26 September 2023

Playing The Range Game

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By Paul Gover.

There’s a new ‘Ker-ching’ number in the world of cars.

It’s 400 and it marks the bar for any electric car that wants to be considered as more than just a plug-in city runabout.

A 400-kilometre range between full recharging proves a battery-electric-mobile can be considered a genuine replacement for a combustion car in 2022 and beyond, since it will easily handle most driving for most people.

To give some perspective, the original Nissan Leaf struggled to top 120 kilometres between recharging and the first fully-electric ute in Australian showrooms, just launched by the Chinese brand LDV, has a range in the 330-kilometre range.

There are growing number of contenders in the 400 club but they are not cheap, coming with badges including Audi and Porsche and – yes – Tesla, regardless of how good.

So I was keen to look, again, at the Polestar 2.

My first experience in the Polestar universe was with the car called the ‘standard-range, single motor’, a model still available and priced from just under $70,000.

It’s a prestige SUV with obvious family ties to Volvo in Sweden, although the battery system comes from Geely in China.

Now it’s time with the long-range single motor, which has the best claimed range of 551 kilometres for the Polestar 2 and a starting price of $73,000 drive-away.

The price is more than a Tesla Model 3, but similar to the award winning Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5.

It scored with the ‘ker-ching’ range and also with its lovely Swedish design and the solid-on road feel which has always come with a Volvo.

The difference between the Polestar 2 and it’s newer rivals is the sweet Swede is not truly a fully-electric car, despite running only on battery power.

The basic body and chassis are shared with – or taken from – the Volvo XC40. So it’s a ‘conversion’ car and comes with some compromises compared to road-up electric cars boasting brilliant interior space and no compromises from the switch to a combustion engine in the nose to a electric drivetrain.

Even so, the Polestar 2 is proving a big hit in Australia and the brand has much more to come on the new-car front – including an open-topped roadster.

Polestar is certain to be a mover in the electric space and is getting up to speed – fast – with cash from China and the rest of the essentials from Sweden.

My first Polestar 2 experience was very positive, with SUV practicality, spritely performance and enough range for my day-to-day driving.

This time around, the long-ranger easily covered 450 kilometres without needing a re-charge, despite running over a variety of roads from stop-start school pick-ups to a long freeway trip.

So it covers the ‘range anxiety’ worries of many people looking an an electric future, although the cost puts it out of reach for many people. You also have to pay more for a variety of packs, including the ‘Pilot Pack’ that includes a package of extra safety systems that should be standard.

But that’s a minor gripe and the Polestar 2 with long range driveline – and free annual servicing through the five-year warranty period – hits the mark for anyone looking to make an all-in commitment to battery motoring.


Position: long-range electric SUV

Price: $73,000 drive-away

Engine: single electric motor,

Power: 300kW/660Nm

Transmission: single speed

Plus: impressive range, great design and quality

Minus: not cheap

THE TICK: a winner.

Score: 8/10

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