While Volvo is forging ahead full bore to electrify all of their models, it’s their sibling-sub brand polestar that’s leading the charge. Last year, they delivered the Polestar 1 plug-in luxury sport coupe. This year, their efforts amp up with a fully-electric sport sedan, the Polestar 2.
The 2021 Polestar 2 may be the first all-electric car from the upstart Polestar folks, but the Volvo engineers behind it have a long history of developing alternative ways to power vehicles.
Take this Volvo Environmental Concept Car from 1992. 5-years before anyone heard of a Prius, Volvo trotted out a hybrid-electric car with 90-miles of pure EV driving; and an onboard gas turbine engine to charge its batteries, stretching range to over 400-miles. That concept didn’t exactly make it into prime time, but much of that technology exists today in Volvo’s many PHEVs and ultimately this Polestar 2.
The 2’s 78-kWh battery pack gives it a range of 233-miles; well short of the 300-mile threshold that seems to put people at ease, but about the same as the standard Ford Mustang Mach-E, and ultimately plenty for commuting duty.
Level-2 at home charging can be done in about 8-hours; though the Polestar 2 will accept 150-kW fast charging for an 80% charge in as little as 40-minutes.
For the time being, powertrain consists of a 150-kW electric motor for each axle; providing standard all-wheel-drive, 408-horsepower, and 487 lb-ft. of torque, enough to spring to 60 in only 4.5-seconds.
And while it doesn’t quite peg the style meter like the Polestar 1; it does seem to be a perfect blending of it, with customary Volvo design cues. It’s sporty, yet quite conservative as far as EVs go; even with a traditional looking grille.
The minimal greenhouse and small back glass bring almost a hot-rod vibe into the mix, but combining that with the smallish side mirrors doesn’t lead to great rearward visibility.
But that’s the limit of our complaints when it comes to the actual driving. Like most electrics, power is almost instantaneous, and can even feel unrelenting at times.
And if you enjoy driving like we do, paying an added $5,000 for the Performance Pack is a no-brainer.
It features adjustable Ohlins dampers to go along with stiffer springs and stabilizer bars for the suspension, gold 4-piston Brembo brake calipers behind 20-inch forged aluminum wheels, and finally a high-gloss black roof, and gold seatbelts.
Those seatbelts, along with the rest of the interior, are made from sustainably sourced materials; for a Scandinavian vegan vibe that is more modern and cool than soft and warm.
The 11-inch central display screen seems tiny compared to many EV rivals; and indeed some virtual buttons are small, requiring an extra bit of attention. It’s powered by a new Android-based operating system with built-in Google apps, though actual operation will be quite familiar to Volvo owners.
No start button, the Polestar 2 senses your approach and will be ready to roll as soon as you get yourself settled; though they’ve kept things from getting too unfamiliar with a somewhat traditional gear selector.
There’s currently just one Polestar 2 model available, starting at $61,200 before any tax credits.
All-new all-electric vehicles are now hitting the market at a fast and furious pace, from both established brands, new brands, and something in between like Polestar. Where the best of Volvo passenger car technology, and the performance of the Polestar race team, combine for a forward-look that makes the 2021 Polestar 2 one to keep an eye on.
Range: 233 miles
Torque: 487 lb-ft
0-60 mph: 4.5 seconds
Starting Price: $61,200