The Polestar 2 began production in China in March, with a planned release here in the U.S. by late summer, Polestar said today. The company also revealed its price in the States after saying in October it would start around $65,000 in Europe.
Here that number is $59,900, or just under the $60,000 threshold New York and California have set for electric car buyers to get a $2,000 rebate. Polestar’s previous estimate for the U.S. price was $63,000, though moving it to $59,900 means that in theory buyers in those two states can get a discount of up to $9,500, including the $7,500 federal tax credit, leaving the total price at $50,400.
The Polestar 2 also has options:
Polestar also announces option pricing for the Polestar 2 as follows:
• Performance Pack: $5,000
• Nappa Leather Interior: $4,000
• 20-Inch Alloy Wheels: $1,200
• Metallic Paint Colors: $1,200
All of that makes it ... somewhat competitive with the Tesla Model 3, and fairly competitive with the Model 3 Performance. The Model 3 starts at $35,000, but usually ends up getting sold for more than that. A quick search of inventory within 200 miles of me, for example, reveals the cheapest to be $39,990, but that car doesn’t come with all of Tesla’s Autopilot features or its performance package.
The cheapest Model 3 Performance I can find near me is $56,990, while the Polestar 2 with the Performance Pack would be $57,400, including the federal tax credit. (Tesla buyers no longer qualify for the federal tax credit but both cars would be eligible for most state incentives, a decent state-by-state breakdown of which Tesla has here.)
In terms of performance, the Model 3 Performance is the slightly more powerful car, making 450 horsepower to Polestar 2's 408 horsepower, and it also has better range, an EPA-rated 299 miles compared to 275 miles on the Polestar 2, but both of those numbers aren’t significantly better.
Inside, the Model 3 has that giant screen, of course, while Polestar is trumpeting their infotainment system as the first in the world to be powered by Android, which means it’ll have Google Maps and the Google Assistant on a screen of its own. Polestar’s semiautonomous features also do not have the capabilities of Tesla’s Autopilot, but in Polestar’s case (and Volvo’s by extension) that is very much deliberate.
One feature exclusive to the Polestar 2 with the Performance Pack? Golden seatbelts:
On paper, then, the Model 3 Performance seems like the slightly better car, and maybe even slightly cheaper depending on where you live. More intangibly, though, the Polestar 2 is objectively cooler, being a product of Volvo’s performance division and the newer thing. It will also be far less common on the roads, since Tesla sold around 300,000 Model 3's last year alone.
But that also shows there’s a market for this kind of car. The question is how much Polestar can get in on it.