While there’s still a rolling stream of announcements that automakers are shuttering operations for their factories and showrooms all over the world (but mostly Europe and the Americas), car manufacturing in China seems to be getting back on its feet - as we expected they might.
One of the most notable of those is Polestar, Volvo’s high-performance electrified sub-brand, who, despite also being headquartered in Gothenburg, manufacture all their cars in state-of-the-art facilities in China.
The Polestar 2 was due to begin production in early 2020 but was thought to have been delayed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. However, the company has confirmed that this schedule is indeed back on track with the first examples of the car already rolling off the production line, seemingly defiant of the global pandemic and capable of high volume output.
Specifically, the car is being built in parent company Geely’s Luqiao location, which is already responsible for a sizeable portion of Volvo XC40s, and ensures that the Polestar 2’s production is given the same premium treatment.
To ensure the health and safety of all staff, however, much stricter measures have been put in place to guarantee that the plant is free of the COVID-19 virus, which also includes securing a supply chain that also adheres to those same high health standards.
“The world is facing enormous upheaval in the face of the coronavirus pandemic,” comments Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath. “We start production now under these challenging circumstances with a strong focus on the health and safety of our people. This is a great achievement and the result of huge efforts from the staff […]. I have a huge amount of respect for the entire team – thanks to them!”
As the first fully electric vehicle to emerge from Volvo Cars, the Polestar 2’s rollout is most definitely a landmark event for the Swedish marque, doubly so as the the four-door fastback is aimed at the lucrative premium entry level EV market, directly facing off against the Tesla Model 3 and the like.
Sitting on the same Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) as the XC40, the Polestar 2 can certainly put up one hell of a fight; at least on paper. The floor-mounted batteries, comprised of 27 lithium-ion modules, are rated to store 78kWh of charge, good for a range of up to 500km based on the WLTP testing cycle.
It packs a wallop in terms of performance as well thanks to its dual 150kW electric motors, providing the car with all-wheel drive and a combined output of 408hp and 660Nm of torque. Polestar claims the car will sprint to 100km/h from rest in under 5 seconds.
By contrast, the Tesla Model 3 in its priciest configuration (at the time of writing) sports a 75kWh battery and an advertised maximum range of 518km. It also claims the acceleration crown too, needing a supercar-like 3.4 seconds to reach 100km/h.
While they could be quite similar in terms of list price, the Swede will also be made available through subscription in certain markets, bringing the upfront cost down significantly.
In the near term, though, only the traditional ownership model will be offered. That said, the first cars are poised to be delivered to as promised in mid-2020 starting in Europe, followed by China and North America.