The 2021 Polestar 2 will look and feel a lot like a Volvo, but federal and state regulators won't treat it like one in the U.S. when it comes to qualifying for various green-car incentives.
The biggest incentive is the $7,500 offered as an Internal Revenue Service tax credit for the first 200,000 electric cars sold by an automaker.
"We get the full credit, the $7,500 is there and it's not attached to Volvo," spokesman J.P. Canton told Green Car Reports at a private media unveiling of the Polestar 2 electric sedan in San Francisco. "We have to sell 200,000 Polestars until it runs out."
That leaves the door open for Volvo to earn up to 200,000 of the $7,500 federal credits on its own electric cars (minus the few plug-in hybrids the Swedish brand has sold so far) alongside state, and other credits.
The separate, untapped $7,500 incentive pool could give Polestar a big advantage out of the gate compared to General Motors and Tesla, which have both sold more than 200,000 qualifying vehicles in the U.S.
"Polestar Automotive USA is a separate brand," said Gregor Hembrough, Polestar's head in the U.S., clarifying that the cars will be registered not as Volvos but as Polestars.
The Polestar 2 is a high-riding all-wheel-drive electric sedan that began life as a Volvo concept car intended to replace the S40, but its design was transferred to Polestar. It is fitted with a pair of 150-kilowatt electric motors and a 78-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery stuffed in its driveline tunnel.
The car is expected to go on sale by the end of the second quarter of 2020 in the U.S., initially in West Coast markets. Though select Volvo dealers will actually handle logistics of the Polestar sales, the automaker plans to build gallery-like showrooms staffed with product experts not on commission—similar in concept to those used by Tesla.