Polestar started life as a performance arm of Volvo, and if you’ve ever seen bright blue Volvos with silver wing mirrors, you’ve been looking at a Polestar version of a Volvo. Then, in 2017, Polestar separated from its parent and became an electric performance brand, utilising Volvo underpinnings, design and interiors for its first car: the 600 horsepower hybrid GT, the Polestar 1, which made its global dynamic debut on the Goodwood Hill at the 2018 Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard. The smaller, more mass-market pure-EV Polestar 2 arrived soon after, but the Polestar 1 was delivered to customers first, in early 2020.
A few startling facts about Polestar 1 before delving into the detail. It costs £139,000, just 1,500 were produced globally and it is not available in right-hand-drive. It uses a 2.0-litre super- and turbocharged engine driving the front wheels combined with electric motors for the rear. That means it’s a hybrid, which seems a strange way to launch a pure-electric brand… However, the battery is good for 78 miles on electric power only, at motorway speed, making this a peculiar hybrid which is unique in being genuinely useable as an electric car.