Munich The auto industry has seen plenty of start-ups in recent years. While pioneering electronics Tesla The US company Faraday Future and the Chinese company have established themselves on the market Nio at best mixed results. At the end of June, the newcomer Byton announced that it would suspend its manageable production for half a year. Now comes Polestar – one of the most interesting start-ups in the industry. This is also due to the prominent parent company: Polestar is a Volvo– Offshoot, which in turn is Chinese GeelyCorporation belongs.
At the start of 2017, a hybrid sports car was presented, of which no more than 500 were built each year. Now the brand is growing up and going into mass business. “The Polestar 2 is a premium electric car in the category BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class or Audi A4 ”, says brand boss Thomas Ingenlath in an interview with the Handelsblatt.
At the end of June, the first shipload from the Volvo factory in China arrived in Zeebrugge, Belgium. The first hundred vehicles go exclusively to Sweden and Norway, after which Germany in particular is supplied.
“The demand is there. We have several thousand pre-orders. Now it’s about building a real business, ”says Ingenlath. “The funding package in Germany for electromobility is now very attractive. Germany will certainly be one of our most important markets. ”
This is mainly due to the electrical subsidies generously awarded by the Federal Government, which make it possible to offer the class limousine with an output of 408 hp and a range of 500 kilometers for just under 50,000 euros. Here Polestar competes primarily with the Tesla Model 3.
The German competition in this segment has so far been rather bare: Mercedes and Audi designed their first electric cars as larger SUVs. BMW will not be launching its i4 electric sedan until 2021. Polestar is therefore confidently going to work. “We believe that worldwide sales of 50,000 cars will be realistic over the next two years,” says Ingenlath.
“Polestar Spaces” also in Germany
The fact that Polestar can appear globally very quickly is due to the constellation of the parent company. Volvo and Geely operate a joint development center in Gothenburg, with production in Europe and China. The once-victorious traditional brand Volvo is technically placed on a completely new basis.
The former Volvo tuning subsidiary Polestar was spun off in 2017. As the spearhead of electromobility, the brand is said to appear significantly cooler and sportier than the occasionally somewhat staid mother brand Volvo.
Similar to Tesla, Polestar wants to get by without a large dealer network and address customers primarily through a combination of inner-city showrooms and online sales. 50 “Polestar Spaces” are planned worldwide, seven of them in German cities such as Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Munich and Berlin. The investments are usually made by local Volvo dealers.
Ingenlath, who was once the chief designer at VWCorporation acted, keeps the brand cool inside and out Scandinavian. The color selection changes between black, gray and white. The operation of the electric car is also very easy: Polestar is the first car manufacturer in the world to rely fully on the Android system from Google.
“From the customer’s point of view, Android has huge operating advantages; the voice assistant alone is unmatched in the automotive industry,” enthuses Ingenlath. “Google has more data than any other company. They can improve voice assistants or cards much faster than we can. We know that because we have tried it for years in the auto industry, ”says the Polestar boss.
Trust in the partner Google
He has no worries about data security. As with a mobile phone, every customer can decide which data to share. “From our point of view, the data in the Polestar is safe, and it cannot be used as a bogus.”
Trust in the partner Google and its parent company Alphabet is big in Sweden. The Volvo Car Group including Polestar entered into a strategic partnership with Waymo at the end of June. The Google sister is working on an operating system for autonomously driving cars. Volvo and Waymo now want to work together exclusively on the so-called stage four of autonomous driving with the aim of building up Robotaxi fleets.
“Self-driving vehicles have the potential to raise traffic safety to an unprecedented level and to revolutionize the way people live, work and travel,” says Volvo chief engineer Henrik Green. “Our global partnership with Waymo opens up new and exciting business opportunities.”
The German auto industry has so far strictly rejected cooperation with Google and Waymo. In Wolfsburg, Munich and Stuttgart, there is a fear of becoming a junior partner if you go with the California Internet giant.
Polestar boss Ingenlath sees it differently: “The next ten years in the auto industry will be very innovation-driven. But there will be other innovations than before. Even if the awareness of mobility services and autonomous driving is waning a little bit, in the background these technologies are in the offing. ”
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