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Polestar 2 goes RWD! Big change set for late 2023 release in Australia


In a move that would be nearly unfeasible in a combustion vehicle, the Polestar 2 has shifted from front- to rear-wheel drive as part of a model year update

Polestar has announced that single-motor variants of its Polestar 2 liftback will shift to rear-wheel-drive and receive more power and more range as part of the mainstream EV’s 2024 model year update.

Although official specifications are yet to be confirmed for our market, the changes are largely expected to carry over to Australia when the updated Polestar 2 arrivals locally in the third quarter of this year – between July and September.

2024 Polestar 2 rear top
Polestar has switching from FWD to RWD on its more affordable grades

The switch to a rear-drive layout on the Polestar 2s more affordable grades brings the Polestar 2 into line with popular rivals such as the Tesla Model 3 sedan and the Kia EV6 midsize SUV. 

Quicker acceleration, more power in RWD models

The switch to a RWD layout has not only seen the position of the drivetrain shifted but also the adoption of a newly developed rear motor producing 220kW/490Nm – substantial, 30-40 percent increases over the outgoing 170kW/330Nm FWD model.

The net gain of this increase and drivetrain layout change will see the Polestar 2 single motor’s 0-100km/h time slashed by a dramatic 1.2 seconds down to a hot hatch-quick 6.2 seconds.

2024 Polestar 2 side
A newly developed electric motor sits on the rear axle

Polestar has also adopted this motor in the AWD dual-motor variant, boosting that car’s maximum outputs to 310kW/740Nm (up from 300kW/660Nm), with the new setup said to provide a more rear-biased driving demeanour with greater traction.

Similarly, the dual motor’s 0-100km time is reduced to 4.5 seconds with the optional performance pack boosting the outputs up to 350kW, and trimming the acceleration time even further to 4.2 seconds – where the Polestar 2 will be in the hunt for the Kia EV6 GT.

Improved battery packs with longer range

Polestar says that both its 69kWh standard-range battery and 82kWh-usable (up from 78kWh) long-range battery packs have been improved and are now more efficient than before.

2024 Polestar 2 wheel
Both battery types have been upgraded and are now more efficient

As a result, the Polestar 2 standard range RWD can travel a claimed 40km further than before at up to 518km (according to WLTP), while the long range RWD variant is rated to travel 635km on a single charge – a jump of 84km (claimed).

But the biggest increase is awarded to the long range AWD, which jumps up a huge 105km with a claimed ability to travel 592km on a single charge.

The revised battery packs have also seen the 69kWh pack able to charge at up to 135kW, while the 82kWh can be topped up at speeds reaching 205kW.

The long range dual motor variant can now travel 592km on a single charge

When the updated Polestar 2 range arrives in Australia in Q3 2023, Chasing Cars will perform our independent highway range and charging tests on the RWD and AWD variants to confirm the new claims.

Increased pricing likely for Australia

While we don’t know for sure that the Polestar 2 will go up in price in Australia it’s almost certain to happen and the changes made in the UK give a good indication as to what local buyers can expect.

Increases of between 4.17 and 6.86 percent have been observed in the UK market, which features a similar line-up of single- and dual-motor variants built in right-hand-drive.

It’s likely that we’ll see the Polestar 2 increase in price

If these increases are adopted by Australia’s local line-up, the Polestar 2 single motor standard range will increase from its current $63,900 (before on-roads) entry price to roughly $66,560 if a 4.17 percent rise is applied locally.

An increase of 5.38 per cent to the single-motor, long-range variant could bump the Australian price from $68,400 to roughly $72,370, while the dual-motor variant sees the biggest increase of 6.86 percent and could jump from $73,400 to circa-$78,430. 

Polestar Australia has confirmed that local pricing will be released in the second quarter of the year at which point buyers will be able to place an order for the new stock, which is set to arrive between July and September.