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News   October 19, 2017   by Joe McDonald, The Associated Press

Volvo e-car brand Polestar unveils first model

Volvo Cars’ performance electric car brand, Polestar, unveiled a four-seat coupe in lightweight carbon fiber as its first model, adding to competition in a market dominated until now by Tesla.

The hybrid Polestar 1 promises a range of 150 kilometres (95 miles) on a charge, with a gasoline-powered engine to supplement that if needed. It is due to be produced at a factory in western China and released in 2019.

Volvo, owned since 2010 by Chinese automaker Geely Holding, announced in July that it would make only electric and hybrid vehicles starting in 2019.

The Swedish brand, known for comfort and safety, launched Polestar to allow a different identity based on “really sporty performance cars,” said its chief executive, Thomas Ingenlath.

“There will be a clear difference between the two brands that add to each other in a very good way,” Ingenlath, a former Volvo senior vice-president for design, said in a phone interview ahead of the model debut in Shanghai.

The company says it will follow up with an all-electric model in 2019 and an SUV in 2021.

All manufacturers are moving toward more hybrids, but industry analysts say a transition to full-electric vehicles is years away.

Volvo has announced plans to release three all-electric models under its own brand by 2021.

The next Polestar model, the mid-size Polestar 2, is intended to compete with Tesla’s Model 3, the company says. Ingenlath declined to give a price, but the Tesla starts at $35,000.

Polestar will use an internet-based sales system with a monthly subscription fee, Ingenlath said. The company says that service will include the ability to rent other Volvo and Polestar models.

The market also faces competition from General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet Bolt and BMW AG’s electric brand, BMW i, which has released four electric models. Volkswagen AG’s Audi unit plans an electric SUV next year.

Sales of fully electric and hybrid vehicles have risen but last year’s total was only 2.6 million, or about 3 per cent of the global market. Navigant, a research firm, forecasts that will rise to about 3.7 million in 2018 and to more than 9 million by 2025, or about 9 per cent of sales.

Polestar expects China, where the government is promoting electric car development, to account for about one-third of global sales, according to Ingenlath.

China is the world’s biggest market for electrics and hybrids. It accounted for 40 per cent of last year’s global demand with sales of 336,000 units — more than double U.S. sales of 159,620.

Geely also launched another new brand, Lynk & Co., in 2016.

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1 Comment » for Volvo e-car brand Polestar unveils first model
  1. George S says:

    I wish them luck but there are some issues that have to be resolved before the EV can be the typical family car of the future. To make owning an EV feasible to the average family there will have to be some major changes to the grids. An electrical engineer told me that established grids are already taxed to their limits and adding charging electric cars (even as few as two cars) is going to push it over the edge to the point where there will be extensive blackouts. Upgrading everything will cost billions and the money for that will have to come from somewhere: the consumers’ pockets. Further, to take the EV on a long trip across the country to visit family there is going to be a major nightmare charging the vehicles’ batteries; you cannot simply pull up to the gas-come electric bar, charge up the batteries and be on your way in 20 minutes; you are stopped overnight. I read a couple of articles on EV and both eluded to the costs of ownership being upwards of (7) times what it would cost to own a similar-sized gas pot. And as clean as the gas pots are nowadays, I see very little benefit going EV. And don’t forget the electricity has to come from somewhere too: power generating stations fired on coal, natural gas and diesel; wind chargers and solar energy have a long way to go before they can actually take over. Don’t get me wrong; for certain applications, EV has a lot to offer; it’s going to be a long time coming before everyone can stab the accelerator pedal and be rewarded with the sound of an electrolux….

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