Polestar is the anti-Tesla. It’s obvious that Polestar wants to do things differently, and ultimately in a way it says is better. Maybe not better at making money, but better at making a difference. Now Polestar’s CEO, Thomas Ingenlath, is again directing his ire and criticism at the posers in the industry.
During a speech at the Shanghai auto show, Ingenlath went after EV wannabes that have yet to bring a car to market, but somehow have incredibly high market valuations.
“It frankly amazes me that there are companies out there that are worth billions of dollars and have never made a car. I would like to today state clearly that the electric mobility revolution needs to be grounded in reality, not dreams,
Really, Ingenlath just said aloud what many of us are already thinking: How are these EV vaporware peddlers worth so damn much? And why?
Think of companies like Lordstown and Rivian, or Nikola and Fisker, who’ve yet to revolutionize their segments. If you want to revolutionize the auto industry, you kind of need a car produced at scale to do it.
And that’s what Ingenlath is saying. The industry’s electrification has a lot at stake. These companies should ready their assembly lines. Ingenlath went on saying as much:
“What is at stake here is not how much financiers think a company is worth, but the chance to revolutionize the auto industry, turn it electric and at the same time make a huge contribution to protecting the climate. Put against these important themes, a market valuation is a very insubstantial and meaningless marker of success,”
He concluded his speech by outlining what he sees as the real growth of the segment, which is widespread adoption and the reduction of CO2 emissions:
“Of course. we want to talk about growth. But by that I do not mean growth in investment levels, valuations or price-to-earnings multiples. I mean real growth. Growth in consumers switching to EVs and growth in harmful emissions being eradicated.”
I will point out, though, that the biggest hurdle for “consumers switching to EVs” is less about the tech and more about price points. That’s not to ignore that people are wary about the nascent segment, but things like range anxiety will diminish as EV ownership proliferates along with EV infrastructure.
More important than that is the cost of buying an EV in the first place. Never mind the lower maintenance and running costs of battery electrics. Bottom line is people will buy an ICE car before an electric because it’s cheaper to do so today.
If an EV maker went below the $30,000 point, drivers would be more open to the idea of an EV in their garage. I know I would! Price point is not Polestar’s forte, though. Not with halo cars like this (admittedly a hybrid rather than an EV), which costs nearly $200,000:
Polestar cars are undeniably awesome. The company has good designs and a great ethos. I mean, who doesn’t want an EV version of Volvo’s gorgeous S90? But Polestar is far from its own goal. We need more EVs on our roads, and right now that means cheap EVs in every carmaker’s lineup.