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a month with the Polestar 2 +3

This review is intended to augment my investment analysis on the private side of this website by providing more color on my family's decision to purchase, and first month with, a Polestar 2.  However, I hope that it and future posts will also be helpful to current and prospective EV owners.

The Decision & Sales Process

Following the installation of solar panels and a Chargepoint (which I've also analyzed for investment purposes) Flex at our house, as well as disgust over required maintenance with our gasoline-powered cars, we decided to get an EV.  Many hybrids look very competitive on paper, but our cheap/easy charging setup and the more complicated mechanical design of hybrids made the full jump a simple decision for us.  Based on my inflation and political predictions, which have been proven correct, we limited the options we were considering to cars which we could actually be driving by year end.  After much analysis & interaction with various representatives, including test drives, our finalists were narrowed down to a Tesla Model 3 and the Polestar 2.

I have significant experience with various Tesla models and expected to wind up with either a Model S or 3.  Direct experience of friends' cars over the past 4 years has indicated that battery degradation was not the issue I had worried about.  Those who have range anxiety, simply look at the stats, or value operational history may very well wind up going with Tesla.  For others that might be be offset by Polestar's more standard charging system, but dongles do the job.  I do many long road trips, so these were considerations for me, along with Polestar's free half hour charging sessions on the Electrify America network for two years.  Mostly though, my old stick shift is still an option, and our EV will get the vast majority of the miles going forward, primarily in the course of local driving.

It was two other factors that eventually swayed us from the Tesla to the Polestar:
  1. Test Drive: Polestar has its roots in Volvo's racing team, and it shows.  The car simply handles better and feels much more solid to me.  My wife is proof positive that this simply won't matter to many people, but I think the car can definitely fill a niche for those who truly enjoy driving. 
  2. Price: The $7500 federal tax credit made a difference.  Tesla has already sold over 200K vehicles and thus is no longer eligible.  Perhaps this will change with Build Back Better, but non-passage in 2021 was one of the things I correctly predicted many months ago.  Polestar is still flying largely under the radar, and has sold only 29K EVs, making it eligible for the credit for some time to come.  This could change after the public listing in the first half of 2022; my private analysis gives markedly different year by year projections than those from the company, based on external data.

Once decided, sales and projected delivery with Polestar were sluggish in the face of increasing demand and obviously a work in progress.  What is clear is a skew towards the automated & streamlined online sales process that has worked for Tesla.  In the end we actually wound up taking one of the few models that was in stock with some nice to have upgrades in order to have the car sooner.

In the ordering process, though, I was nonplussed by the default choice of Black exterior, which any car aficionado knows is the least serviceable color, versus an extra charge for any other choice.  It's a niggle, but perhaps somebody in the organization will read this and make the simple change before the company really goes mass market.  My value-oriented wife also elected to eschew $150 floor mats in favor of a perfectly serviceable and much cheaper third party option, and I love her for that.

Day to Day Experience

Since then we've been completely happy with the car  itself; everything has just worked as expected, including charging during long trips, and the wireless charging tray for my phone.  If I were to really nitpick, I'd point out the very limited rear view, which is mitigated by 360-degree cameras when backing up.  Similarly, in the face of initial disappointment with the responsiveness of certain things like the interior trunk release button, which takes a second and half rather than the half second I would like, I've learned to use sensor operated hands-free under-bumper opening and closing that works as long as a key fob is close.  The panorama roof that was part of our upgrade is also real joy to have. 

Another point that was expected, but is worth mentioning is somewhat more limited range in the cold.  This can be mitigated by pre-warming the car.  That supposedly can be done remotely through the Polestar app, which we haven't even bothered to install.  Although Google's Android Auto has integrated seamlessly with both our (Android) phones, we don't want our car to have any dependency on them.  This was another point of differentiation from the proprietary Tesla system, which pushes a bit more toward lack of physical controls and feels a bit gimmicky to both of us for some things.  Of particular note is the maps, where we see Google as already far superior, and I suspect the same will prove true over time for voice commands given Alphabet's work there.

One final experience that was unexpected, given the lack of obvious branding on the car, is the positive spontaneous reactions I've gotten from people viewing it.  Though most have never heard of Polestar, it has drawn some notice, which I suppose can be positive or negative depending on your disposition.


There have been two upgrades in the short time we've owned the care.  To be honest, while the over-the-air Performance upgrade sounds nice, we don't even know or care whether or not it has been applied.  The acceleration already is a world of difference from gasoline engines.  Shaving a couple of tenths of a second off the mid-range from there matters not at all from a practical standpoint.

Of more interest is the introduction of the Vivaldi web browser just days ago.  I and some of my techie friends enjoy using on it our desktops, and I was eager to add the functionality to the car.  Installation was simple, but the P1.8 version of the operating system upon which it depends has NOT been made available to our car yet.  As a long time open source user and advocate, lack of control and transparency on the car's software is one of the things that put me off all EVs. 

So, Next Up...

Our experience with Polestar customer support, and a mechanism free updates in your Inbox, on the main page.  Check back soon...