Volvo Launches Polestar High-performance Hybrid

Volvo High Performance HybridVolvo has launched their high-performance hybrid, the Polestar–and it’s clear that the Swedish automaker is aiming their vehicle directly at Tesla’s marketshare.

The first Polestar is a high performance, luxury hybrid that will have both an electric motor and take traditional fuel. However, future models are slated to be all-electric, much like the existing Tesla.

Volvo is working with Chinese owner Geely Automobile Holdings to invest over 640 million Euros in the new venture. They’ll also be utilizing production plants in China, including a new factory in the city of Chengdu. Though this choice may seem surprising, Volvo says that it will dramatically shorten the time it takes to bring the Polestar to market. Of course, China is a big part of the push for all-electric vehicles, and Volvo’s choice here underscores this fact.

The first Polestar to hit the market will be the Polestar 1, a high-performance hybrid, with a gasoline engine powering the front wheels and two electric motors driving the rear. The electric-only range is promised to reach 150 km, with the vehicle boasting a total output of 600 hp. It will go into production in 2019, after the completion of the Chengdu factory.

However, the Polestar 1 will not be available to consumers via standard purchase. It will be built in the small numbers that befit a luxury brand and will be available only by subscription. Here’s how Volvo describes the process: “Cars will be ordered 100% online and offered on a two or three year subscription basis. The zero-deposit, all-inclusive subscription will also add features such as pick-up and delivery servicing and the ability to rent alternative vehicles within the Volvo and Polestar range, all incorporated into one monthly payment.”

While Tesla does have a few traditional dealerships, prospective buyers are able to design and order the car online, an experience which many have found superior to traditional car buying. By taking online orders for their Polestar 1, and tying the buying process to a new phone app, Volvo is making it clear they’re after Tesla’s core audience of drivers.

Purchase of a Polestar 1 subscription is already available.