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Volvo’s electrified Polestar-badged sports appear certain to zap your senses

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When Volvo bought tuner Polestar in 2015, executives remained tight-lipped about their plans. The Swedish brand has finally broken its silence, announcing Polestar will become a full-blown, high-performance sub-brand that puts an unabashed focus on electrification.

Electric performance is like giving Benjamin Franklin a full pint of Red Bull. A decade ago, the concept of performance without octane seemed downright wild. Companies like Tesla, Porsche, and McLaren have proved the instant torque of an electric motor can be harnessed to provide acceleration figures that are, well … electrifying.

Additional details about what Polestar will become in the coming years are still few and far between. Volvo’s T8 plug-in hybrid drivetrain makes a generous 400 horsepower in its most basic state of tune, and it’s not difficult to imagine that engineers can bump its output by updating the hardware and tweaking the software.

It’s not just about hybrids, though. Volvo is busily developing its very first all-electric car, and it plans to release the model — which hasn’t been given a name yet — no later than 2019. It’s not too far-fetched to speculate that the all-electric car will also get the Polestar treatment. Volvo may not be synonymous with performance, but it’s already shown what it’s capable of with the acclaimed V60 Polestar.

“Polestar will be a credible competitor in the emerging global market for high-performance electrified cars. With Polestar, we are able to offer electrified cars to the world’s most demanding, progressive drivers in all market segments,” promises company boss Håkan Samuelsson. His statement suggests the brand will ultimately develop a full portfolio of products, ranging from nimble city cars to big, family-friendly SUVs.

Volvo put Polestar in capable hands. It appointed Thomas Ingenlath as the division’s CEO. Previously, he worked as the senior vice president of the company’s design department. He’s largely responsible for the design language that defines recent additions to the Volvo lineup, including the XC60.

What we don’t know is when the first Polestar-tuned electrified Volvo will break cover. When it does arrive, it will give established performance brands like Mercedes-AMG and BMW M something to worry about.

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Ronan Glon
Ronan Glon is an American automotive and tech journalist based in southern France. As a long-time contributor to Digital…
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