The world is on the brink of an electric car revolution, and Sweden’s Polestar wants to be on the front line. Polestar is hoping to do much more than just grab their share of the electric car market; they’re looking to change the world.

While still representing a small percentage (less than 3 percent) of auto ownership as a whole, electric vehicle sales for 2021 are predicted to be substantially higher than in 2020. As projected in cleantechnica.com, EV sales in the United States are expected to rise to 585,375 in 2021, up 70 percent from 2020 (345,285). Already serving U.S. markets including New York City, Los Angeles, San Jose, and Marin County, Polestar will soon be opening retail spaces in Denver and Austin. 

Established just three years ago, Polestar has come remarkably far in such a short time. It helps that Polestar was able to build upon its founder’s business and technology foundations. Polestar was named a Robb Report 2020 “Best of the Best,” and Business Insider named two models, the Polestar 1 hybrid and the Polestar 2 electric car, as their 2020 “Cars of the Year.”

In Europe, Polestar has won Germany’s Golden Steering Wheel, and Car of the Year titles in Norway, Switzerland, and Germany (Luxury).

Innovation and environmental benefits

Listening to Polestar sustainability leader Fredrika Klarén talk about Polestar’s mission, you feel more like you’re listening to an environmental evangelist than an automotive executive.

“This is indisputable: the human race is polluting and overusing the Earth’s resources to a point of unsustainability,” Klarén says. “But we can’t just throw up our hands and give up. Our commitment to sustainability honors that knowledge, and through brave leadership, we are taking action in an uncompromising and relentless way, setting out to do things differently.” 

The team at Polestar is constantly looking for new ways to innovate and develop Earth-friendly technologies. The environmental benefits of electric cars include zero tailpipe emissions and the potential for substantial greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

The Polestar 2, Polestar’s luxury, entirely electric vehicle, is far more sustainable than a traditional internal combustion car. While the manufacturing process for the Polestar is especially energy intensive (due to battery manufacture and development), studies have found that Polestar’s lifetime carbon footprint is significantly smaller than internal combustion engine vehicles.

Polestar also uses blockchain technologies to confirm that responsible and sustainable standards are adhered to in the extraction, processing, and transportation of cobalt, an essential element for electric car batteries.

Sustainability and social responsibility are also at the heart of Polestar 2’s design. The interior features no animal-derived products of any sort. It replaces leather and wool with WeaveTech, a smooth, modern material akin to a wetsuit. The interior trim inlays are sourced from recycled black ash wood.

Design is key to performance, sustainability--and fun

The concept of design is baked deep into Polestar’s DNA. For Polestar, design goes beyond just the aesthetics of their cars. As the Polestar team likes to put it, reducing waste, redefining the use of materials, and creating a hassle-free ownership experience are all by design.

Klarén insists that people don’t mistake sustainability for boring or ugly. On the contrary, design informs everything Polestar does.

“At Polestar we see design as an opportunity for us to redefine premium car ownership and to utilize innovative and more sustainable solutions and materials to create an avant-garde feeling,” she says. “As a business, we feel a responsibility to society; we are the ones who decide how sustainable the car will be over its lifetime, both during production and use. But beyond sustainability, we want a car with sleek, modern, beautiful, and uncompromising design aesthetics.” 

Sustainability drives sales and success

Even Polestar’s sales model is deeply steeped in a design sensibility. Eschewing the notion of a dealership or showroom, Polestar has opened “spaces,” which look more like art galleries than traditional showrooms. In each highly sleek and minimalist setting, there are no salespeople, just experts on hand to answer customer questions as they educate themselves about the cars and even configure one to their individualized specifications.

“Our sales strategy is unique and it’s enabling customers to decide how they want to interact with us-;whenever, wherever, however,” Klarén explains. “Customers can choose a totally digital experience or visit Polestar Spaces to see and experience the physical products. We also have national pricing to add total transparency to customers and remove the uncertainty of price negotiation.”

For Klarén and Polestar, the future seems bright. The passion and determination that have led to Polestar’s meteoric rise is certain to fuel more technological advances and innovation going forward.

“I wanted to contribute to the important journey Polestar has set out on--to reinvent how we make and use cars in a way that improves society,” she says. “The world needs more companies with the courage and insight to be progressive, and I believe consumers trust radical action if you explain why.”