Volvo is lining up a series of high-performance hybrid models as part of a deal that sees the Swedish car maker taking full control of tuning specialist Polestar.
Volvo has confirmed that it has taken 100% ownership of the Gothenburg-based Polestar concern, which has its origins in the Swedish Touring Car Championship. The two parties have already collaborated on production cars, with Volvo expecting to sell around 750 examples of the V60 and S60 Polestar editions this year. The firm believes this figure will rise to between 1000 and 1500 cars per year “in the medium term”.
However, Volvo has also suggested that in the longer term Polestar’s development focus will shift to performance versions of its recently introduced hybrid powertrains. “Polestar will also in future utilise Volvo’s twin-engine electrification technology to develop next-generation performance cars,” the firm said in a statement.
That’s a reference to the plug-in hybrid systems in the latest Volvo XC90, which combine a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor for a combined output of 395bhp in the T8 model. It’s likely that Polestar will take a similar set-up but retune it for higher performance, perhaps at the expense of some of the system’s electric-only range, or use the powertrain in its existing form in smaller vehicles that will follow on the XC90’s Scalable Product Architecture platform. The next S60, due by the start of 2017, would be an ideal candidate.
“All of the latest Drive-E engines can be paired with electric motors,” said a Volvo spokesperson. “For example, the XC90’s T8 set-up is the T6 engine with an electric motor added. The T6 motor can stand alone, but it’s likely that in the interests of power Polestar would look to have the additional boost that an electric motor can bring.”
Volvo has declined to reveal how much it has paid for Polestar. All of the firm’s employees will switch to Volvo, although Polestar’s racing arm will be rebranded and remain under the control of its current boss, Christian Dahl. In addition to bespoke models, the takeover will allow Polestar performance kits to be sold to existing customers.
“Driving a Volvo Polestar is a special experience,” said Hakan Samuelsson, Volvo’s president and CEO. “We have decided to bring this experience to more Volvo drivers, placing the full resources of Volvo behind the development of Polestar as the model name for our high-performance cars.”
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