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Volvo’s Polestar opens massive new factory, starts production of Polestar 1 electric car

Polestar, Volvo’s electric car brand, announced today the opening of its massive new electric car factory in Shanghai and the start of production of the Polestar 1.

When Volvo rebranded Polestar two years ago, it was off to a somewhat awkward but interesting start as it unveiled its first vehicle, the Polestar 1.

The car turned out to be a highly expensive plug-in hybrid, which quickly sounded outdated when the automaker announced that they would bring an all-electric “Tesla Model 3 competitor.”

The company is talking about making only electric vehicles going forward:

From the release of the Polestar 2, we’re going all-electric and we’re never going back.

Polestar planned to bring the two electric vehicles to production at a new production facility in Chengdu, China.

Unlike previous efforts from foreign automakers in China, Polestar plans to manufacture the vehicles at the new factory not only for the Chinese market but also for global exports.

Today, the company announced the opening of the new facility.

Thomas Ingenlath, chief executive officer of Polestar, commented on the achievement:

Here in Chengdu we are not only manufacturing a premium hybrid-electric performance car. We have also created an inspirational manufacturing environment, a great place to work and visit. It truly reflects the Polestar brand. We promised we would have our first production facility built in 2019, we promised cars would be delivered to customers this year, and we promised we would do things differently — once again we are delivering on our promises. This is a hugely proud moment for the whole team at Polestar.

Here are some pictures of the impressive new electric car factory:

Polestar also announced the start of production of the Polestar 1, a low-volume plug-in hybrid with a €130,000-€150,000 ($160,000-$185,000) price tag.

The Polestar 1 is expected to have a significant all-electric range for a plug-in hybrid, thanks to a 34 kWh battery pack, which is rare for a PHEV.

The company only plans to produce 500 units per year.

With the launch of the factory, they released the first images of the vehicle going into production:

The Polestar 1 should be in the hands of customers by the end of the year.

Production at the plant is expected to ramp up, but Polestar’s first volume vehicle, the Polestar 2, will not be made there. The company is guiding a start of production early next year in Luqiao, China.

At the unveiling earlier this year, Polestar talked about a 78 kWh battery pack to enable 275 miles of range for the launch edition and a charging capacity up to 150 kW.

During its first year of production, the vehicle will be offered as a “launch edition” for €59,900 (~$68,000), which is a lot more than what people expected.

After that, it will have a more reasonable starting price of €39,900 (~$45,000).

Electrek’s Take

Well, that’s an absolutely beautiful factory.

However, I find it hard to get excited about the Polestar 1. I don’t get why they didn’t make it all-electric like all their other planned vehicles.

But I am excited about the Polestar 2, though I am confused by the fact that they are apparently not going to be making it at this new plant.

Either way, it’s going to be made in China, and it will be interesting to see how smooth it will be to export the vehicle with the current trade war.

The timing is not great, but best of luck to Polestar.

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