If you are in the market for an affordable electric SUV, the Polestar 3 is not the car you’re looking for. But if you want to be cosseted in Swedish luxury on your journeys, it may be just the ticket. Let’s get one thing out of the way right up front. The Polestar 3 is expected to start at around $84,000. That’s a lot of cashola, but the company says it is targeting Porsche Cayenne drivers, who are accustomed to paying between $70,000 and $150,000 for their cars.
The Polestar 3 is not an entry level electric SUV by any stretch of the imagination, so what is it exactly? In a press release, Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar CEO, says: “The Polestar 3 is a powerful electric SUV that appeals to the senses with a distinct, Scandinavian design and excellent driving dynamics. It takes our manufacturing footprint to the next level, bringing Polestar production to the United States. We are proud and excited to expand our portfolio as we continue our rapid growth.”
According to the Robb Report, the Polestar 3 will be a long range, dual motor SUV with a power delivery that favors the rear wheels. Torque vectoring is featured at the rear of the car, which will offer active chassis control via an adaptive dual chamber air suspension with dampers supplied by ZF.
“Our goal was to offer the performance and precision that define all Polestar cars, without compromising the comfort of the daily drive,” says Joakim Rydholm, Polestar’s chief chassis engineer. “To do this, we used new components like the adaptive air suspension to engineer the ‘Polestar feeling’ for this type of car.”
Polestar 3 Specs & Range
Drivetrain output is rated at 489 hp and 620 ft lb of torque, enough for a sprint to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. An optional Power Pack boosts output to 517 hp and 671 ft lb of torque, which hustles the car to 60 mph 0.3 seconds faster. That package will add $6,600 to the price of of the car and will be included in the launch edition cars. Top speed is 130 mph.
Although figures for range have not been officially released, Polestar anticipates it to be about 300 miles with its 111 kWh battery pack. The model is also equipped for bi-directional charging, which means it could potentially serve as a mobile generator or feed power back into the grid.
Polestar 3 premieres a new aerodynamic profile that retains the hallmarks of an SUV, including a powerful and wide stance, the company says. It has a Cd of 0.29 aided by a front aero wing integrated into the hood, an aero wing integrated into the rear spoiler, and rear aero blades. Be that as it may, 300 miles of range from a 111 kWh battery pack is nothing to brag about. Some might even suggest it rather undercuts all the hoopla about sustainable interior materials and a full length panoramic glass roof.
The Polestar 3 uses an NVIDIA DRIVE core computer and the Android Auto operating system, which makes over-the-air updates possible. NVIDIA’s automotive platform processes data from the car’s multiple sensors and cameras to enable advanced driver assistance safety features and driver monitoring.
There are interior radar devices that detect pets of children left behind and activate the climate control system to prevent hypothermia or heat stroke. Two closed-loop driver monitoring cameras use eye-tracking technology from Smart Eye to monitor the driver’s eyes. The system can trigger warning messages, sounds, and even an emergency stop function when it detects a distracted, drowsy, or disconnected driver. [Other manufacturers should be including in their vehicles to get drunks and texters off the road. We’re looking at you, Elon.]
The Polestar 3 will be available to order in the second quarter of 2023. The launch edition will include the Power Pack and list for close to $90,000. The optional Pilot Pack with LiDAR from Luminar will add an additional control unit from NVIDIA, three cameras, four ultrasonic sensors, and cleaning for the front and rear view cameras, providing accurate real-time data about the car’s surroundings, especially in the long-range field. This enables enhanced 3D scanning of the car’s surroundings in greater detail and helps prepare the car for autonomous driving.
The Polestar 3 is the first car out on a new all-electric technology base developed by and shared with Volvo Cars. The new Volvo EX90 will share all of its powertrain components with the Polestar 3. Production is expected to begin at the Volvo Cars facility in Chengdu, China, in the middle of 2023, with the first deliveries expected in the fourth quarter of 2023.
Additional manufacturing at the Volvo Cars factory in Ridgeville, South Carolina, is expected to follow towards the middle of 2024 — from which point supply to North American and other markets is planned to switch from China to the US. Initial deliveries from the US factory are expected around the middle of 2024.
Polestar has ambitious goals. It says it plans to be bigger than Porsche in the near future. The Polestar 3 is a big part of that plan, and yet, sitting around the executive sauna at CleanTechnica’s intergalactic headquarters, there were some who felt the Polestar 3 was a tad underwhelming.
For one thing, at a time when battery materials are in critically short supply, a car with a 111 kWh battery pack that can barely go 300 miles on a charge (bear in mind that range is computed from 100% to 0% SOC, something no one ever does in real-world driving) seems somewhat tone deaf to market realities. There were also suggestions that those flying buttresses on either side at the rear create enormous blind spots for drivers. Finally, all this silliness about interesting new patterns made possible by LED headlights is wearing thin.
That being said, there is no doubt the Polestar 3 will be a delight to drive and a worthy addition to the Polestar lineup. The fact that the car will eventually be manufactured in the United States is nice too — although, it is unlikely to qualify for any federal tax incentives, which limit the sale price of eligible SUVs to $80,000.
Most people probably could care less what we think, but we have to give the Polestar only a B+ rating. It’s good, but is it good enough? We’ll find out once some of these cars get into the hands of actual owners in a year or so.
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