Volvo Polestar 1: 600-Horsepower Hybrid Sports Car To Kick Off Company’s Electrification Push

Volvo’s Polestar 1, which made its first public appearance Tuesday at an event in Shanghai, won’t be on the market until mid-2019, and it won’t be a mass-production vehicle either. But if everything goes according to plan, the Swedish automaker’s new performance brand could help the company enter the growing electrified car space with a bang.

According to The Verge, the Polestar 1 will be the first of three new vehicles launched as part of Volvo’s new Polestar performance division. It will also be true to the automaker’s previous commitment to release only electrified cars from 2019 onward, as the first of three such vehicles confirmed thus far. The Polestar 1, however, won’t be a purely electric-powered car, but rather a gasoline-hybrid sports coupe with a powertrain that produces a combined 600 horsepower and 737 pound/feet of torque.

Volvo’s Polestar 1 will come with two electric motors at the back that produce a combined 218 horsepower, with a range of about 93 miles per full charge, or 75 percent more mileage than the Chevrolet Volt. According to Polestar officials, that’s good enough to give it the longest range in the hybrid car market. The remaining horsepower comes from the car’s front-mounted 2.0-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine.

Other performance-oriented features include a carbon-fiber body, retractable rear spoiler, and an all-new Ohlins Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension, which gives Polestar 1 owners the option to adjust suspension settings as they see fit, allowing for better ride quality or handling in a variety of conditions.

In a statement quoted by Consumer Reports, Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath emphasized the importance of the Polestar 1 as a key part of parent company Volvo’s electrification initiative.

“Cars emitting exhaust fumes will become just as unacceptable as smoking is in a public restaurant. I’m totally convinced the future of mobility is electric.”

In another interesting note, Volvo will be selling the Polestar 1 exclusively through its subscription program, allowing the company’s performance brand to stand out among automakers who sell their vehicles via traditional ownership models. This is similar to how Volvo announced that it would sell its XC40 SUV in subscription-only form, with more details on available plans likely to be announced at next month’s Los Angeles Auto Show. According to Consumer Reports, Polestar 1 buyers can choose between two- or three-year subscriptions, with no upfront deposit required.

Explaining the mechanics of the Polestar subscriptions, Consumer Reports described the plans as “something like a lease with concierge services.” That means Polestar will send out notifications to customers if their vehicle is ready for maintenance, and offer them a loaner car if they need one. Customers who may be on the road will also be able to pick up any Polestar or Volvo vehicle they want, due to the specific number of rental days included as part of their monthly payment.

Volvo did not discuss specific pricing details for the Polestar 1, but The Verge noted that customers could already place their orders for the vehicle, which will be initially sold in a limited-edition run of 500 units per year, starting in mid-2019.

Volvo’s Polestar 1 won’t be the only vehicle with Polestar branding to roll out within the next few years or so. The Polestar 2 is set to be Volvo Car Group’s first all-electric vehicle, and it is expected to be priced competitively in a similar fashion to Tesla’s Model 3. A third vehicle, the Polestar 3, may compete against the likes of the Tesla Model X, in the sense that it’s a “larger, SUV-style battery-electric.” Production on the Polestar 2 is expected to kick off later in 2019, while no details on the Polestar 3’s production were mentioned at the Shanghai event.

[Featured Image by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images]