Polestar's startup culture will now be put to the test as the automaker embarks on an ambitious growth plan that involves scaling sales to 290,000 by 2025, up from 29,000 last year, and reaching break-even in 2023.
To get there Polestar will bring two new crossovers and a large sedan to market by the end of 2024. And to deliver that lineup, Polestar will have to bulk up organizationally.
"At headquarters, we are around 800 people," said Ingenlath, dressed in an open-collar shirt and jeans. "That is a teeny tiny number of people. There is not this mega-organization."
But being lean is a feature, not a bug, he said. Without layers of middle management, decisions can be made faster, allowing Polestar to react more nimbly to market conditions and product challenges.
"You can do things that would be very difficult to do" as a traditional automaker, Ingenlath said.
Without a "gigantic" pool of cars on the road, Polestar can deploy over-the-air software updates more frequently, and with less risk, than if it had hundreds of thousands of vehicles.
But while Polestar lays claim to a startup culture, the automaker also has a weapon that most new ventures lack — access to the engineering, manufacturing and sales infrastructure of a deep-pocketed automotive conglomerate.
Polestar is part of an extensive stable of brands controlled by China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, which includes Volvo Cars, Lynk & CO and Lotus. The Chinese conglomerate's network of global factories and R&D centers makes Polestar's "asset-light" model possible, allowing the young brand to focus on product and technology, rather than manufacturing or logistics.