Volvo’s Polestar begins production of the all-electric Polestar 2 in China – TechCrunch
Polestar has began production of its all-electric Polestar 2 car at a plant in China amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has upended the automotive business and triggered a wave of manufacturing facility closures all through the world.
The begin of Polestar 2 production is a milestone for Volvo Car Group’s standalone electrical efficiency model — and never simply because it started in the midst of world upheaval attributable to COVID-19, a illness that stems from the coronavirus. It’s additionally the first all-electric automobile beneath a model that was relaunched simply three years in the past with a brand new mission.
Polestar was as soon as a high-performance model beneath Volvo Cars. In 2017, the firm was recast as an electrical efficiency model aimed toward producing thrilling and fun-to-drive electrical automobiles — a distinct segment that Tesla was the first to fill and has dominated ever since. Polestar is collectively owned by Volvo Car Group and Zhejiang Geely Holding of China. Volvo was acquired by Geely in 2010.
COVID-19 has affected how Polestar and its dad or mum firm function. Factory closures started in China, the place the illness first swept by means of the inhabitants. Now Chinese factories are reopening as the epicenter of COVID-19 strikes to Europe and North America. Most automakers have suspended production in Europe and North America.
Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath mentioned the firm began production beneath these difficult circumstances with a robust concentrate on the well being and security of its staff. He added that the Luqiao, China manufacturing facility is an instance of how Polestar has leveraged the experience of its dad or mum firms.
Extra precautions have been taken as a result of of the outbreak, together with frequent disinfecting of work areas and requiring staff to put on masks and endure common temperature screenings, based on the firm. Polestar has mentioned that none of its staff in China examined optimistic for COVID-19 because of this of its efforts.
COVID-19 has additionally affected Polestar’s timeline. Polestar will solely promote its automobiles on-line and can provide prospects subscriptions to the car. It beforehand revealed plans to open “Polestar Spaces,” a showroom the place prospects can work together with the product and schedule take a look at drives. These areas will likely be standalone amenities and never inside present Volvo retailer showrooms. Polestar had deliberate to have 60 of these areas open by 2020, together with in Oslo, Los Angeles and Shanghai.
COVID-19 has delayed the opening of the showrooms. The firm could have some pop-up shops opening as quickly as that scenario improves, so folks can go see the automobiles and be taught extra whereas the everlasting showrooms are nonetheless beneath building, TechCrunch has realized.
It’s not clear simply what number of Polestar 2 automobiles will likely be produced; Polestar has instructed TechCrunch that it’s in the “tens of thousands” of automobiles per calendar yr. Those numbers can even depend upon demand for the Polestar 2 and different fashions which are constructed in the identical manufacturing facility.
Polestar additionally isn’t offering the actual quantity of reservations till it begins deliveries, that are supposed to begin this summer season in Europe, adopted by China and North America. It was confirmed to TechCrunch that reservations are in the “five digits.”
The Polestar 2, which was first revealed in February 2019, has been positioned by the firm to go up in opposition to Tesla Model three. (The firm’s first car, the Polestar 1, is a plug-in hybrid with two electrical motors powered by three 34-kilowatt-hour battery packs and a turbo and supercharged fuel inline four up entrance.)
But it would seemingly face off in opposition to different rivals launching new EVs in 2020 and 2021, together with Volkswagen, GM, Ford and startups Lucid Motors and even adventure-focused Rivian.
Polestar is hoping prospects are interested in the tech and the efficiency of the fastback, which produces 408 horsepower, 487 pound ft of torque and has a 78 kWh battery pack that delivers an estimated vary of 292 miles beneath Europe’s WLTP.
The Polestar 2’s infotainment system will likely be powered by Android OS and, because of this, deliver into the automobile embedded Google companies equivalent to Google Assistant, Google Maps and the Google Play Store. This shouldn’t be confused with Android Auto, which is a secondary interface that lies on high of an working system. Android OS is modeled after its open-source cell working system that runs on Linux. But as a substitute of operating smartphones and tablets, Google modified it so it could possibly be used in automobiles.