Polestar announces more-affordable front-wheel-drive version of the 2

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Polestar is making the 2, its first purely electric car, accessible to a wider audience by launching an entry-level model equipped with a single motor. It also detailed a new heat pump that can increase range by about 10%.

Company boss Thomas Ingenlath pointed out the front-wheel-drive 2 is nearly identical to the all-wheel-drive model inside and out; Polestar's aim wasn't to create a stripped-out base trim with steel wheels and unpainted bumpers. Both versions are built on a 78-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, but the entry point into the lineup ships with one motor that spins the front wheels. It's rated at 231 horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque, down from 408 and 487, respectively, when buyers select all-wheel-drive. Performance numbers haven't been published yet.

As a tradeoff, Polestar estimates the front-wheel-drive 2 will be capable of driving for about 260 miles on a charge, a 27-mile improvement over the dual-motor variant. More range can be unlocked by ordering the optional mechanical heat pump, which uses thermal energy emitted by the drivetrain to heat the cabin. Without it, the heater is powered by the battery pack, so driving range drops in cold weather. Polestar notes the resulting 50% reduction in battery draw for the cabin brings a range improvement of about 10% in temperatures ranging from 40 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Joining the front-wheel-drive 2 is a cheaper all-wheel-drive model fitted with less equipment. It's not rudimentary, though. Standard features include 19-inch wheels, LED lighting elements, an eight-speaker sound system, a digital instrument cluster, and an Android-powered infotainment system displayed on a 11-inch touchscreen.

Motorists who buy a Polestar 2 will have three option packages called Pilot Pack, Performance Pack, and Plus Pack, respectively, to choose from. Pilot bundles driving aids, such as adaptive cruise control and a 360-degree camera. Offered only on the dual-motor model, Performance brings an adjustable Öhlins suspension, Brembo brakes (including low-drag calipers), 20-inch wheels, as well as gold accents. Plus includes the heat pump.

Polestar stated that pricing for the front-wheel-drive 2 is competitive, though it won't release a specific figure until closer to the car's on-sale date. Made in China, the sedan will arrive on America shores at the end of 2021. In the meantime, the Launch Edition model (pictured) remains available with a base price of $61,200 before incentives.

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