Volvo’s former performance brand Polestar has just entered the race to electrification.
Volvo and Chinese parent company Geely unveiled the first model of its new Polestar electric brand, and announced a more than $750 million investment to develop the brand further.
It is the first step to developing high-performance electric cars that are aimed at some of the same customers targeted by makers such as Tesla.
The investment will go toward building a factory in Chengdu, China, for the new cars.
The first production car will be the Polestar 1, a hybrid 600-horsepower two-door, four-seater hybrid coupe, with just above 90 miles of pure electric range. This is the longest range of any hybrid on the market, Polestar said.
That car will go into production in 2019.
It will be followed soon by an all-electric car aptly named the Polestar 2.
Polestar does not plan to sell its cars according to the traditional model. Instead, customers will order their cars online and purchase zero-deposit all-inclusive subscriptions lasting two or three years, the company said. Subscriptions include pick up and delivery servicing and replacement rentals.
The company will also use phones as keys, and will allow customers to share the cars with others by sending virtual keys.
Polestar had previously been Volvo’s performance brand, which, like BMW‘s M or Mercedes’s AMG brands, built higher-speed versions of Volvo cars.
Earlier this year, Polestar was repositioned as a standalone electric high-performance brand, with a new badge distinct from the blue square that had previously been its symbol.
However, about half of the technology that goes into the Polestar 1 is based on Volvo’s in-house developed modular vehicle architecture. The other half is new, custom technology created by Polestar engineers working within Volvo’s R&D department, the company said Tuesday.
Volvo said the two brands should be able to share costs going forward.