Volvo is moving full speed ahead with the production of its electric vehicle brand and potential Tesla competitor, Polestar. According to Electrek, the Swedish automaker has broken ground on a new factory in China where these electric cars will be produced. The facility is aptly being called Polestar Production Centre.
As Electrek reports, last month, Volvo rebranded the Polestar as a performance electric car brand, so these hybrid and fully electric cars will have the Polestar logo and not Volvo’s. They even transferred some of Volvo’s leadership to Polestar.
Thomas Ingenlath, the senior vice president of design at Volvo, became the chief executive officer at Polestar. Jonathan Goodman, the former senior vice president of corporate communication at Volvo Cars, became the chief operating officer at Polestar.
All of these are strong indications that Volvo is serious about building electric cars and potentially competing with Tesla.
Volvo has said that it plans to release its first fully electric car in 2019. That’s expected to be a long-range EV with a battery pack that can deliver 100 kWh and a 250-mile range. The plan to price the vehicle between $35,000 and $40,000. That’s the same price range as the Tesla Model 3 and the Chevy Bolt EV.
As Electrek notes, in 2016, Volvo offered two visual concepts of their new fully electric car: one was a sedan and the other was an SUV. They’ve since confirmed that the Polestar 2 will be an all-electric sedan, a direct competitor to the Tesla Model 3. The Polestar 3 will be the fully electric SUV that could end up being competition for the Tesla Model Y.
But Polestar’s new factory in China will first be tasked with producing the Polestar 1, a plug-in hybrid. They plan to produce 500 of these cars per week at the new facility whose construction should be complete by mid-2018. It’s an “aggressive” timeline, something that Volvo/Polestar acknowledged in its press release.
As the Verge reports, the Polestar 1 contains up to 600 horsepower in its gasoline-hybrid powertrain. It’s two electric motors account for 218 horsepower, and it can go for 93 miles on a single charge. The rest of the horsepower is derived from the 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine.
[Featured Image by Volvo]