DENVER – For the ’24 model year, Polestar improves the range and efficiency of the Polestar 2.
Polestar 2 can now travel up to 20% farther, consume up to 9% less energy and charge up to 34% faster. That’s due to what could be a model for cost savings as OEMs market BEVs to price-sensitive mainstream customers.
Rather than give in to the expensive and blunt tactic of adding more battery to add range and reduce charge stops in its sportier, dual-motor variants, Polestar actually uses a downsized 78-kWh pack and improves range and performance through incremental efficiency gains across the whole car.
In the Polestar 2 that means using two common, relatively inexpensive types of motors: a permanent magnet synchronous motor (PMSM) on the rear axle and an induction motor on the front axle. The Polestar team offsets the disadvantages of the induction motor (lower efficiency and higher power losses) with an improved software controller that engages the front motor only as needed. And switching to an induction motor in the front (instead of another PMSM) avoids the inefficiencies of using more power to counteract the magnetic drag in a free-spinning PM motor.
Further efficiency gains come from using silicon carbide in the inverter and mounting it directly on the rear motor. Simply having less wiring and connectors between the two increases the efficiency of the e-powertrain.
Polestar balances cost, charging time and efficiency by using a 400V architecture. An 800V architecture would further improve charge time and energy efficiency but won’t be available until the more expensive Polestar 5 is released in 2026.
So, even with the slightly smaller battery packs, the long-range dual motor without the sport pack gets an EPA-estimated range of 276 miles (444 km) and energy consumption of about 2.8 mi./kWh in the top trim vs. 3.1 mi./kWh in the base.
A change to rear-wheel drive for the single-motor version (priced from $49,900) and a rear-bias for the dual-motor version (from $55,300) also means both vehicles have more sports car-like handling.
The single motor offers 299 hp (220 kW), 361 lb.-ft. (490 Nm) of torque and 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 5.9 seconds. The dual motor bumps the hp to 421 (310 kW) and 455 hp (335 kW) with the Performance Pack.
Range is 320 miles (515 km) per the EPA for the single motor.
More features have been moved into the standard column, says John Quinn, product launch manager for Polestar North America.
That includes 15W inductive phone charging, 360° Camera + side parking sensors, IntelliSafe Aware (blindspot information system and cross-traffic alert) and, automatically dimmed exterior mirrors.
The vehicle is also the first Polestar to feature the SmartZone sensor suite. It takes the place of the grille on a gasoline-powered vehicle and includes front-facing cameras and radar.
We drove both versions of the Polestar 2 starting with the single-motor (pictured, below). It handled notably differently from previous model years thanks to the RWD, which gives the driver a feeling of being pushed.
Handling was smooth with just the right amount of tension and the test vehicle felt settled during cornering on a mountain road.
The vehicle’s range assistant feature, which predicts range based on driving behavior and the route that has been programmed into the navigation system, advises we have 140 miles (225 km) of range although the battery meter shows an 81% charge and 250 miles (402 km) of range. Factors that influence range are speed, driving style, and climate settings, but clearly the range assistant is factoring in mountain driving.
Uphill on the first leg of the drive, a mix of highway and curvy mountain roads, we record 2.9 mi./kWh, which isn’t bad for the terrain. But on one downhill run later in the day we boost that number to an astonishing high of 6.3 mi/kWh. Overall, we average about 3.3 mi./kWh for the day of driving.
Gregor Hembrough, head of Polestar North America, tells reporters gathered for the media drive about how the Polestar 2 fits into the company’s overall plans.
The brand continues to target the top 25 EV markets in North America covering about 85% of EV demand in the region, he says.
– Adam Ragozzino contributed to this report.