. The first Polestar Destination, located in Gothenburg, Sweden, opened in December 2021.
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 wanted to increase the number of service stations from 650+ at the end of July 2021 to 780+ by December 2021. By 2023, the company plans to have 1,100+ service points.
In Europe & the Middle East
Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK are the company’s European markets. By the end of 2022, Polestar plans to enter Italy.
In North America, Polestar is present in the U.S. and Canada. The Asia-Pacific territory includes China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Korea, as well as Australia and New Zealand. In the Middle East, Polestar operates in three countries, namely Israel, Kuwait, and UAE.
In the U.S.
There are 25 Polestar Spaces in the U.S., including in Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay Area, Orange County, New York City, Denver, Boston, Central and Southern New Jersey, Dallas, Austin, Detroit, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Seattle, Atlanta, Charlotte, Connecticut, South Florida, and Washington D.C. Polestar Spaces are coming up in Central California, the Pacific Northwest, and Hawaii, Polestar said in a press release on May 4, 2022. The company plans to increase the total number of showrooms in the U.S. to 38 this year and 50 by 2023.
In the UK
Polestar is banking on the agency model for rapid growth in Britain. The company is not cutting out dealers in the sales process and moving to direct sales as players like Tesla. It has found a comfy middle-ground instead – agency model, where dealers remain involved in the sales process but have the role of an agent. The company takes orders directly from the customers, which means there’s no price bargaining, and placing a confirmed order is a quick process. The dealer gets a fixed commission for handling the delivery.
On March 11, 2022, during an Autocar Business webinar, Jonathan Goodman, CEO, Polestar (UK), said that the conversion rates with the agency model are stronger than with the traditional franchised model. 10-13% of potential customers end up buying a Polestar within 60 days from the first time they experience a Polestar in person. Goodman believes that’s because Polestar uses the agency model, and is optimistic about the conversion rate further improving. The conversion rate for dealers with the franchised model is probably about 10%.
Polestar has launched a customer referral program, which will likely apply to the Polestar 3 when launched. Currently, the program is available in the U.S., Europe, and South Korea. Customers, irrespective of their purchase method, can generate a unique referral code to avail benefits of this program. This code has to be linked to a new customer’s account before placing an order. The original customer receives either charging credits, a unique sketch from a Polestar designer, or a Google Nest Hub and Nest Mini bundle. Charging credits are available in Europe and South Korea, while the Google Nest Hub and Nest Mini bundle’s availability is limited to the United States.
In Europe, the Polestar referral program is applicable in the UK, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Finland, and Denmark.
Polestar 3 Price & Release Date
In a press release issued on May 19, 2022, Polestar confirmed it will unveil the Polestar 3 in October 2022. The company said that it expects to start taking orders the same day as the world premiere. That means the company could start its series production by the end of 2022. Ingenlath said that the upcoming electric SUV made in the U.S. and China will stand out amongst other SUVs and bring a lot of growth to push the company into its next phase.
We believe our future growth will be further accelerated by our entry into the lucrative SUV market later this year with the world premiere in October of the long-awaited Polestar 3 electric performance SUV.Thomas Ingenlath, CEO of Polestar on May 19, 2022
In an interview with InsideEVs, Hembrough said that the Porsche Cayenne will be one of the competitors of the Polestar 3. For reference, the Cayenne costs between USD 72,200 (SUV)/USD 80,700 (Coupe) and USD 171,300 (SUV)/USD 188,700 (Coupe). The Tesla Model X (USD 120,990 onwards) has a strong presence in that segment, but Polestar could quickly popularize the 3 by pricing it competitively, probably in the mid-USD 80,000 range. In addition to the flagship Tesla, the BMW iX, which costs USD 83,200 onwards, and the Mercedes EQE SUV will be its competitors.
An Automotive News report dated March 7, 2022, states that the Polestar 3 will enter the American market in Q1 2023. In the interim period, Polestar would build the required sales network, by bringing a new large retail format to the U.S. in the summer of this year. Ingenlath told Automotive News Europe that the Polestar 3 will be the brand’s ‘Goldilocks’ model, blending in the right combination of volume and margin. He also added that the upcoming electric SUV will be the perfect ‘hero car’ for the brand.
Polestar public listing
Polestar has merged with Gores Guggenheim, a special purpose acquisition company of The Gores Group and Guggenheim Capital’s affiliates. With this merger, Polestar has become a new public company called Polestar Automotive Holding UK Limited and gotten listed on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “PSNY.” The listing happened on June 24, 2022, and at the end of June 27, 2022, closed at USD 11.11. As of June 27, 2022, the company’s market cap is USD 23.5 billion.
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, the 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.
Swedish musician to create a soundscape for Polestar
On March 8, 2022, Polestar announced a collaboration with Lisa Nordstrom, a Swedish composer, musician, and artist, to develop unique sounds for Polestar retail outlets to enhance customers’ brand experience. Polestar believes that a multi-sensory approach is essential to attract car buyers. The exclusively curated soundtrack would reflect the brand’s minimalist design values.
The nine-hour audio is sectioned into four tracks; morning, mid-day, afternoon, and evening. The soundtracks are available across 50 different streaming platforms and can also be streamed in the Polestar 2 EV.
Polestar 3 FAQs
What is the Polestar 3 release date?
Following its reveal in October 2022, the Polestar 3 is likely to launch in the U.S. in early 2024.
Which SUVs would the Polestar 3 rival?
What is the expected Polestar 3 price?
The Polestar SUV is likely to cost between USD 80,000 to USD 90,000 in the United States.