After a decade of pointing to the obvious, the Volvo Polestar goes green with performance — it’s about time to see hybrids, plug-in hybrids (PHEV), and pure electric vehicles (EV) finally take up that task.
For well over a decade, many of us have waited for the obvious conclusion that all cars need to have some sort of electric motors to either help achieve performance or fuel economy. Volvo not only seems determined to hold true to its words to have all cars sport an electric motor by 2019, but it is now pitting its once race department as a green performance one.
If 2008 brought most car companies to their knees, it wasn’t very tender with Volvo after Ford let it go. It’s fate seemed sealed when Chinese car manufacturer Geely bought it. It was then associated with another local maker, Saab, for as good as dead. Although Saab news still trickles, the new cars will also be electric. Still, Volvo is perhaps the company that weathered the post-2008 era the best and is today the poster child as a recovery example of that era.
Volvo Polestar Marries Green With Performance
That Volvo has successfully maneuvered this past decade through troubled international times is a success already in and of itself. Owned by Chinese company Geely, Volvo has become a way for the world and local companies to show what a Chinese company needs to do after buying an internationally reputed and established one. Geely, like the Indian Tata, likes to leave things alone and let Volvo deal with what it knows how to do best — design and build its cars. That strategy is one terrific calling card and establishes Geely as a trustworthy company to work with.
But before explaining what Polestar means potentially for Volvo, the name started its career as Polestar Cyan Racing, which was created in 1996. It officially became Volvo’s factory racing team in 2015, as you can read here, currently competing in the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship (STCC). The company eagerly promoted the use of E85 in the STCC series which became the first to use bioethanol. Volvo claims its use of the E85 fuel reduces CO2 emissions as much as 80%. Basically, Polestar is what AMG is to Mercedes, but unlike Mercedes, Volvo is eager to shed its internal combustion racing dirty image for a cleaner and greener one. Why not use the performance brand?
Today, Thomas Ingenlath, who until recently headed the company’s design department, became Polestar’s boss in an effort to show how serious it is about this. It makes sense at this stage of the game and the electric vehicle (EV) transition to eventually associate the performance part of the brand as being green. It not only needs to happen but will. It has to happen and the electric motor has proven itself to be a formidable ally in the race for more performance and less fuel consumption.
Can Volvo Polestar Marry Green With Performance?
How does a Volvo high in carbon fiber with a powertrain claiming about 600 hp borrowed from the XC90 T8 plug-in hybrid turn out? Using the same supercharged and turbocharged 2L gasoline engine, the overall drivetrain produces 324 hp with 295 lb ft and 81 bhp with 177 lb ft with the help of its electric motor.
If Volvos are great cars, and they truly are great cars, one thing they are not loved for is their thirsty gasoline appetite. Simply put, Volvo cars are heavy Swedish vehicles that, while they will save your life, won’t go easy on your gasoline budget. Carbon fiber is a great way to slim down for any electrification as the BMW i3 and i8 showed.
Although the company hints at using its available cars and electrifying the fleet, it does suggest the S60 as being a perfect fit for this newer and greener Polestar.
Volvo is doing many things at the same time and one of those is trying to catch the heels of Mercedes-AMG, BMW’s M division, and Audi’s RS brand. But in Volvo’s case, the company is leapfrogging and doing away with short-lived engine tweaks and modifications.
Volvo also announced that its hybrid drivetrains will be used for the high-performance versions of its mainstream range.
Volvo is putting itself in a league of its own. The Swedish carmaker is now well on its way back to its former prominent carmaker role when the Volvo Polestar goes green with performance ahead of the competition. Stay tuned for the fast two-door Coupé Volvo Polestar to be presented at the Frankfurt motor show this September.