Working with another brand means there will be arm twisting for the industry, says Callum. The challenge is to hide any possible similarities: “To be fair to the production teams, they will be told to use many of the same things, such as screens. But, for example, do not use the same switches on the outside. We argued this between Jaguar and Land Rover. Even the mechanics of the switch can being common on the ground, which is good, their courage and sensitivity should be different. These are the areas that need to be protected.”
What matters is how each type presents its wisdom. In fact, the platform and powertrain share something new. The VW Golf R shares a platform and engine with the Audi S3, while its design and character are very different. The placement of the former market is not as successful as the latter, even under the skin. Looking closer to the brand, the VW iD3 shares its platform and technology (right down to its terrible infotainment system) with the Cupra Born—yet the images of the two models are no longer distinguishable. One presents himself as intellectual, while the other is playful. Beyond that, Kia’s EV6, Genesis GV60, and Hyundai’s Ionic 5 all share the same platform, dimensions, and powertrains, yet they promise and deliver different experiences.
“Polestar is interesting because it’s a very similar product to Volvo,” says Harrow. “I thought that when the brand started, they would make different products. But with the increase in wealth and the ability to share platforms, the inevitable happens, and they start making similar cars.”
“What they’re trying to do is elevate the Polestar a little bit above the Volvo, so it’s closer to the top brand,” says Harrow. “But the problem with all of these companies is, how do you create new revenue when all things are the same? Devices are becoming scarcer. Digital enhancements are very important to brands here. So we’re in a different category.”
Which brings us back to the EX90’s main selling point, its famous, brilliant lidar sensor. Considering what Volvo is saying, this is no surprise to Callum: “That’s Volvo’s style. Obviously, they’re not compromising on safety. If it means putting a funny box on the roof to do it, they’ll do it.”
The same should happen if the Volvo and Polestar competition is more stable, more clean, or more green. But for Callum that’s where things go wrong: “These two things are in the same place. One was created to be the electronic version of the other, but now they are all of them electronics. To be honest, I think they’ve had a hard time. Polestar should focus, perhaps, on the fun, sporty side of life instead of a more formal, family-oriented lifestyle.
Harrow agrees and cites the recently announced Polestar 6 as a first step in that direction. “Polestar has a very different idea of what the brand can be,” he says. “And the way things are going, it may start to leave Volvo. But I doubt it at the moment, because they need to make a profit, which is inevitable and share a lot of products and parts of the product.”