Polestar Is Trying To Be Smart About This

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Photo: Polestar

In recent weeks, it’s been all the rage among electric vehicle makers to replicate, try to replicate, or think about trying to replicate, Tesla’s strategy of using investment from Wall Street to fund the development of products that don’t yet exist. Not Polestar, though.

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Polestar, instead, has pursued pretty much the opposite of that strategy. Owned by Geely, Polestar has eschewed big expectations at every step of the way, even as it makes a product—the Polestar 2—that is a direct competitor to the Tesla Model 3 Performance. Polestar has also seemed determined to stick with its slow-and-steady tack, much like its sister company Volvo has pursued over the years.

And according to a report today, even with all of this money flying around to a company like Nikola and possibly soon to a company like Fisker and maybe (probably not) to a GM electric vehicle spinoff, Polestar says it isn’t tempted in the least.

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Per Reuters:

Polestar’s top executive said the focus now is on a successful launch of Polestar 2, dismissing a point made that other EV makers like Nikola Corp. and Fisker Inc. have gone public or announced plans to do so without having launched a vehicle.

“It’s not about the short-term thinking. We have a long-term ambition,” [CEO Thomas Ingenlath] said. “Let’s see where we are in a year’s time.”

Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson had said in 2019 that Polestar would go public at some point, giving reporters a leg to stand on with the question. Still, the comparison with Polestar and Nikola and Fisker isn’t quite right, though a comparison with GM’s electric operations is a bit closer. That’s because for now Polestar and GM’s electric operations have the backing of the deep-pocketed corporations they are apart of and both have electric cars in production, while Nikola and Fisker need to go fishing for cash to fund cars that don’t even quite exist yet.

Each is its own form of gambling—two of them not the safest bets in the world and two of them really, really not the safest bets in the world—but what I like about Polestar is that it’s also not trying to convince you of anything otherwise. And it’s seemingly been given the space and the low-expectations to maybe do it right.

Polestar will sell the Polestar 2 in China, Europe and the United States and the company is targeting annual sales of more than 50,000 within two to three years, he said.

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Tesla sold about 300,000 Model 3s globally in 2019, making 50,000 Polestars a pretty modest goal indeed. And while the value proposition of a Model 3 vis-à-vis Polestar 2 tilts somewhat in the Model 3's direction, it’s close enough, and I would believe that Polestar could pull off that sales goal in two to three years’ time. Certainly much more than I would believe anything about Nikola and Fisker, two companies that, if they are anything like their role models Tesla, will spend every moment of their lives on the brink.

News Editor at Jalopnik. 2008 Honda Fit Sport.

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DISCUSSION

Will they go public? Pretty sure China kind of requires their long standing companies to retain control. So even if they do it would only be 49% of the shares at best. So they most likely can’t go public like that even if they wanted to.

That said, they have far more chances to succeed than Nikola or Fisker. And their approach of a separate brand will help in some regards as it creates less conflict and boggles them down with less headaches. I wouldn’t call the polestar a model 3 competitor since its 1 size class smaller, but its still a decent enough offering in its own.

I mean despite Nikola and Fisker and others like Faraway future trying to replicate Tesla. They are following a completely different strategy than Tesla did. If anything, Tesla has followed a similar strategy as Ford did when it started up. And so far, the strategies these companies trying to mimic Tesla but aren’t really are following strategies that have generally failed.