Polestar Vs Tesla: Battle Of The EVs< Back to blog
We want to find out once and for all which EV manufacturer makes the best zero-emission cars on sale today. To decide the winner we’ve compared the key components of both brand’s flagship models, including price, features, safety, battery/motor performance and range, and design/build quality.
Read on to find out whether Polestar or Tesla is the winner of Moneyshake’s Battle of the EVs.
Polestar 1 vs Tesla Model S
The subsidiary of Volvo, Polestar, is trying its hand at operating as a standalone EV (electric vehicle) manufacturer. Starting off its range is the Sino-Swedish car maker’s ‘crown jewel’ model: the Polestar 1. Technically it’s a plug-in hybrid car, meaning that its engine combines petrol and electric power in order to propel it forwards.
On the other hand, the Tesla Model S is a full electric car which uses two motors – one in the front axel, the other in the rear – plus a massive battery pack to rotate the wheels.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at whether Polestar or Tesla comes out on top in the first battle.
How a car scores in terms of its exterior looks is arguably subjective to each person. Nevertheless, we can still look at the quality of the materials on show in the Polestar 1 and Tesla Model S in order to fairly decide which one wins in this category.
Let’s start with the Polestar 1.
As standard you get a fixed panoramic glass roof that stretches across the length and the width of the entire car. Not only does it look great from the outside thanks to its smooth, continuous appearance, but the use of glass makes the car look very futuristic and unique. What’s more is that this allows lots of light to flood into the cabin, creating an airy ambient vibe for those inside.
Above all else, the Polestar 1 has a boldness about its design that starts with its angular body lines running the length of the car, sleek LED headlights and strikingly low profile. Christening this distinctive silhouette is an aggressive grille which could almost be passed as serrated shark teeth.
By contrast, the Tesla Model S goes for the more refined approach. For starters, it’s longer, wider and taller than the Polestar – undoubtedly in order to create spaces in the rear for three people, whereas its rival can only fit two in the back.
However, interestingly the Model S’s cleaner and more ironed out design has leant itself to the aerodynamic performance of the vehicle. Namely, it has the lowest drag coefficient (0.24) of any car in its class, which is remarkable when you consider the much smaller, lighter Mercedes A-Class beats any production car in this respect (0.22).
Find out how designs of both these cars reflects performance further down in this piece.
Nothing is quite as jaw-dropping as the lavish simplicity of Tesla’s interiors for its cars. The Model S is no different, with a massive 17″ high-res colour touchscreen dominating the cockpit that controls everything from your music and sat nav, to the interior climate and headlights. It’s a system which pips the ones used in rival models in terms of usability and visual quality.
Other than the smaller digital driver’s display behind the steering wheel that shows you things like battery level/remaining range, efficiency and the status of operating systems, there’s very little inside that’s intended to be outright snazzy or luxurious.
Unfortunately when you look beyond the Model S’s iPad infotainment system and futuristically laid out clean dash, build quality isn’t as ‘wow’ as you’d expect for a car that starts from £76,990. Vegan leather is used throughout, but it feels concerningly frail when you compare it to real hide.
On the contrary, Polestar 1 models take a lot of design cues from its luxury Volvo relatives.
Each model uses fine Nappa leather upholstery and other bespoke material trims along the dashboard/door sills that are nice to touch. They also raise the atmosphere inside, something which the various contrasting colour options do well.
Looking for ludicrous performance from your EV? Tesla might just have what you’re looking for in the form of the jaw-droppingly quick Performance model of the Model 3 – its slightly smaller, more affordable sibling.
Check out our review of the Tesla Model 3 Performance below to see if it tickles your fancy.
Space isn’t just an obsession of Elon Musk’s in terms of planetary exploration. It’s also what the Tesla CEO and chief designer must drill into his production team when putting together the concept for his new cars.
The Model S is a shining example of this, with copious amounts of interior room for those up top and passengers in the rear.
There’s plenty of front-seat adjustments you can make to get your ideal driving position, while the lounge-like flat floor in the back makes it possible to sit three adults abreast. Tesla seems to have taken the middle passenger into consideration too by providing three identical seats in the back, so those sat there will have just as much room and comfort as those either side of them.
A trunk and a ‘frunk’ (as the Americans would call it) make up the Model S’s cargo space. In the back there’s 804 litres with all seats in place, plus an extra 150 litres under the bonnet – space freed up from not having a conventional combustion engine here.
Moving over to the Polestar 1 and things don’t look as rosy for the competition. Not only does the 2+2 configuration of the seats mean you have to carry one less passenger than the Model S, but the car’s smaller dimensions, narrow back end and low roofline mean it doesn’t promise a very roomy experience in the back either.
If you do sit in the back, you’re probably a small child or a piece of hand luggage, as these are the only two things suitably placed here. However, in better news the front promises plenty of leg and headroom for front passenger and driver, while the latter will have a commanding view of the road that would instil confidence into any driver.
A 126-litre boot is barely enough for a weekly shop, especially when you consider many city cars have more than this. Albeit, if you use the back seats as additional storage space you can curb that problem easily.
Because the Polestar 1 is part of the Volvo family, there’s a lot of the advanced safety systems as standard that you’ll find in the likes of its most premium models, such as the chief models XC40, XC60 and XC90. Included in this package are ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) such as automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, road sign information, lane-keeping assistance, cross-traffic alert, steering assistance to help you avoid collisions with other cars, and road sign recognition.
Although Euro NCAP are yet to give the Polestar 1 a star rating for its safety systems, it’s likely that it will achieve the coveted five stars that its Volvo relatives accomplished in their relative tests.
Tesla is no slouch when it comes to safety, with its market-leading AutoPilot system pioneering what we now know as ‘driverless cars’.
We’d be wrong to suggest that the Tesla Model S is a driverless car – it isn’t. However, the plethora of functions it does have are deemed ‘semi-autonomous’ and are some of the most ultra-modern features of any car.
Eight surround cameras offer 360-degree visibility around the Model S as far as 250 metres, while at the same time 12 ultrasonic sensors detect objects, pedestrians and other vehicles at double this distance. As well as doing what the Polestar 1 does, Tesla’s flagship model has neat tricks under its sleeve such as automatic ‘park seek mode’ where it will find a space and park itself once you get to your destination and get out of the car. You’ll even be able to summon the car to you using your mobile phone’s compatible app.
Price and conclusions
Given that the Polestar 1 is nearly two times the price of even the entry-level Model S (starting from £139,000), it’s hard to justify the additional spend when you consider how much the latter has going for it.
In outright performance, practicality and safety, Tesla comes up trumps in this EV battle. So, if you’re looking for an all-round vehicle that can serve as an environmentally-friendly family car that can give it some welly, no doubt you’ll be more than happy with the Model S’s offering.
Where the Polestar redeems itself is with its stunning design, plus the way it keeps running costs to a bare minimum without the need to go full electric. This will appeal to those car buyers that want to take a ‘halfway step’ and choose a hybrid model before impending government legislation eventually forces everybody to make the switch to an EV.
Official CO2 emissions figures for the Polestar 1 stand at an impressively low 15g/km, while fuel economy is 403.6mpg. So, you’re bound to get plenty of miles from the 60-litre petrol tank and 78-mile electric-only battery capacity, especially if you make the most of the latter when you’re on local roads or in the city.
If you’re leaning more towards the Model S, you should know that choosing one from Tesla’s existing stock will mean that you get free access to the brand’s supercharger network. Bespoke models will be charged at a rate of £0.24p per kWh using these types of chargers, which is equivalent to £19.20 for an 80% charge.
Interested in getting your hands on one of these leading EV manufacturers’ amazing cars, but don’t want to fork out a large upfront cost? Check out Moneyshake Polestar car leasing deals and Tesla car leasing deals to see how much you could save each month on a brand-new model.
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