Polestar 3 & Polestar 4 EVs could offer Level 4 Autonomous driving [Update]

Volvo Car Group and Zhejiang Geely Holding’s electric performance car brand Polestar sounds excited about launching the Polestar 3 electric SUV and the production Polestar Precept grand tourer. The company mentions the two upcoming models in every recent press announcement footer. The auto media expects the company to name the Polestar Precept-derived model ‘Polestar 4,’ and rightly so.

In the future, the Polestar 3 electric performance SUV will join the portfolio, as well as the Precept – a design study vehicle released in 2020 that is slated for future production. Precept showcases the brand’s future vision in terms of sustainability, digital technology and design.

Volvo Cars, on its new product plans

In 2020, a report from carmagazine.co.uk had revealed several details about the Polestar 3 and Polestar 4 projects. The next models have not only Tesla products but Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz models in their sight. To stay ahead of the competition, the company may equip upcoming models with high-end technology features, including but not limited to Level 4 autonomous driving.

Polestar 3 SUV

The Polestar 3, the brand’s third model, will be an electric SUV carrying the design philosophy previewed by the Polestar Precept concept. It will go up against the likes of Audi e-tron, BMW iX, and Tesla Model X. As for the pricing, Thomas Ingelath, CEO, Polestar, has indicated that the Polestar 3 will slot between the Polestar 2 and the Polestar 1, hinting at a sub-100,000 EUR positioning for the full variant range.

Polestar 3 teaser
The Polestar 3 is “an aerodynamic electric performance SUV,” says Polestar. Image Source: Polestar

Design

Formally, Polestar has said nothing about the Polestar 3’s design except for a teaser. The picture suggests a sleek and highly aerodynamic silhouette with a low height and a high rear deck.

Polestar’s Head of Design, Max Missoni, has spoken of the brand’s next model being an aerodynamic performance SUV. The Polestar 3 electric SUV will feature the split Thor’s hammer headlamp design and a rear tail light bar that measures the car’s width.

According to a story from fastcompany.com, Ingenlath has indicated that the company plans drive itself further away from Volvo Car’s design DNA with the Polestar 3 and Polestar 4. The Polestar 1 and Polestar 2 originated as Volvo concepts (Volvo Concept Coupe and Volvo Concept 40.2, respectively), but the upcoming models could be the first Polestars to incorporate a new design philosophy created in-house.

Interior

As for the interior, the 15-inch portrait-oriented infotainment system from the concept and a 12.5-inch digital instrument cluster is expected as the talking points of the Polestar 3. The infotainment system will also run Google’s Android software out of the factory.

The Polestar 2 became the world’s first car to feature an Android Automotive OS-powered infotainment system when it arrived in February 2019. The Polestar 3 and Polestar 4 will follow suit. Polestar will build Google apps and services like Google Play, Google Assistant (enabled by the “Hey Google” prompt), and Google Maps into the infotainment system. Customers will be able to download various apps built by Google, Polestar, and third-party developers directly to the vehicle.

In May 2021, Polestar released a new Polestar video app (in beta version) for the Polestar 2 that allows customers to stream feeds from SVT (Sweden), TV2 (Norway), GoPlay (Belgium), RTBF (Belgium), BBC Ideas (Europe), Al Jazeera (English), and tagesschau (Europe). The company will add more market-specific feeds over time, and in all likeliness, it should offer this video app in the Polestar 3 and Polestar 4’s Android infotainment systems. Drivers can use the Polestar video app only while the car is parked or charging. However, the audio streaming can be continued on the go, in the background.

Platform & Autonomous Driving

Sitting on Volvo’s SPA2 platform, the Polestar 3 will have a coupe-SUV shape and would be similar to the next-gen Volvo XC90 in size. The range is likely to be more than 500 km in a single charge (WLTP cycle), and the Polestar 3 will get an all-wheel-drive layout with performance-oriented acceleration figures. We doubt if the current 78 kWh battery pack would meet Polestar 3’s requirements, so expect a 90-100 kWh battery to be utilized.

The next-gen Volvo XC90 is expected to approach Level 4 autonomous driving, and the Polestar 3 could also benefit from its highly advanced automated drive systems. ‘Highway Pilot’ is Volvo’s upcoming autonomous driving feature. SPA2 platform vehicles will be hardware-ready for autonomous drive right from the start, and the hands-free functions will be activated when the time is right, Volvo Cars said in April 2021.

Level 3 autonomous driving capability should be available right from the initial phase. The Polestar 4, detailed below, should build on these high-tech driving assistants when it arrives closer to mid-decade.

Manufacturing

Polestar has announced the Volvo Cars South Carolina factory as the production site of the forthcoming Polestar 3. Located in Ridgeville, Berkeley County, the first US plant of Volvo Cars currently manufactures only the Mk3 Volvo S60, and it will start rolling out the Polestar 3 in 2022. This facility is going to produce the next generation XC90 also from around 2022, though.

Polestar hasn’t confirmed whether the Volvo Cars South Carolina factory will be the exclusive producer of the Polestar 3. The American units may go to every market worldwide, except for China, through the Port of Charleston. Polestar could source the Polestar 3 for sale in China from a local factory to price it more affordably. There are rumours of a new plant with an annual production capacity of 30,000 units, located in Chongqing.

Polestar 4

The Polestar 4, earlier believed to be the production Polestar Precept concept, will also be an SUV coupe. New teasers Polestar has released suggest that it would be smaller and thus cheaper than the Polestar 3. That speculation matches the brand’s nomenclature, too, in which higher-end models get a lower numeric name and vice-versa.

The Polestar 4 will be a high-riding alternative to the Polestar 2, a mid-size SUV coupe that rivals the likes of Model Y and Q4 Sportback e-tron. Polestar has confirmed that it will sit on Geely’s PMA platform, not Volvo’s SPA2 platform. Geely has rebranded the PMA platform to SEA now. SEA is an open-source platform, and the Zeekr 001 is the first model based on it. Citing Ingelath, a report from Auto Express suggests that the Polestar 4 will cost around EUR 45,000.

Production of the Polestar 4 will take place at a new factory in Hangzhou Bay, China, from the end of 2023. This plant will have an annual production capacity of 240,000 cars. Polestar expects to increase annual sales to 225,000 units, with 110,000 units coming from the two SUV coupes (3 and 4).

Polestar Digital Key & video streaming app

The Polestar 3 and Polestar 4 will come with Polestar Digital Key, which allows owners to use their connected smartphone as an alternative to the key fob. Multiple Bluetooth sensors in and around the vehicle would communicate with the paired smartphone for the digital key functions. These models are likely to come with a video streaming app built into their infotainment systems as well. Owners can relax and watch TV shows and movies while taking a break during long journeys or when the vehicle is plugged in at a charging station.

Polestar 5 teased

Polestar plans to go public following a merger with Gores Guggenheim, a special purpose acquisition company of the affiliates of The Gores Group and Guggenheim Capital. The new company formed as a result of the merger, which is likely to happen in H1 2022, will be called Polestar Automotive UK Limited, and Polestar expects a list of it on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “PSNY.” This deal will value Polestar at approximately USD 20 billion.

Along with the announcement of the merger and public listing, Polestar has dropped two new teasers of its future line-up. The company has said that it will launch three new models, including the Polestar 3, by 2024. The fifth Polestar model, called Polestar 5, will be a low-riding car, not an SUV. It will be the production Polestar Precept, and thus a grand tourer.

Polestar 5 will compete with models like the Nio ET7, Audi e-tron GT, and Porsche Taycan. The company’s R&D centre at the MIRA Technology Park in the UK will be responsible for this all-electric grand tourer’s development.

Polestar 4 prototype side profile
Development of the Polestar 4 will take place in the UK. Image Source: Polestar

Polestar has released a picture of a prototype of the 5, giving a preview of its design features. The car has a dynamic roofline that drops sharply toward the rear and flat rear glass. While we can’t say if it’s wide yet, the car meets one of the basic requirements of being a true gran truismo model with a flat silhouette. The low and taut greenhouse and flush door handles add to the car’s highly aerodynamic and stylish character.

Video: Youtube.com/Polestar

Polestar raises half a billion dollars

In April 2021, Polestar had raised USD 0.55 billion from private investors. This is the first time that external investors backed the performance EV company, thanks to the strong growth of the global EV market. Chongqing Chengxing Equity Investment Fund Partnership, Zibo Financial Holding, Zibo Hightech Industrial Investment, and South Korea’s SK Inc. that is well-known in the EV industry due to its subsidiary SK Innovation had invested in Polestar. The new investments should accelerate the development of future products and speed up the brand’s market expansion.

New markets

The Polestar 3 and Polestar 4 will likely be available in 30 markets worldwide, if not more, including North America. At the beginning of the year, Polestar announced plans to enter Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and Hong Kong and expand its availability to 18 countries worldwide by the end of 2021. Later, on 6 September 2021, the company announced that it plans to enter 12 additional markets and increase its presence to 30 countries by the end of 2022.

Polestar will still stay at its premium price point. Although it is expanding its markets and also introducing new products, it won’t go below the EUR 40,000/USD 35,000 segment. Ingelath said that Polestar won’t be as mass-market as Tesla and that “the Polestar 2, and single-motor variant” will remain its base offering. For reference, the Polestar 2 costs EUR 41,930 onwards in Germany, and in the U.S., where it is available in only AWD, it costs USD 59,900 onwards.

Polestar 4 FAQs

What is the Polestar 4 release date?

The Polestar 4 could be launched in 2023, a year after the Polestar 3.

Which EVs will be the Polestar 4 rivals?

The Polestar 4 should compete with the likes of Audi e-tron GT and Porsche Taycan.

What is the expected price of the Polestar 4?

Expect the price of the Polestar 4 to begin around the EUR 90,000 (USD 107,000) mark.

The featured image is the unofficial Polestar 7 Concept by automotive designer Dan Paduraru via Behance.net