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Thursday, February 9, 2023

Polestar 2: An Owner’s Review


This is my magnesium Polestar 2 which I purchased on the 22nd of April this year and have driven 15,000 kilometers.

My original choice was to order from the factory with Napa leather seats and all the extras. When the war started in Ukraine and microprocessors started to become scarce, I cancelled that order and claimed an available pre-delivered model in Australia.

That has turned out to be a good decision, as some Polestar 2 buyers are still waiting for their specific choice. My car has the dual motor, long range battery, and 3 additional packs – Performance, Pilot, and Plus (often referred to as “PPP” amongst owners).

The Performance Pack adds Brembo brakes, a stiffer chassis, adjustable Ohlins dampers, 20” forged alloy wheels and special-edition seat belts.

The Pilot Pack has features such as 360° camera; driver assistance with Pilot Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, and Emergency Stop Assist; Driver awareness with Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with steering assist, Cross Traffic Alert with brake support, and Rear Collision Warning & Mitigation; Automatically dimmed exterior mirrors, and Park Assist side. Some of these features are not available on newer models due to the microprocessor shortage. This pack is currently being offered as “Pilot Lite.”

The Plus Pack adds full-length panoramic roof with projected Polestar symbol, full power seats including 4-way power lumbar support (memory on driver seat), mechanical extension and backrest storage nets, vegan WeaveTech upholstery in Charcoal with Black ash deco inlays, climate heat pump (uses waste heat from the motor and the battery to control temperature and increase real life range), Harman Kardon Premium Sound and four USB-C connectors, plus 15W inductive smartphone phone charger.

On the 22nd of May Polestar offered a power upgrade to the dual motor models that has increased the power output to 350 kw (476 horsepower) and 680 Nm of torque. This upgrade was delivered OTA (over the air).

Polestar 2 review

Image courtesy of Gavin Janson.

Polestar 2 review

Image courtesy of Gavin Janson.

Purchase Price:

The following compares the prices of Volvo hi-performance cars in AUD over the years adjusted to current year prices for inflation. My Polestar 2 is a bargain.

2022 POLESTAR 2 $99,635
1996 VOLVO 850R $159,800
2004 VOLVO S60R $159,300
2014 VOLVO S60 POLESTAR $126,000

I have tried to find a petrol car of similar size and performance as my Polestar 2 that will do 0 to 100 km/ hr under 4.3 seconds. The closest is the Porsche Cayenne GTS coupe with 4.5 seconds 0 to 100 km/hr, which costs AUD$233,370 brand new in Brisbane.

There are cheaper cars that can match the acceleration and performance of the Polestar 2, but they do not have the size or comfort.

Polestar 2 review

Image courtesy of Gavin Janson.

Running Costs:

The Polestar 2 is using 18.5 kWh/100 km for the 15,000 km, for a total of 2,775 kWh.

I have purchased a total of $194.39 (648 kWh) from public chargers and the rest of the charging is completed at my shed that has solar panels and a Zappi charger. The charger has a setting that will only use solar power.

For an accurate costing of electricity, I have used the cost of electricity from the charger at the rate my electricity company would pay for it. My electricity provider pays me only 7.5c/ kWh for electricity returned to the grid. The cost of electricity from the shed equates to 2127 kWh x 7.5c = $159.53. Total cost of electricity is $353.92. More on the charger later. The cost to run our S60 T5 using premium petrol and averaging $2.10 a liter over the last year (this price is on the low side) would equate to $3,150.

This makes a saving for Polestar 2 of $2,800 over only 15,000 km in less than 5 months. This saving has paid for my Zappi Charger.

The 2017 S60 T5 Luxury, used for work and mainly driven around the city, advised us that a service was due at 13,695 km with the cost of that service at $548.39. The Polestar 2 is not due for a service until 2 years. This is a further saving of $548.39. The motors are always ready to go and the park brake disengages itself.

These early figures suggest a saving of over $6,000 a year or 22c a km if you travel 15,000 km a year. I usually travel in excess of 30,000 km a year so my savings will be about $12,000 a year.

Driving Experience:

SILENT, SMOOTH, SAFE, STABLE, AND SIMPLE.

Leaving outright performance aside, the greatest feature of the electric car is the driving experience. The absolute quietness of the car is amazing. The entertainment system in the car does not have to be loud to be heard and enjoyed.

The smooth and effortless acceleration at any speed makes overtaking safe and easy. Corners almost don’t exist in a Polestar 2, which has a low center of gravity. This car never lets go of the road.

An amazing feature of the Polestar 2 is no ignition switch or hand brake. Just sit in the driver’s seat and engage forward or reverse and accelerate away. The motors are always ready to go and the park brake disengages itself. Nothing to do when exiting the car, just open the door and walk away, the car turns everything off and locks up.

Zappi Charger

My solar panels are producing over 5 kW with 3.7 kW going into the car and power left over to run the system. The whole process is 100% solar with no grid needed. The charger can speed up to 11 kW using the grid if needed.

Warranty & Batteries

The warranty for the Polestar 2 is very similar to any new Volvo with a 5-year warranty for faulty materials or manufacturing issues and 12 years for corrosion issues. The battery in the Polestar 2 comes with an 8-year warranty with an acknowledgement that a small loss of battery capacity over time is normal, however if the battery capacity reduces below 70% of its original capacity within the first 8 years of ownership, Polestar will replace your battery free of charge.

Examples of long life for batteries are starting to appear. A recent article regarding the Nissan Leaf that has been out for 11 years suggests that most batteries are still functioning normally with very little loss of capacity. In Australia we have a Tesla (approximately 7 years old) currently being used as a limousine service in northern NSW that has covered over 500,000 km and only lost 10% capacity. Battery life is not an issue for me.

New Cars, New Countries:

People seeing the Polestar 2 invariably ask where it is manufactured, and I reply it is made in China. The usual derogatory comments are made about China-made products. I am very happy with the finish of the car and so are all others who have a good look at it.

I am old enough to remember the 1970s when Japanese cars came to Australia and comments were made saying they were no good — Toyota, Datsun, Mazda, and Honda. That argument did not last long. In the 1990s the Koreans started bringing cars to Australia and they were no good — Hyundai and Kia. That argument did not last long. China makes a lot of the Volvos that come to Australia and the Polestar 2 is made in the same factory. Don’t judge until you try.

OPD (One Pedal Driving):

When you need to slow down, all you need to do is raise your foot on the accelerator. The car starts to slow due to the regenerative braking systems in electrified cars. When an EV brakes, the electric motor acts as a generator, converting kinetic energy from the vehicle’s forward motion into electricity. This electricity recharges the battery while the vehicle is slowing. The higher you lift your foot the quicker the car slows, and the car will come to a complete stop if you lift off the accelerator completely.

One-pedal driving is convenient, too. Moving your foot between two pedals is more work than keeping it in one place. Once you’re comfortable with one-pedal driving, it is simply a more relaxed way to travel. Finally, the stopping phase of one-pedal driving generally feels smoother than applying hydraulic brakes.

Range Anxiety

The only people who experience range anxiety are the ones who have never driven or owned an EV. My Polestar has a range of about 435 km, which far exceeds any of my driving needs and I don’t know why anyone would need to drive further than that without stopping. I travel everywhere with a dog and am always stopping regularly. All governments recommend having a break at about 2 hours for safety reasons. My recent return trip to Cairns covered over 3,500 km in 8 days. I included extra planning on distances and EV charger locations and had no issues that I would not have had with an internal combustion car.

While charging at Proserpine I ran into a local who had classic cars from the 60s and wanted to talk to me about electric cars in general. After a while he stated electric vehicles would never be good for him because he needs a car that will get him to Townsville for specialist doctor appointments. The round trip is under 600 km. He also stated that he would only go to Townsville E once a year and would stay overnight.

This is perfect for an electric vehicle, as each way is easily completed on a single charge and there is an EV charger at the hospital that he can charge his car while at his appointment. He suddenly wanted to know more about my car after this argument failed.

Polestar 2 review

Image courtesy of Gavin Janson.

Conclusion

My Polestar 2 has exceeded all expectations and is great to drive. This does not mean I will be selling my 1964 P1800S, 1968 123 GT, 1990 740 GL, 1992 240GL, 2017 S60 T5, or my 1987 Datsun 1200 Utility.

I enjoy all my cars and each car has a uniqueness and specific reason for keeping. All I would say to everyone is try an EV before you pass an ill-informed comment.

Images courtesy of Gavin Janson.

By Gavin Janson.


 

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