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Volvo and Polestar Will Finally Start Designing EVs Separately

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Photo: Polestar

If your first thought upon seeing the new 2024 Volvo EX90 wasn’t, “Holy shit, lidar!” it was probably something like, “Hang on, didn’t I see this already?” The EX90 shares its platform and powertrain with the Polestar 3, the electric SUV that Volvo’s spinoff brand debuted in October. But beyond the mechanical bits, the two Swedes look similar — too similar, perhaps. Thankfully, according to Volvo’s design chief, this Polestar parity won’t be around much longer.

“We’ve split the studio,” Robin Page, Volvo’s head of design and user experience, told members of the media during the EX90’s debutante ball in Stockholm this week. “The Polestar team are [now] in a separate building.”

Why the breakup? It all comes down to the law. Page said that, following Polestar’s IPO, the two companies “legally” needed to separate their design teams. “We worked in the same studio for Polestar 1, 2 and 3,” Page said. “With Polestar 3 we started to grow the Polestar design team, but after the IPO is when we split them.”

A quick refresher: The Polestar 1 was essentially a road-going version of the absolutely gorgeous 2013 Volvo Coupe concept, and the Polestar 2 is basically a production version of the Volvo 40.2 concept from 2016. That the Volvo EX90 and Polestar 3 are so closely related is hardly a shock based on this history.

Will things change going forward? “Yeah, absolutely,” Page said. “Both brands have very strong design identities [and] we can easily split our design languages.” Even for these new SUVs, Page points out that the Polestar is a five-seater and the EX90 can seat seven. “It’s not like we’re doing the same proportions.”

That bodes well for the upcoming Polestar 5 — a super-slick EV based on 2020’s Precept concept car. Photos of the prototype have already proved the 5 won’t look like any Volvo that’s come before. And with a supposed 884 horsepower on tap, you best believe it won’t drive like one, either.

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