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Polestar 1 electric range falls well below initial estimates

Polestar touted a 93-mile range when the coupe debuted three years ago, but the EPA found it to come in far less than that.

2020 Polestar 1
The 1 won't go as far as once thought.
Steven Ewing/Roadshow

To borrow some words from Roadshow Managing Editor Steve Ewing, the Polestar 1 is gorgeous, but it doesn't necessarily break any ground for the newly minted brand. It's a plug-in hybrid, while all future Polestar models will be purely electric, and it makes some compromises for the $155,000 price. As my colleague wrote, the 1 is more like a rolling billboard.

What the Polestar 1 did have going for it when it debuted in 2017 was an estimated electric range more than any other plug-in hybrid on the market at the time. The company touted a 93-mile electric-only range, which was greater than some purely electric cars sold years ago. The EPA, however, found the range is much lower, with an estimate of 52 miles to a charge.

The figure is somewhat disappointing after the hype, but it's also taken Polestar some time to put the 1 into production -- likely thanks to its highly complex carbon-fiber chassis. Today, there are plenty of plug-in hybrids that rival the range. The top dog was the now-discontinued Chevy Volt and its 53-mile range estimate, though a handful of new cars still sit at dealers. The BMW i3 REx serves as the PHEV range heir with a 126-mile electric range before a tiny gasoline engine kicks in to carry drivers home. For a (much) cheaper option, the Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid will return 48 miles on a charge.

At the end of the day, the range, price and overall package isn't a deal breaker. There will only be 1,500 Polestar 1 coupes made, kind of as an inaugural present for the brand. The future starts with the number 2, as in the Polestar 2 and its mission to take on the Tesla Model 3.

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