Polestar’s fourth vehicle, the aptly named Polestar 4 compact SUV, made its debut today at the Shanghai Auto Show. When it’s released, it will likely compete with luxury heavy hitters like the Tesla Model Y, BMW iX, and Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV.
The Polestar 4 is a coupe-style SUV with a targeted range over 300 miles, a substantial 102kWh battery, and a starting price of $60,000. It will be positioned in size and price between the Swedish brand’s Polestar 2 fastback and upcoming Polestar 3 SUV. And it will go on sale first in China starting in late 2023, followed by North America in 2024.
Along with the Polestar 3, the Polestar 4 signals an acceleration of the company’s ambitions to broaden its lineup, reach more customers, and compete more aggressively. Polestar is somewhat unique in the EV landscape, backed by Volvo and its Chinese parent Geely, which have largely helped insulate the startup from broader financial pressures. While rivals like Lucid and Rivian have been hit by supply chain and production problems, Polestar has posted comparatively positive sales numbers in recent quarters.
The Polestar 4 is designed to highlight the company’s commitment to design, technology, and performance. Slightly smaller than the Polestar 3 but higher off the ground than the Polestar 2, the compact SUV will come in all-wheel and rear-wheel drive variants. One of the most distinctive features is the total absence of a rear window, which Polestar argues “enables a new kind of immersive rear occupant experience.” Ambient lighting “inspired by the solar system” is intended to elevate the back seat ride quality even more.
Getting rid of the rear windshield obviates the need for a rearview mirror, so Polestar has instead included a high-definition screen that shows a live feed from a roof-mounted rear camera. The company argues this enables “a far wider field of view than what can be experienced in most other cars.”
Along with the Polestar 3, the Polestar 4 signals an acceleration of the company’s ambitions to broaden its lineup
The Polestar 4 will be built on the Sustainable Experience Architecture, a new open-source platform developed by Geely that’s also utilized by brands like Lynk & Co. A premium SUV, the 4 will have a large body and long 2,999mm (118 inch) wheelbase. Overall length is 4,839mm (490 inch), width is 2,139mm, and height is 1,544mm (60.7 inch).
But rather than try to cram in a cramped third row, Polestar said it’s focused on “generous interior proportions,” especially for rear passengers. Given that the EV will be available first in China, a country where a lot of wealthy people like to be driven around, the Polestar 4 appears to be designed with chauffeurs in mind.
But the Polestar 4 wasn’t built for bumper-to-bumper traffic or boring office trips. The company says it will be its fastest production car to date, with a zero to 62mph sprint time of 3.8 seconds and a maximum power output of 400kW or 544 horsepower. Both dual- and single-motor versions will be available, with single-motor versions featuring rear-wheel drive. The 102kWh battery is fitted to both long-range versions. A disconnect clutch allows the car to disengage the front electric motor when not needed to maximize range and efficiency.
Getting rid of the rear windshield “enables a new kind of immersive rear occupant experience”
The Polestar 4 can support up to 200kW DC fast charging and 22kW AC charging. Like the Polestar 3, the 4 will be fitted with bidirectional charging with vehicle-to-load (V2L) capability for external device charging. And a heat pump is fitted as standard, allowing the car to capitalize on ambient heat when preconditioning the cabin and battery. The long-range single-motor version features a 200kW (272hp) and 343Nm (253 lb-ft) motor at the rear and a preliminary range target of over 300 miles, based on EPA estimates.
The Polestar 4’s infotainment system will be powered by Android Automotive OS and the Qualcomm Snapdragon Cockpit, as well as Mobileye’s SuperVision Advanced Driver Assistance System. A total of 12 cameras as well as one radar and 12 ultrasonic sensors are fitted as standard. This includes a driver monitoring camera, which only relays data and does not record video, to monitor the driver’s eyes and head movements to help avoid incidents related to fatigue or incapacitation.
All of those features will be accessible on the Polestar 3’s portrait-style 14.7-inch center touchscreen. A 10.2-inch instrument cluster behind the steering wheel will display pertinent information like speed and drive mode as well as offer turn-by-turn directions. And over-the-air updates will ensure the Polestar 4 is always running on the latest version of the company’s software.
But a couple of big supplier names are missing, including Luminar, suggesting the Polestar 4 won’t be as technologically advanced as the company’s midsize SUV. Like the Polestar 3, the Polestar 4’s design language is inspired by the Polestar Precept, a concept sedan that was meant to set the stage for the company’s future. Polestar has made further commitments to environmental production, claiming that it will eventually build the world’s first truly zero-emissions vehicle without relying on carbon offsets, which it described as a “cop-out.”
The company has yet to announce details about North American production. But if the company wants to qualify for the $7,500 tax credit, it will need to assemble it in North America as well as figure out a supply chain that’s independent from China.
Still, Polestar remains somewhat of a boutique operation, exceeding its goal of 50,000 deliveries for 2022, despite covid shutdowns in China and supply chain woes continuing to take their toll. Quality also remains a challenge for the relatively new company.
Update April 18th 2:40PM ET: The Polestar 4’s advanced driver assist system is supplied by Mobileye and it’s infotainment system is powered by Qualcomm. A previous version of this story referenced the wrong suppliers.