Polestar is the new kid on the EV block in Australia and has flashed onto the scene with the chic Polestar 2. Once upon a time Polestar was the performance arm of Volvo, but now it is a stand-alone brand that exclusively builds electric vehicles that are made in China.
Polestar has big plans in the EV sphere and are looking broadly for new and interesting ways to continually improve their sustainability credentials. The Swedish electric car brand was recently the main partner at the 2022 Global Fashion Summit, the leading international forum for sustainability in fashion. The Summit brought together members of the fashion industry, policy makers and stakeholders from a range of industries. Polestar was the only automotive brand involved in the event, participating with the aim of finding new partners to join the Polestar 0 project – its ‘moonshot goal’ to create a truly climate neutral car by 2030 (without relying on off-setting). Key to achieving this is innovation in textiles, an area Polestar believes the fashion industry is spearheading.
In order to measure the progress towards these emission goals Polestar has undertaken and published the Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) or carbon footprint of the Polestar 2. The carbon footprint includes emissions from upstream supplier activities, manufacturing and logistics, use phase (200,000km) of the vehicle and the end-of-life phase. LCAs are incredibility complex calculations and Polestar have used the ISO LCA standards, in addition to the “Product Life Cycle Accounting and Reporting Standard” published by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol for guidance in methodological choices.
The carbon footprint for the Polestar 2 is 50-27 tonne CO₂e for the “Long range Dual motor”, 46-26 tonne CO₂e for the “Long range Single motor”, and 45-25 tonne CO₂e for “Standard range Single motor”. The variation in results is caused by differences in electricity mix scenarios, where the highest value reflects that a global electricity mix is used in the vehicle use phase while the lowest value reflects that wind power is used. Consumers can you this information to compare vehicles made by other car manufacturers, but due to the variability of LCA calculations this may not be comparing apples to apples.
The Polestar 2 sedan starts at just under $70k drive away, but I recently drove a fully loaded Polestar 2 with the long-range dual motor ($9,500), Pilot lite pack ($3,400), Plus pack ($6,000) and Performance pack ($8,000) and considering the features each of these Packs contain, I think you would want to have them all as well. As tested the Drive away price for the Polestar 2 I drove was $101,719.76 in NSW. This also includes 5-year unlimited kilometre manufacturer warranty, 5-year roadside assistance and a 5-year/100,000km service plan.
The long-range dual variant has a motor on the front and rear axle with a combined power output of 300 kW and 660 Nm of torque with only a single drive mode that has adjustable one pedal drive (regenerative braking). This Polestar 2 has 78kWh of the battery and a claimed range of 455 – 487 km (WLTP) and electric energy consumption of ~19.3 kWh/100km (WLTP). For my week I travelled 439km and used a total of 95.164kWh, giving me an electric consumption rate of 21.7kWh/100km or a real-world range of 360km. Interestingly this is all but identical data to the Volvo XC40 Pure Electric that I drove earlier in the year, which has a very similar drive line. Also, like Volvo Polestar recommends charging to only 90% to preserve battery life.
The charging port is located at the rear of the vehicle on the passenger side and a seven metre Mode 2, Type 1 cable for charging at home is included in the purchase price. The first time I went to use this cable it took a number of attempts before the charging successfully commenced. To indicate that charging is in progress the light next to the plug flashes green and the white light at the other end of the cable flashes also. When charging the driver’s dash surround lights up green and indicates when the charging will be complete. If you want faster charging at home you will need to pay for the installation of a wall box.
For longer trips the Polestar 2 comes standard with Google Maps and this displays the fast chargers available and gives you access to the latest real-time traffic and navigation information. If you link your Google account to your Polestar, you can plan ahead on your laptop or phone. All your searches and favourites appear automatically in the infotainment system. The Polestar 2 uses a CCS port for fast charging and can accept a maximum power input of 150 kW DC.
As soon as you get in the Polestar 2 the vehicle quietly starts without the need to press any buttons and the ‘key’ fob, that actually looks like a black plastic matchbox, can stay in your handbag. Having the Performance pack fitted meant my Polestar had Öhlins Dual Flow Valve adjustable shock absorbers, a Dynamic chassis and 20″ 4-Y Spoke Polished Forged Alloy Wheels with performance summer tyres and was good for a 0 to 100 km/h time of 4.7 seconds. The Performance Pack also includes gold Brembo four piston aluminium front calipers, drilled ventilated front discs and gold valve caps. Even with these larger diameter wheels fitted I found the Polestar 2 ride to be comfortable over Sydney’s bumpy roads. But some of these roads caused a resonance in the cabin that felt like it vibrated in my ears.
Via the vehicle settings the driver can select their preferred steering feel between light, standard or firm, the operation of the one pedal drive from off, low or standard and turn creep on or off. The digital driver’s dash is configurable and you can display range information or sat nav directions, for example. I didn’t like floor on the driver’s side because it was not flat and when I had adaptive cruise control engaged and brought my right leg back to rest, my knee was up high and it felt awkward.
The Plus Pack enhances the Polestar 2 interior with Harman Kardon Premium Sound, WeaveTech seats in Charcoal or Slate with Black Ash decor inlays, Fully electrical front seats including 4-way power lumbar support, driver seat memory, manual front cushion leg extension (the gold seat belts are part of the Performance Pack), Heated steering wheel and washer fluid wiper nozzles, High-level interior illumination and 15W inductive charging for smartphone in the cubby at the front of the centre console (two USB-C ports also located here). The fixed panoramic sunroof is also part of the Plus Pack, but there is no blind so in summer you may end up with a hot head. Though I did like the projected Polestar symbol that illuminated on the sunroof at night.
The large central infotainment screen is powered by Android Automotive OS with Google built-in (Google Assistant, Google Maps, Google Play) and also has Apple CarPlay and an Integrated e-SIM with internet connectivity Over-the-air (OTA) updates. You use the screen to access all functions of the vehicle including the climate controls, which I found to be a bit confusing. I couldn’t figure out whether I was turning something on or off, but I eventually worked out that if it was orange then that meant ‘On’. You can play the Polestar Space Warp game when stationary on the screen and this was of course a hit with my children, but I was better than them at it and got the high score for shooting down the fuel containers and toxic gas clouds.
It’s not all about the looks with the Polestar 2 there are also plenty of handy features in the cabin including a hook that flips out of the of the glove box that you can hang take away food bags on (2kg limit) and a ticket holder on the windscreen. The voice control is operated by pressing the button on the steering wheel that has a feminine-looking silhouette on it and worked well for me for setting a destination on the sat nav, making phone calls, but when I tried to change the radio station it would just say ‘you want to play radio’.
The rear seats had just enough leg room for me, but headroom was tight and I felt like I was sitting up high and annoyingly there is a high transmission tunnel with no mat over it. There are two ISOFIX/two rear tether child seat restraint points and the centre seat can fold down as an arm rest and has three cup holders at the front of it. Rear passengers get two central air vents with manual direction and on/off control and two USB-C ports below the air vents. In my Polestar 2 the rear seats were heated as well, thanks to the Plus pack.
The electric tailgate has handsfree opening and soft closing and can also be opened/closed from the button under the boot lid, on the key fob or in the button in the cabin. The boot is a good size and has a handy flip up section that compartmentalises the boot as well as four tie down points, two hooks, one 12V outlet and two lights. Under the boot floor there is storage for your power cable, while the tyre repair kit is located under the floor of the front boot, which has a 41-litre capacity. For extra storage space the rear seats have a 40:60 split fold mechanism or there is a ‘peek-a-boo door’ (my children’s name for it) in the central seat so a long item can be stowed while the two outer seats are in use.
All variants in the Polestar 2 range have a 5-star ANCAP (2021) safety rating and come with dual frontal, side chest-protecting and side head-protecting (curtain) airbags are standard. A centre airbag which provides added protection to front seat occupants in side impact crashes is also standard on all variants. The Adult Occupant Protection score is 92% (35.22 points out of 38) and a Child Occupant Protection score of 87% (43.03 points out of 49). For convenience you also get as standard auto LED headlights with active high beam and auto wipers, but one thing I did note was missing was a reversing bong to warn pedestrians that the vehicle was moving backwards.
ANCAP tests of the autonomous emergency braking (AEB) Car-to-Car system showed GOOD performance with collisions avoided or mitigated in all test scenarios, including AEB Junction Assist where the test vehicle can autonomously brake to avoid crashes when turning across the path of an oncoming vehicle or pedestrian. Overall, effectiveness of the AEB Car-to-Car system performance was rated as GOOD. ANCAP tests of lane support system functionality showed ADEQUATE performance overall, including in the remaining critical emergency lane keeping test scenarios. The overall ANCAP Safety Assist score for the Polestar 2 is 82%.
The Polestar 2 sold in Australia and New Zealand is available with an optional ‘Blind Spot Information System with Steer Assist.’ This system was tested by ANCAP, however as the system is optional, a score for emergency lane keep overtaking and blind spot monitoring was not awarded. These features are part of the Pilot lite Pack, which includes LED front fog lights with cornering function, automatically dimmed exterior mirrors, 360° camera with front and rear sensors, Pilot Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Emergency Stop Assist, Blind Spot Information System with steer assist, Cross Traffic Alert with brake support, Rear Collision Warning and Mitigation and Park Assist, sides.
The Polestar 2 may not be light years ahead of the current EV pack, but Polestar is engaging hyper-drive to blast towards achieving even more sustainable transport opportunities. To calculate the drive away price for your Polestar 2 and delivery date information visit the Polestar Australia website.
|Many charging locations are displayed on sat nav||Contouring of the driver’s side floor|
|The star projected on the sunroof||No blind on the panoramic sunroof|
|Comfortable ride quality||Resonance in the cabin|
Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.