Polestar Wants to Be More Like Porsche Than Tesla, Says Australian Boss

Polestar Wants to Be More Like Porsche Than Tesla, Says Australian Boss

Polestar has had a tremendously good year in Australia. Entering the market as an expected ‘Tesla killer’, the company has existed in the shadow of Elon Musk’s company for a while. However, Polestar’s future might look more like Porsche.

Polestar is an offshoot of Volvo, sure, but it’s now functionally independent. Both companies are owned by Geely, which owns a variety of other vehicle brands (in particular, Lotus and Radar).

Polestar makes its own operational choices, even if it and Volvo share maintenance locations across Australia. It was recently announced that Polestar would start designing cars separately from Volvo as well.

It’s time for Polestar to create its own destiny. So where is the company headed?

polestar Porsche australia (2)
The Polestar 2. Image: Polestar

The car of tomorrow

Polestar has done a tremendous job of selling itself as ‘option #2’ for electric vehicle owners. The Polestar 2, a terrific car in its own right, is a great alternative to the Tesla Model 3, at an equal price point with a sedan chassis ($67,000 at the time of writing).

This price point is important. It’s not out of reach for prospective new car buyers that are interested in being early adopters, while also retaining the premium feel of a more expensive car, so it’s a great ‘first go’ vehicle, especially with more expensive models planned. As an aside, this probably indicates why Polestar may not consider a ‘cheap’ model.

But Polestar doesn’t want to be confined to Tesla comparisons. Polestar’s Australian managing director, Samantha Johnson, told Gizmodo Australia that the company actually sees itself more as a Porsche competitor.

“We’re going to be very different to [Tesla],” Johnson said.

“When we talk about the Polestar 3 onwards, we’re really going into that more luxury space at the high end.

“We’re probably going to be more around, the sort of, Porsche, probably looking at Porsche as more of a competitor and very much break away from [Tesla] really.”

Johnson reckons the company is on its way to defining its own path, with the benefits of Volvo’s tremendous safety history (bloody Volvo driver) and Polestar’s own approach to sustainability.

And this mindset is obviously a leading influence on the Polestar Roadster Concept, a concept car that will go on to inform the design of the upcoming Polestar 6. Frankly, the car looks nothing like anything else on the road right now (except, perhaps, Porsche).

polestar Porsche australia (1)
The Polestar Roadster Concept. Image: Polestar Australia

Not simply an EV company

Polestar wants to create a ‘climate neutral’ car by 2030 and to be entirely climate neutral across its entire company and supply chain by 2040. This puts Polestar apart from other car companies (and especially Porsche), in that it doesn’t simply see having battery-powered cars as sustainable: every element needs to feed into sustainability.

Interestingly, the company uses ‘blockchain technology’ to assist with the tracking of its materials, calling it a “digital register of records which are linked to one another via cryptography” on the website. It’s unclear how this makes a difference in sourcing materials from across the world in comparison to, say, a non-blockchain ledger or a spreadsheet, and over the past year, blockchains have received fair criticism for being energy intensive and not particularly environmentally friendly. The blockchain in question is Circulor, which claims to have a focus on sustainable supply chains.

But Polestar’s using the tech as window dressing around its larger goal: a sustainable and ethical supply chain. Increasingly, the company is making sure that the materials it’s using in its vehicles come from sources that align with its sustainability values.

Sources for internal seat materials (made of flax fibres), cobalt and aluminium are tracked and verified, supply partners powered by renewable energy are preferred and although vegan leather is the standard external seat material, Johnson says the real leather option is sourced as a “byproduct of meat”, instead of the cow simply being harvested for the leather alone.

“There is so much sustainability built into the vehicles,” Johnson told Gizmodo Australia. “The sustainability is second to none.

“We’re already working towards that climate-neutral vehicle. We’re well on the pathway.”

polestar Porsche australia (3)
The upcoming Polestar 3. Image: Polestar

Polestar’s future

With about 1,265 cars on the road in Australia (according to Johnson), the future bodes well for the Volvo offshoot. Repositioning itself as a Porsche rival, Polestar wants to distance itself from Tesla. It’s not an ‘electric vehicle company’, as much as it’s the sustainable luxury company.

“We’re trying to get out there and let people know what we’re about; beautiful cars, the innovation, the design, really getting that sort of messaging out there,” Johnson added.

The Australian boss hopes that fuel efficiency standards, the current hot topic for EV adoption in Australia, put our country on “a level-playing field with the rest of the world”.

“Australia’s only now just starting on this journey, so we’re so far behind,” she said.

The company doesn’t even see the competition of potentially more EV brands down under as a bad thing, fully acknowledging that creating a more sustainable market isn’t something it can do alone.

“We don’t want dirty cars coming to Australia. We want more EVs and we welcome more competitors in the EV space because that means we’re lowering emissions. It’s a good thing,” Johnson added.

If you’re interested in buying a Polestar 2 in Australia, you’ll have to get in line — up to six months, in fact. The Polestar 3 SUV is expected to launch in Australia in early 2024. The Polestar 4 SUV is expected to launch at the end of 2024.

The company is also opening its first experience store in Chadstone, Victoria soon, with plans to open stores in Sydney and Brisbane.

Even though it’s far from being a cheap car company, Polestar is very likeable. Sustainability first, with a clear focus on an ethical supply chain, it’s an interesting sales pitch from a new business.

Johnson hopes that Polestar’s practices can inspire other car companies to follow similar trends. It’s hard to not agree with that.

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

It’s the most popular NBN speed in Australia for a reason. Here are the cheapest plans available.

At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.