Polestar 3 walkaround: up close and personal with the 'SUV for the electric age'

David Linklater
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Thomas Ingenlath (below, on stage) is a rare kind of car company chief executive: a designer rather than a money person. He has worked for Audi, headed up the styling departments of Volkswagen and Skoda and from 2012-17, Volvo. After which he became the boss of the newly formed standalone Polestar EV brand (co-owned by Volvo and parent company Geely).

So you can count on him for a focus on high style (not just his outfits, the cars too) and a more conceptual take on what makes a new model important.

At the big reveal of the Polestar 3 in Copenhagen, Denmark this month (DRIVEN was there, along with 899 other invited international guests), Ingenlath expressed a wish that we could get past a focus on the specifics of EV technology: "For once, tonight... I would love to speak as if we were beyond that already. As if electrification is normal."

But Ingenlath does have some very specific ideas on what makes the Polestar different from what's the most normal genre of vehicle in the world today, the SUV. 

"This car defines the very centre, the heart of Polestar, in terms of size, luxury and ambition and design. If you ever wondered how standalone the brand would be, look at Polestar 3. It was designed from day one as purely Polestar.

"People love SUVs. Why? I think when mankind learned how to ride a horse, and experienced the thrill of sitting high, in command, the  foundation for SUV mania was laid.

"You get in and out easily, you have a great overview from inside, and you feel cool driving them.

"But SUVs can be bad, too. They drink too much, people think they are dangerous and some of them look aggressive. So there is some work to be done. Keep the good, get rid of the bad. Let’s create the SUV for the electric age."

Unsurprisingly, Ingenlath says design is what makes the Polestar 3 forward-looking. The wheelbase is long to fit the large battery (111kWh), but that also allows for extra passenger space. Then you "get rid of the extra seating row" that is normal for large SUVs because the 3 was always going to be a luxurious five, not seven, seater: "This is not a people mover".

But while the 3 has high ground clearance (up to 250mm at full height), the seating positions are more like a car: "A sports car-inspired position, which includes lowering the dashboard. Now we have the space to draw a new, more aerodynamic fast silhouette.

"This is how we transition from the past, to the future of the electric SUV," says Ingenlath. "We preserve the stance, the ground clearance, the high seating position, and combine it with a lower aerodynamic roofline and a sportier position for the driver. We believe Polestar 3 defines the package layout for the electric SUV age."

So the future according to Polestar is an SUV with the ambience and aero detail of a sports car. And don't mention the electric bit, because that's just normal.

Post-launch, we locked ourselves in a big white box to take a closer look at the Polestar 3; watch the video above to see the finer detail.


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