The Good Oil: Strange history and cool future of Polestar
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Think car companies are slow to make the transition to zero-emissions products? Polestar has gone from high-octane racing specialist to maker of premium Electric Vehicles (EVs) in less than a decade.
It’s happened so fast, many are still confused about exactly what Polestar is. So here’s the very short version.
Its origins lie in the Flash Engineering racing team, founded in 1996 by Jan “Flash” Nilsson, which ran Volvos with factory support. The company was sold to Christian Dahl in 2005 and rebranded Polestar, running Volvos in various global series including 2.0 Super Touring and V8 Supercars in Australasia (above), the latter with Garry Rogers Motorsport from 2014-18.
From 2009, Polestar also became the official partner for Volvo performance road cars, creating the Polestar C30 Performance Concept Prototype in 2010, production models of the S60/V60 Polestar in 2013 and a range of enhancement components.
Volvo purchased Polestar outright in 2015 and the motorsport team (still owned by Dahl) changed its name to Cyan Racing, after the iconic blue featured on many Polestar Volvos.
That left Volvo free to re-establish Polestar as a new company focusing on EVs, in partnership with parent company Geely. Its first production car was the Polestar 1 Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), a low-volume coupe that was launched in 2017 and finished production late last year, after 500 examples were built. It was the first and last PHEV from Polestar; the company says all future models will be Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs).
The latest is the Polestar 2, a mainstream hatch/SUV to rival the Tesla Model 3. The Polestar 3 SUV will be launched this year and future models will include a luxury sedan derived from the Precept concept car (above), which was shown in early 2020.
Polestar has also stated an ambitious aim of creating a truly climate-neutral car – one that does not rely on any carbon offsets – by 2030.