Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath has called Tesla a "pioneer" and told Automotive News Europe last year that he was happy Polestar didn't "have to start from scratch" in the EV sector.
"At the moment, there are cheaper electric cars, but they just do not offer the same premium experience," he said. "I have nothing against the cars that are there in the price range of €30,000 to €50,000 ($34,000 to $56,800), but they are not the emotionally exciting driver's cars that we plan to bring."
The Polestar 2 is crucial to achieving Ingenlath's goal of making the brand profitable within five to seven years with annual global sales of more than 100,000. Polestar is said to have at least a half-dozen battery electric models planned over the next decade. In addition to the Polestar 2, the Polestar 1, a $155,000, limited-run hybrid sedan, is expected to arrive this year. Later the automaker will add the Polestar 3 crossover. A roadster is also planned, according to a source.
Hembrough pegged global production of the Polestar 2 in the "tens of thousands [of units], rather than thousands," declining to provide a firmer estimate. "I'd really feel much more comfortable answering that in about 90 days."
North America is expected to be the third-largest market for Polestar, trailing Europe and China, which Ingenlath expects to account for 40 percent of Polestar 2 sales, he said during a roundtable discussion with journalists following the car's debut last week. Hembrough ruled out U.S. production of the Polestar, for now.
Polestar is adopting an experiential U.S. retail strategy, bringing the brand to where people congregate or shop. The company envisions small, low-cost stores in malls and mixed-use urban developments, instead of multimillion-dollar, Taj Mahal-style showrooms with expansive service centers.
Initially, Polestar expects to have stores in five cities on the West Coast and in three cities in Canada. The West Coast is a natural launch market because it has high EV adoption, attractive government incentives and robust charging infrastructure.
Hembrough declined to say when Polestar vehicles would become a nationwide brand or elaborate on the eventual size of its dealer network. Expansion markets will be based on the level of demand, the availability of charging infrastructure and whether dealers can be profitable.
Douglas A. Bolduc contributed to this report.