Polestar 3 & Polestar 4 EVs could offer Level 4 Autonomous driving [Update]

Volvo Car Group and Zhejiang Geely Holding’s electric performance car brand Polestar sounds excited about launching the Polestar 3 electric SUV and the production Polestar Precept grand tourer. The company mentions the two upcoming models in every recent press announcement footer. However, it is yet to reveal the market name of the latter, which is assigned the title Polestar 4 by the auto media, and rightly so.

In the future, the Polestar 3 electric performance SUV will join the portfolio, as well as the Precept – a design study vehicle released in 2020 that is slated for future production. Precept showcases the brand’s future vision in terms of sustainability, digital technology and design.

Volvo Cars, on its new product plans

Last year, a report from carmagazine.co.uk had revealed several details about the Polestar 3 and Polestar 4 projects. The next models have not only Tesla products but Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz models in their sight. To stay ahead of the competition, the company may equip upcoming models with high-end technology features, including but not limited to Level 4 autonomous driving.

Polestar 3 SUV

The Polestar 3, the brand’s third model, will be an electric SUV carrying the design philosophy previewed by the Polestar Precept concept. Autocar.co.uk reported last year that it would debut in 2022 and suggested that it will go up against the likes of Audi e-tron, BMW iX, and Tesla Model X. As for the pricing, Thomas Ingelath, CEO, Polestar, has indicated that the Polestar 3 will slot between the Polestar 2 and the Polestar 1, hinting at a sub-100,000 EUR positioning for the full variant range.

Polestar 3 teaser
The Polestar 3 is “an aerodynamic electric performance SUV,” says Polestar. Image Source: Polestar

Design

Formally, Polestar has said nothing about the Polestar 3’s design except for a teaser. The picture suggests a sleek and highly aerodynamic silhouette with a low height and a high rear deck.

Polestar’s Head of Design, Max Missoni, has spoken of the brand’s next model being an aerodynamic performance SUV. The Polestar 3 electric SUV will feature the split Thor’s hammer headlamp design and a rear tail light bar that measures the car’s width.

According to a story from fastcompany.com, Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath has indicated that the company plans drive itself further away from Volvo Car’s design DNA with the Polestar 3 and Polestar 4. The Polestar 1 and Polestar 2 originated as Volvo concepts (Volvo Concept Coupe and Volvo Concept 40.2, respectively), but the upcoming models could be the first Polestars to incorporate a new design philosophy created in-house.

Interior

As for the interior, the 15-inch portrait-oriented infotainment system from the concept and a 12.5-inch digital instrument cluster is expected as the talking points of the Polestar 3. The infotainment system will also run Google’s Android software out of the factory.

The Polestar 2 became the world’s first car to feature an Android Automotive OS-powered infotainment system when it arrived in February 2019. The Polestar 3 and Polestar 4 will follow suit. Polestar will build Google apps and services like Google Play, Google Assistant (enabled by the “Hey Google” prompt), and Google Maps into the infotainment system. Customers will be able to download various apps built by Google, Polestar, and third-party developers directly to the vehicle.

In May 2021, Polestar released a new Polestar video app (in beta version) for the Polestar 2 that allows customers to stream feeds from SVT (Sweden), TV2 (Norway), GoPlay (Belgium), RTBF (Belgium), BBC Ideas (Europe), Al Jazeera (English), and tagesschau (Europe). The company will add more market-specific feeds over time, and in all likeliness, it should offer this video app in the Polestar 3 and Polestar 4’s Android infotainment systems. Drivers can use the Polestar video app only while the car is parked or charging. However, the audio streaming can be continued on the go, in the background.

Platform & Autonomous Driving

To be built on Volvo’s SPA2 platform, the Polestar 3 will follow a coupe-SUV shape and would be similar to the next-gen Volvo XC90 in size. The range is expected to be more than 500 km in a single charge (WLTP cycle), and the Polestar 3 will get an all-wheel-drive layout with performance-oriented acceleration figures. We doubt if the current 78 kWh battery pack would meet Polestar 3’s requirements, so expect a 90-100 kWh battery to be utilized.

The next-gen Volvo XC90 is expected to approach Level 4 autonomous driving, and the Polestar 3 could also benefit from its highly advanced automated drive systems. ‘Highway Pilot’ is Volvo’s upcoming autonomous driving feature. SPA2 platform vehicles will be hardware-ready for autonomous drive right from the start, and the hands-free functions will be activated when the time is right, Volvo Cars said in April 2021.

Level 3 autonomous driving capability should be available right from the initial phase. The Polestar 4, detailed below, should build on these high-tech driving assistants when it arrives closer to mid-decade.

Manufacturing

Polestar has announced the Volvo Cars South Carolina factory as the production site of the forthcoming Polestar 3. Located in Ridgeville, Berkeley County, the first US plant of Volvo Cars currently manufactures only the Mk3 Volvo S60. This facility is going to produce the next generation XC90 also from around 2022, though.

Polestar hasn’t confirmed whether the Volvo Cars South Carolina factory will be the exclusive producer of the Polestar 3. The American units may go to every market worldwide, through the Port of Charleston, except for China. Polestar could source the Polestar 3 for sale in China from a local factory to price it more affordably. There are rumours of a new plant with an annual production capacity of 30,000 units, located in Chongqing.

Polestar 4 Grand Tourer

In September 2020, Polestar announced that it has decided to put the Precept concept car into production. The road-ready version of the four-door grand tourer is expected to be called Polestar 4 and compete with the Audi e-tron GT and Porsche Taycan and is likely to be launched around 2024.

Video: Youtube.com/Polestar

The Polestar 4 will reportedly debut the ‘SmartZone’ from the Polestar Percept concept, aiming to shift the cars from breathing to seeing. The front area that generally had air vents for ICE cars to help the radiator will now be used to house sensors for safety and driving assistance functions. Pilot Assist is aided by long- and mid-range radar units, ultrasonic sensors, and a high-definition wide-angle camera. A LIDAR pod is mounted high up on the glass roof for driving assistance technology.

Polestar Digital Key & video streaming app

The Polestar 3 and Polestar 4 will come with Polestar Digital Key, which allows owners to use their connected smartphone as an alternative to the key fob. Multiple Bluetooth sensors in and around the vehicle would communicate with the paired smartphone for the digital key functions. These models are likely to come with a video streaming app built into their infotainment systems as well. Owners can relax and watch TV shows and movies while taking a break during long journeys or when the vehicle is plugged in at a charging station.

Polestar raises half a billion dollars

Polestar has raised $0.55 billion from investors, the company announced 15 April 2021. This is the first time that external investors have backed the performance EV company, thanks to the strong growth of the global EV market. The investment should secure future products like the Polestar 3 and Polestar 4 and accelerate their development.

Chongqing Chengxing Equity Investment Fund Partnership, Zibo Financial Holding, Zibo Hightech Industrial Investment, and South Korea’s SK Inc. that is well-known in the EV industry due to its subsidiary SK Innovation have invested in Polestar. The company says that it is considering fundraising further and is in ongoing discussions with global investors.

New markets

It is expected that the Polestar 3 and Polestar 4 would be available in 18 markets worldwide, if not more, including North America. At the beginning of the year, Polestar announced plans to enter Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and Hong Kong and expand its availability to 18 countries worldwide by the end of 2021.

Even though expanding its footprint with more markets and more products, Polestar would retain its premium positioning and won’t lower itself down to EUR 40,000/USD 35,000 segments. Ingelath said that Polestar won’t be as mass-market as Tesla and that “the Polestar 2, and single-motor variant” will remain its base offering. For reference, the Polestar 2 is priced from EUR 41,930 in Germany, and in the U.S., where it is available in only AWD, it costs USD 59,900 onwards.

Polestar 4 FAQs

What is the Polestar 4 release date?

The Polestar 4 could be launched in 2023, a year after the Polestar 3.

Which EVs will be the Polestar 4 rivals?

The Polestar 4 should compete with the likes of Audi e-tron GT and Porsche Taycan.

What is the expected price of the Polestar 4?

Expect the price of the Polestar 4 to begin around the EUR 90,000 (USD 107,000) mark.

The featured image is the unofficial Polestar 7 Concept by automotive designer Dan Paduraru via Behance.net