Currently reading: Volvo sub-brand Polestar to make high-performance electric vehicles
The Volvo XC90 and new XC60 are both likely to get electric Polestar treatment; first model to be shown later this year

Volvo will reinvent Polestar as a maker of high-performance electric cars, with the first model likely to be previewed later this year.

Polestar was acquired outright by Volvo in 2015, but before then it had long been known as a maker of powered-up Volvos and involved in racing Volvos. 

Now Volvo is poised to reinvent Polestar as maker solely of plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles, Volvo boss Hakan Samuelsson told Autocar, with SUVs such as the new Volvo XC60 the most likely candidates for the Polestar treatment. 

“We bought Polestar, and we now see Polestar as focused on ‘progressive premiumness’ and electrification,” he said on the eve of the Geneva motor show. Progressive premiumness, Samuelsson said, meant that Volvo was looking ahead to what people thought would be a premium performance car in five years time, and that would be electric-powered.

He said Polestar “would not be a high-performance petrol brand or model”, and would “move from petrol to electric”. He said electric meant “both plug-in hybrid and pure electric”, and Polestar models would be used to introduce new electric and connected technology that would be filtered down through the rest of the Volvo range.

Samuelsson said that Volvo was looking at a Formula E entry though Polestar to back up the brand’s electric credentials. 

He said that Polestar would remain a sub-brand of Volvo and would not be spun off into its own brand as Mercedes-Benz is doing with AMG.

Volvo is committed to launching its own electric model in 2019 with a range in excess of 310 miles. It will be a version of an existing model rather than an all-new car, most likely the XC60 or Volvo XC90 SUVs, before the technology is offered across the rest of its range. It hopes to have sold one million plug-in hybrid and electric cars by 2025.

Volvo is also on track to hit its sales target of 800,000 units by 2020, according to Samuelsson, and to that end significant growth will be provided by the launch of the new XC60 and smaller XC40 models later this year. The S60 and V60 replacements will be in production by mid-2018, before a replacement for the V40 is launched and Volvo will then consider further additions to the 40-series family.

SUVs currently account for just over 50% of Volvo sales, but that is set to increase significantly with the launch of the all-new XC60 at Geneva, and the XC40 by the end of the year.


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Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

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