Pure progressive performance combined with minimalistic design
Electrification has been attracting the attention of fleet decision-makers in recent years, but in the past 18 months there has been a noticeable shift. We are seeing ‘less talk and more action’ as a growing number of fleet managers are working to fully integrate electric vehicles (EVs) into their company car policies. Ensuring adequate supply of EVs in the market has remained one of the biggest challenges so far, of course, but there are now more new EVs entering the market than ever before. In this blog, we hone in on the new kid on the block in the world of EVs: Polestar. But who are ‘Polestar,’ what is its go-to-market approach, and what exactly is the company offering?
Polestar: ready to deliver
Since the launch of Polestar was announced in Beijing three years ago, the company has been through some exciting and challenging times. Production of the Polestar 2 began in March 2020 in Luqiao, China. This model has since been introduced in ten markets around the world[i], with more markets due to go live in the next couple of years. Despite various global challenges, let alone problems associated with launching a new brand during the corona virus crisis, vehicle production and logistics are in good shape, according to the company. Over the past few months, Polestar has also been getting operationally active with the so-called ‘press drives’ for media representatives, customer test drives and handing over the vehicles to the first customers.
‘Clicks and bricks’
Although Polestar is the offspring of two famous parents – Volvo Cars and Geely – it is positioned as a stand-alone pure electric brand with a somewhat different market approach: a digital direct sales model. Apart from potential buyers having the opportunity to physically experience the brand in Polestar stores (so-called ‘customer Spaces’), they complete the rest of the customer journey entirely online.
In China, Polestar’s home market, the brand already has a sufficient number of stores and more are due to open towards the end of this year. Rather than being huge glass showrooms displaying a variety of models, the Polestar customer Spaces focus on the vehicles themselves – both on the design of the cars and on the technical parts and the underlying engineering. “Polestar is a stand-alone brand, so you won’t find any of its products in the usual Volvo retail stores,” says Matthias Schabetsberger, Senior Manager Fleet Europe at Polestar.
Additionally, Polestar is represented with pop-up stores in North America. “Our pop-up store in New York, for example, which is close to Apple’s famous flagship store on Fifth Avenue, created a lot of online and social media buzz and contributed to the success of the launch,” said Matthias. Moreover, Polestar has opened stores in nine cities in Europe and aims to have a presence in more than 20 different European cities by the end of 2020. Over the next three to four months, Polestar will be announcing which launch markets it will be targeting in 2021. Those expansion activities will depend on demand levels, subsidies and the associated market dynamics, but there is no doubt that European expansion makes sense, from a fleet point of view.
To provide other customer touchpoints besides the customer spaces, Polestar has set up customer care centres in various European countries, staffed by specially trained and educated professionals to answer any questions customers may have about the products. “Importantly for fleet customers, our comprehensive service network ensures excellent coverage for fast and professional maintenance and services, right from day one,” he stated.
Pure progressive performance combined with a minimalistic design
In terms of its vehicles, Schabetsberger described Polestar as standing for “pure progressive performance and minimalistic design”. The Polestar 2[ii] is a dynamic and design-oriented all-electric five-door fastback that will be a very interesting option for fleets. It comes with a strong 407 bhp[iii] electric motor and a 78 kWh battery providing a range of 470 km, according to WLTP[iv]. “With a length of 4.6 metres, this is a very well-positioned car in the midsize segment – a fastback that offers enough room both for passengers and in terms of boot space,” he continued.
The Polestar 2 is also the first car in the world which uses the Google Android Automotive open-source software operating system. “The GPS uses Google Maps and it delivers a range calculation that is real, providing you with a truly accurate indication of the remaining driving time, also ensuring that the data around charging stations is kept completely up to date. Additionally, thanks to Google’s artificial intelligence-powered voice assistant, you can engage with the vehicle simply by speaking, which provides an amazing and completely new feeling of the benefits of technology,” commented Schabetsberger.
From a sustainability perspective, the combination of Polestar’s design, material choice and manufacturing approach delivers lower life-cycle emissions than comparable vehicles. The Polestar 2 even has a ‘vegan’ interior[v].
At LeasePlan, sustainability is a key part of our strategic plan. The transition towards a fully electric fleet is something that we’re passionate about; internally we are transitioning our own employees to electric vehicles as quickly as possible, and we’re encouraging our customers to do the same – including with partners such as Polestar. “Due to the very clear fit between Polestar and LeasePlan’s aspirations, we have been working together closely to ensure that the Polestar 2 can be properly positioned in our customers’ fleet policies,” says LeasePlan’s Commercial Senior Vice President Berno Kleinherenbrink. “We’re really excited about the partnership and its especially encouraging to see that Polestar are taking fleet customers so seriously: for example, they have set up a dedicated global team for fleets, as well as a specialist support centre employing qualified, highly trained staff to help fleet customers. The company also offers global or pan-European customer relationship agreements, depending on each fleet customer’s needs.”
This material has been approved solely by LeasePlan Corporation N.V. (“LPC”) on the basis of the sources as listed herein and is for general informational purposes only. LPC makes no representation or warranty (expressly or implied) of any kind, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, availability, reliability or completeness of any of the information in this material. LPC shall have no liability for any losses or damages resulting from the use of or reliance on any information or opinions provided herein.
[i] China, Canada, the US and seven launch markets in Europe (Sweden, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, the UK and Germany) plus Switzerland in the near future.
[ii] It is the second car under the Polestar brand after the Polestar 1. Since the Polestar 1 is a plug-in hybrid, however, the Polestar 2 is the first BEV in the Volvo Car Group
[iii] Bhp is the measurement of an engine’s power without any power losses measured in a controlled environment without anything attached to the engine.
[iv] Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure
[v] The upholstery in the Polestar 2 is made from a 100% vegan interior made from recycled materials.