5 things you should know about the Polestar 3 SUV

Derryn Wong

Polestar’s first EV and luxury car, the Polestar 3 SUV, brings a whole lot of New Stuff to the table – here’s some things you might have missed about it

Copenhagen, Denmark 

‘Polestar 3 is the SUV for the electric age’ claims the Swedish electric car maker of its new, high-performance/luxury sport utility vehicle (SUV) that it just officially unveiled to the world last week.

It’s a big claim, especially since electric SUVs are far more common than electric sedans or hatchbacks, and the fact that the luxury EV segment is also full of competition from the likes of Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, with more competition on the way from Maserati and Porsche.

Polestar executives: Second from the left Frederika Klaren, Head of Sustainability. Third from the left: CEO Thomas Ingenlath. Second from the right: Head of Design - Maximilian Missoni.
Polestar executives: Second from the left Frederika Klaren, Head of Sustainability. Third from the left: CEO Thomas Ingenlath. Second from the right: Head of Design – Maximilian Missoni.

CarBuyer was on the scene at the unveiling in Denmark, and having seen the car and fondled it, spoken to its experts and sat through an hour-plus panel with Polestar’s top executives, here are some interesting facts and takeaways from the whole experience.

Before you proceed, read our very in-depth debut story on the Polestar 3 to find out what it’s like, where it’s positioned, how much it will cost in Singapore, and when it’s slated for launch. You can also check out our gallery of photos from launch day.

We’ll show you around the Polestar 3

1. It’s a brand definer for Polestar 

Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath presenting the Polestar 3

Polestar says the P3 is a hugely important car for it, and while it wouldn’t comment on sales numbers, Polestar COO Dennis Nobelius responded that, “It (will make up a) substantial part of our business.”

Polestar’s on track to meet its business plan target of selling 50,000 cars for 2022, but its even more ambitious aim is to sell 125,000 cars by 2023, meaning Polestar is likely forecasting sales of at least 50,000-plus units of the Polestar 3.

As car brands go, Polestar is still a fledgling. The racing/performance arm of Volvo since 1996, it made its first production car in 2018 (the Polestar 1) and its first full-production, global model in 2022 (the Polestar 2, read our in-Singapore review of it here).

In Singapore, we only have a single model as the brand touchpoint – the Polestar 2 – since the left-hand-drive-only Polestar 1 GT never made it here. An executive sedan rivaling the Tesla Model 3, it’s more than competent enough. But Polestar wants to position itself as a true rival to German luxury marques, and an executive sedan cannot do that. 

Polestar 3, in comparison, is aimed straight at cars like the BMW iX and Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV. If you watch the video, and read our on-site impressions from the launch, you’ll see that the P3 ups the stakes in all areas, which is exactly what it needs to do to take on the competition.

2. There will be no seven-seat version

There won’t be a seven-seat version. The P3 has been designed for five adults, and in response to queries of a three-row, seven-seat model, Polestar was very clear on its response. 

“It stands for how we do things at Polestar, we don’t try to do everything,” said Ingenlath. “We decide on what we want to do, take the advantages, and make a really fantastic product. We said ‘No, we don’t cater for seven seats – we can have a spacious two row, good luggage space, aerodynamic roofline. If we put third row, the aero flow of the silhouette would be compromised, other seats would be compromised. We don’t make such compromises.”

Choices like that help to give us a firm idea of Polestar’s approach to making cars.

3. It wants to change the way we see SUVs, figuratively and literally

Polestar claims the P3 is an SUV for the electric age, and one that aims to change the bad history SUVs have as a result of their big, bulky, inefficient ICE past.

“SUVs! People love SUVS, there is a passion for it. But there is also a ‘I don’t care’ element, a negative interpretation of SUVs and being inefficient. It needs to be sustainable,” says Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar’s CEO.

SUVs are a big driver of climate emissions, they have a large carbon footprint. So for that reason we have to deliver an alternative to these types of vehicles,” adds Frederika Klaren, Polestar’s Head of Sustainability.

The sustainability bit is addressed with zero tailpipe emissions motoring and Polestar’s approach to cars, part of which includes deeper supply chain tracing.

“Polestar 2 was the first car on the market to use tracing for cobalt. We’ve added another material mica, we are adding nickel and lithium as well. If we can trace materials, we can meet the requirements we have set for our suppliers, and keep our supply chain intact. For mineral sourcing, it can be a very corrupt supply chain, but we have been able to use blockchain to do that, which is an amazing journey for us,” added Klaren.

The image makeover is also one reason why Polestar pulled no punches with design.  As mentioned in our story and video, the P3 is one of the lowest SUVs around, considerably lower than even a coupe-SUV of similar size, and it looks more like a high-riding wagon in the flesh. 

4. It’ll pack leather but spare the chains

Animal welfare is taken into account when it comes to the Polestar 3

And speaking of flesh, while Polestar offers sustainable wool and non-petroleum pleather for the P3, it also offers real leather that it claims has been ethically sourced and are a by-product of the food industry.

“(In the Polestar 3) we have bio-vinyl, we have wool, and leather. We believe that it’s important to continue to use these fibres that are by-product, as long as we have a food industry,” said Klaren. “Actually, compared to (sustainable) options in the fashion industry, the automotive ones are not so good. For us, Animal Welfare Leather is still unrivaled in terms of quality.”

It says ‘XXg/CO2 Animal welfare Nappa leather’. We go into detail in our walkthrough video

CEO Ingenlath added that normal leather in cars is chosen almost entirely on a cost basis, rather than a quality one, which engenders bad conditions for the animals. “(Our) leather you pay price for, it’s high quality, and to me it makes all the difference. It’s about doing responsible sourcing where you don’t squeeze price to the extreme regardless of what it does to the environment.”

5.  It ditches chrome for technology and talking points 

Polestar has doubled-down on its unique design habit of labeling parts of its vehicles with the P3. Besides the battery capacity on the trailing edge of the front fender, Polestar also has a new label right in the front of the car. On the inside, it even labels the leather seats with a CO2 emissions rating.

Polestar’s design head Maximilian Missoni says that it’s a Polestar hallmark now, and the aim is to draw attention to certain aspects of the car that would otherwise go unnoticed: “To me, this is an example of exciting design with relevance over time. We’ve replaced details like chrome with the celebration of technology, we elevate the technology, especially on the outside of the car.”

The Smart Sensor on the front for example, becomes a point of pride for the brand and a USP, in contrast to other brands which try to hide active safety sensors.

There’s a distinct lack of chrome on the Polestar 3’s body

“I am proud of the Smart Zone. To place sensors there, to put text there, was very challenging.  The cleaning mechanism actually removed text (on the surface). We had to engineer layers for the text, it was very complex, and it was a hell of a lot of work!” he says, laughing. 

What range anxiety? This coupe drove from Bangkok to Singapore in an electric SUV

CarBuyer Analysis:

We’ve said much about what the P3 gets right – it promises to be a stand-out in the increasingly crowded electric SUV segment, and it pushes the sustainability message forward while pairing it with unique aesthetics that show a lot of thought for the subject matter. 

Where the P3 doesn’t break new ground is in platform and charging. The car’s based on the Volvo Group SPA platform, and the electrics are regular 400V with a maximum charge rate of 250kW. While it’s a bit disappointing compared to the exciting higher voltage of the Porsche Taycan, or even Kia and Hyundai’s newer EVs, the vast majority of EVs have yet to adopt 800V systems, and that includes almost all luxury EVs too. If Polestar can deliver on its range and fast-charge claims, this shouldn’t be a big problem for prospective owners.


5 Doors 5 seat electric EV high-performance large luxury polestar Polestar 3 sustainability SUV

About the Author

Derryn Wong

CarBuyer's former chief editor was previously the editor for Top Gear Singapore and a presenter for CNA's Cruise Control motoring segment.

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