I’m here in Shanghai, marveling at all the bewildering makes of cars (what’s the one with the starfish badge? The horse head? The one that looks like the Starfleet insignia? More on that soon!) and scrutinizing the Polestar 1 in more detail. Here are the biggest questions I have and the best answers I got from the designers, engineers, and executives I spoke with to get more information about the striking-looking hybrid GT.

I got a mix of answers, honest admissions of ignorance, and the default carmaker mantra of “we can’t comment on future products or plans” from them, though I’d tried my best.

Let’s get started!

How much will the monthly subscription be?

Nobody knows. I’m told they’re figuring it out now, but it’s complicated, as they’re factoring in insurance, maintenance, concierge services, market tolerance, and all that. No one would even venture a ballpark figure.

If you managed to get Polestar to sell you one, how much would it cost? 

Polestar COO John Goodman made an offhand remark about this, saying, “If someone wants to give us $100-X-thousand dollars, we’ll find a way.” So, based on this, we can see that Polestar values the car at something around $100,000. Given the nature of the car, this isn’t too surprising.

How will the 500 cars per year be distributed?

It’s not decided, but it looks like 100 to America, 100 to Europe, and 300 to China. There’s only six countries that will get the Polestar 1: China, the United States, Sweden, Norway, Germany, and the Netherlands. There’s no plans for a right-hand-drive version.

Is Volvo planning on developing their own charging network for when the all-electric Polestars are released?


Do I think Volvo just hoping someone will come up with a good charging network in time is a good idea?


They say the Polestar brand will “appeal to the automotive aficionado.” What’s that mean for autonomy?

The Polestar 2 (the likely Tesla Model 3 competitor) will have Volvo’s semi-autonomous technology, but the Polestar 1 is more of a driver’s car. That’s good to hear!

What parts of the Polestar 1's design most reminds the lead exterior designer of a Volvo P1800?

The way the door handle blends into the rear fender crease, like the P1800's door handle blended into the chrome fender trim. Also, the greenhouse shape.

Wouldn’t it be cool if the rear quarter window retracted down so the car would be a true, pillar-less hardtop convertible?

Yes. The designers told me they talked about that a lot, but they couldn’t pull it off.

Is the lead exterior designer excited that he’s in the running for a 2018 Markie award for Excellence in Side Marker Light design?

Are you kidding? Of course he is. I’ll have much more about this soon.

Are there any egregious fake vents on the Polestar 1?

Surprisingly, no. They all seem to actually do something.

What transmission does the 2-liter gasoline engine use?

Volvo’s 8-speed automatic. The rear electric motors use a planetary transmission.

What did the drivetrain engineer say when I asked about the ability to relocate the battery packs on this platform?

“I can’t comment on that.”

What did the drivetrain engineer say when I asked about using the torque vectoring to do things like help with parallel parking and other rear-steering assist tasks?

“I can’t comment on that.”

What did the drivetrain engineer say when I asked if he liked Torx screws?

“I can’t comment on that.”

What’s the deal with the little glowing star that’s reflected in the glass roof?

It’s just sort of cool.

What’s the purpose of the exposed panel showing those orange cables in the trunk other than looking cool?

They help explain why the trunk is so strangely shallow. But the rear seatback folds into a luggage platform, so that helps a bit.

Can an actual adult human fit in the back seat?

No. But I could.

What was the response when asked if the half-vinyl top version would have Landau bars or opera lights?

A quick, harsh slap, followed by a whispered “I never liked you.”