Volvo is reinventing its performance brand to compete with Tesla

Volvo Polestar 1 HybridVolvoPolestar 1.

On Tuesday, Volvo announced that it would transform its Polestar performance sub-brand into an all-electric Tesla competitor.

“Polestar … has today revealed its future as a new standalone electric performance brand,” the Chinese-owned Swedish carmaker said in a statement. (Volvo was bought by China’s Geely during the financial crisis.)

“Polestar has confirmed the company’s first three models, a new purpose-built production facility in China and a new, customer-focussed route to market with all-inclusive subscription-based services that will set a new industry benchmark for performance car buyers,” Volvo added.

Polestar’s vehicles have been impressive — we’ve tested the wagon at Business Insider — but the company now thinks that shifting the brand to an all-electric identity is the way to go.

The first vehicle — called a “halo for the future Polestar brand” by Volvo — will be dubbed “Polestar 1” and be a gas-electric hybrid two-door cranking out 600 horsepower.

“A maximum of 500 cars per year will be built,” Volvo said, adding that all “cars will be offered on a subscription basis, with customers benefitting from the convenience of a single, all-inclusive payment that can be topped up by additional on-demand services if required.”

Volvo introduced the subscription concept when it revealed the new XC40 crossover last month.

Polestar 1 will be followed by Polestars 2 and 3. Polestar 2 will be Volvo’s first all-electric vehicle, the company said, and will take on Tesla’s Model 3. Polestar 3 will be an all-electric SUV.

The all-electric lineup will start production in 2019.

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