The introduction of the Polestar 2 catapulted the brand into the mainstream, delivering Polestar’s signature Scandinavian design in a vehicle ready for the masses. It has been well received to date, with Polestar vehicles making their way into the homes of more than 150,000 customers. Gregor Hembrough, Head of USA at Polestar, said that Polestar is on track to ship 60,000 of the Polestar 2 around the world this year.
A New & Improved Polestar 2
With the introduction of the 2024 model year Polestar 2, the brand is giving its second vehicle a facelift. Most noticeable is the switch from the more traditional slotted grill to a smooth aerodynamic grill.
Polestar’s CEO Thomas Ingenlath is clearly a fan of the Polestar 2 and had this to say about the improvement coming for 2024: “We absolutely love Polestar 2 – such a stylish, fun car to drive. Our engineers have worked hard to integrate important upgrades that really enhance the overall package, and they’ve made it even better. We are proud to see we can do this without increasing its carbon footprint, but rather reducing it.”
Polestar invited CleanTechnica out to Denver to test drive its new model year 2024 vehicles and we were able to spend time driving the single and dual motor builds through the beautiful Rocky Mountains. The long range single motor Polestar 2 sports an 82 kilowatt-hour (kWh) (79kWh usable) CATL-based NMC battery pack and a 220 kilowatt (kW) / 299 horsepower (hp) rear motor. That translates to a whopping 320 miles of EPA rated range per charge, which can be recharged at up to 205 kW from a DC fast charger.
The long range dual motor build comes with an extra motor up front, bumping to total power output up to 310 kW / 421 hp and still sports the 78 kWh (75kWh usable) LG Chem-based NMC battery pack as previous years. The combination can achieve 276 miles of range per charge and can DC fast charge at up to 155 kW due to limitations in the 78 kWh pack. When questioned about the lower charging speed, Polestar’s product & launch manager John Quinn hinted that more updates were in the works for the dual motor build.
For those feeling the need for speed, Polestar also offers a Performance pack option on the dual motor build. This option leverages the magic of software to kick the twin motors into overdrive for 335 kW / 455 hp and a whopping 740 N-m (546 lb-ft) of torque.
On the surface, the vehicles look almost identical, with subtle nuances that set them apart. Right off the bat, the Performance vehicles are sporting massive Brembo brake calipers in the exclusive Swedish Gold decor and matching valve stem covers. It’s a subtle flex that this vehicle isn’t just another Polestar 2. The badging also identifies it as a more powerful vehicle. Inside, the gold seatbelt bands serve to highlight the differences as well.
For model year 2024, Polestar introduced a new battery pack for the single motor long range configuration. It also brought the single motor from the front to the rear to give it a more sporty feel. The new motor is also more sprightly than the previous incarnation, pushing out 299 horsepower, or 68 more ponies than the 2023.
Polestar has also been working on other improvements under the hood, including improved inverters and the updated 82 kWh battery pack that allowed it to boost the DC fast charging speed up to 205 kW. That’s not going to break any speed records, but it’s more than sufficient for the public DC fast charging networks for the foreseeable future.
To experience both builds of the new 2024 Polestar 2, the company mapped out a full day of driving through the Rocky Mountains. We started off with the single motor long range configuration which felt like the perfect road trip car. Its 320-mile range provided ample confidence and allowed us to explore the curvy mountain highways without having to think about range or fast charging.
At an average speed of 50 miles per hour on the mountain roads, that translated to just over 6 hours of driving. For those not keeping track, that’s a full day of driving for the vast majority of trips, without even having to take charging into consideration. Delivering more than 300 miles of range per charge lets most owners simply plug in when they get home at night just like they do for their cellphones, and that’s it.
The 82 kWh battery pack helps the vehicle feel nice and planted to the road, regardless of how fast you want to take a curve, while the improvements to the suspension keep the steering nice and tight. The suspension tuning is perhaps the most noticeable of the improvements in the new build, especially on the type of the mountain roads we were ripping around on.
Switching cars at lunch, we jumped into the dual motor long range version with the Performance Pack.
The 2024 dual motor Polestar 2 still utilizes the 78 kilowatt hour pack from last year, but with the upgraded rear motor featured in the single motor build. This translates to a slight uptick in power for the dual motor build, with 310 kW / 421 hp and when it’s time to launch, it boasts 526 lb-ft of torque.
With the Performance Pack option, the power and acceleration figures go up even further to 335 kW / 455 hp and 546 lb-ft of torque. The higher power output of the dual motor builds, coupled with the slightly smaller battery pack, translates to a lower range for both. The dual motor build comes in at 276 miles of range per charge while the Performance Pack drops that down to 247 miles of range per charge.
Polestar’s brand manager Jonathan Quinn noted that the company is working on additional improvements for the dual motor and Performance Pack, so we should keep our eyes peeled for those updates in the near future.
Getting behind the wheel of the dual motor Polestar 2 with the Performance Pack, the increase in power was immediately evident, even at a 50% state of charge. It had a higher top end and greater willingness to blast out of the corners, allowing us to accelerate faster and longer, especially on the long straightaways leading back out of Estes Park, Colorado, into the mountains.
While the higher top end was nice, the Performance Pack was obviously missing some of the punchiness that we expect from electric vehicles off the line. We slowed to a stop to test the acceleration from zero and the Polestar 2 Performance Pack build felt like it was holding back or being held back by the lower state of charge. When the state of charge drops in electric vehicles, the lower end performance typically stays the same but with noticeable drop-offs in peak power.
Further into the drive, the extra mid-range power of the dual motor Performance build really started flexing its wings, helping us blast out of the tight mountain curves with a bit of extra adrenaline. The suspension provided a solid foundation for the mountain trek, as the Öhlins dampers and McPhereson struts helped keep the vehicle planted, no matter how much we laid into it.
It’s exciting to see Polestar delivering meaningful improvements under the hood and kicking the range up over that 300-mile threshold that so many buyers are looking for. The additional performance in the dual motor and Performance Pack upgrades looks great on paper and delivers meaningful improvements in the mid to top end, and we fully expect Polestar to return mid-cycle for upgrades to the battery and refinements to the powertrain.
Polestar has shaped the long range single motor Polestar 2 into one of the most attractive sedans in its class, with refinements that raise it up above the Tesla Model 3 in interior quality and suspension performance in both comfort and sport. We look forward to seeing Polestar push the envelope on performance as it seeks to strike a balance between the raw power and torque of electric motors and the refined experience it has become known for.
Looking beyond the Polestar 2, the brand continues to push forward with even more models. The Polestar 3 just went on display at the brand’s Denver storefront, which is sure to draw even more customers to the brand. Its edgy looks and CUV packaging are already out in the showroom, ready for public consumption, with pre-orders already underway for the $80,000+ starting price vehicle.
That price point is for the fully loaded configuration, which is what Polestar will kick off deliveries with. As is typical, more affordable configurations will follow as they ramp up production post-launch.
Disclaimer: Polestar paid for the author’s travel and accommodations to attend this event.
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