“People would rather go to the doctor than go through the car buying process,” Greg Hembrough, the head of Polestar North America, tells Robb Report as we survey the startup’s latest release, the Polestar 2 at the Geneva Motor Show. “Our market research shows that. We also learned that consumers used to visit an average of 14 dealers back in 1995, doing about four hours of research before they went. Now? They do 14 hours of research on their own and visit 1.2 dealers.” That inversion shows a clear disdain for the conventional way of car buying, and Hembrough and Polestar decided to tip into the trend by removing traditional friction points and digitizing how you buy a Polestar.
While traditional retailers will still be used, potential customers are encouraged to pursue the brand’s website, use the car configurator, choose their vehicle, and even make deposits. “You’ll still visit a retailer to validate the color you want, but there’ll be no inventory. You won’t walk in and select something from the lot,” Hembrough says, noting even at the dealer, you’ll use a kiosk and it’ll be an environment free of hassles—and haggling. “Pricing has become transparent in the U.S. marketplace, so consumers know what they want to pay for the car and dealers are pliable to those demands. So it really comes down to if you’re offered the car at this price, will you take it?” If so, your new wheels will be in your driveway within weeks.
Your current Polestar options are the 1, a 600-horsepower hybrid grand tourer that gets some 75-80 miles from its electric engine alone, the longest range of any hybrid (though the EPA is still confirming the numbers), and the newly launched 2, a full battery-electric vehicle that should make the likes of Tesla Model 3 product managers quake in their shoes. The 2 has 150 kW fast charging capabilities, and a purported 275 miles of range, putting it ahead of the likes of the Telsa Model 3 Standard range, and the new Audi E-tron, both of which clock in around 220 miles.
The kicker is the price, which is about $63,000 for a fully loaded spec, plus you get a $7,500 tax break from the government. While that may be above the Tesla, it’s far more luxurious, and it’s situated below the E-tron’s $75,000 fully loaded variant. Final charge time to 80 percent has yet to be announced but expect it to clock in around 40 minutes or less.