Hi there! With electric vehicles entering the mainstream, new automakers are emerging to challenge the status quo. Two of the most exciting are Polestar and Lucid Motors. In this in-depth comparison, we’ll look at how these electric vehicle makers stack up across all metrics. I‘ll provide insightful research and analysis to help you understand the key differences between Polestar and Lucid.
Polestar was established in 2017 as the electric performance brand of Volvo Cars. Lucid Motors was founded in 2007 as Atieva and recently began delivery of its first model, the ultra-luxury Air sedan.
While both focus on luxury electric vehicles, Polestar aims for a more mass-market appeal with competitive pricing starting under $50,000. Lucid targets the high-end market with prices from $87,400-$169,000.
Polestar benefits from the resources and stability of its parent Volvo and has quickly expanded production and retail locations. Meanwhile, Lucid has struggled to ramp up manufacturing as a new standalone company.
Overall, Polestar currently provides the most well-rounded and obtainable luxury EV option for most buyers. But Lucid‘s cutting-edge technology and focus on high-performance make it a fascinating startup to watch.
Polestar has roots dating back to 1996 as a racing team working with Volvo. In 2015, Volvo Cars acquired 100% of Polestar and repositioned it as an electric performance brand. Lucid Motors was founded as Atieva in 2007 to develop EV battery tech, later shifting to vehicle production.
Here is a snapshot of the early histories of both companies:
|Brand||Founded||Early Focus||Ownership||HQ Location|
|Polestar||1996||Swedish racing team||Subsidiary of Volvo||Gothenburg, Sweden|
|Lucid||2007||EV batteries and powertrains||Independent startup||Newark, CA|
This background shapes the current positioning and advantages of each brand. Let‘s explore further:
The origins of Polestar trace back to the 1990s with a Swedish racing team collaborating with Volvo called Flash Engineering, later renamed to Polestar Racing. As an independent partner, Polestar helped Volvo develop high-performance concept cars and racing versions of production models.
In 2015, Volvo Cars acquired 100% ownership of Polestar and reorganized it into a standalone electric performance car company. Geely, a Chinese automotive group, had purchased Volvo Cars from Ford in 2010.
So while Polestar now operates separately under CEO Thomas Ingenlath, it benefits from the financial resources and manufacturing capacity of Volvo and Geely. Polestar is headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden where vehicles are designed, while production takes place in China.
The first Polestar-branded vehicle was the low-volume Polestar 1 hybrid coupe in 2019. But the focus quickly shifted to all-electric cars like the Polestar 2 fastback sedan.
Lucid Motors History
Lucid Motors was founded in 2007 in Newark, California under the name Atieva by CEO Peter Rawlinson and CTO Sam Weng.
The company initially focused on developing battery technology and power trains for electric vehicles. It supplied components to racing teams and automakers like Mercedes-Benz that were developing early EV prototypes.
In 2016, Atieva changed its named to Lucid Motors and made the strategic decision to produce luxury electric vehicles under the new Lucid brand.
Lucid Motors constructed a $700 million manufacturing facility in Casa Grande, Arizona capable of producing 34,000 vehicles annually. It aims to eventually expand output to 400,000 units per year.
The company went public in 2021 via a merger with a SPAC led by financier Michael Klein. The deal provided over $4 billion in growth capital to fund Lucid‘s expansion.
Lucid Motors has embarked on an ambitious plan to compete directly against Tesla in the high-end luxury EV segment. Deliveries of its first vehicle, the Lucid Air sedan, began slowly in late 2021.
Polestar‘s lineup includes the Polestar 1 hybrid coupe, Polestar 2 fastback sedan, and the upcoming Polestar 3 electric SUV. Lucid‘s only current production model is the luxury Air sedan.
As of mid-2022, Polestar has two all-electric models on the market:
- Polestar 1 – A low-volume (1,500 units) gasoline-hybrid coupe grand tourer producing 619 hp. Production ceased in 2021.
- Polestar 2 – A fully electric fastback sedan available with single or dual motor AWD powertrains producing up to 408 hp. The Polestar 2 debuted in 2020 and is Polestar‘s high volume core model.
Polestar has also revealed initial details of its next vehicle:
- Polestar 3 – An electric SUV set to launch in October 2022. The 3 will feature dual motor performance versions with over 500 hp and enhanced autonomous driving capabilities enabled by LIDAR sensors.
The Polestar 3 will compete with the Tesla Model X and upcoming electric SUVs from established luxury brands like Audi.
The Lucid Air is the automaker‘s debut model and only current production vehicle. Deliveries of the Air began slowly in late 2021.
The Air is a large luxury electric sedan offered in four progressively more powerful and expensive trim levels:
- Air Pure – $87,400 starting MSRP, single motor RWD, 480 hp, 410 mile range
- Air Touring – $107,400 starting MSRP, dual motor AWD, 620 hp, 425 mile range
- Air Grand Touring – $154,000 starting MSRP, dual motor AWD, 800 hp, 516 mile range
- Air Dream Edition – $169,000 MSRP, dual motor AWD, 1,111 hp, 471 mile range, limited to 520 units
The Dream Edition serves as Lucid‘s ultra-high-end halo model showcasing the company‘s advanced EV powertrain technology.
Lucid is expected to follow up the Air with an electric SUV in 2024 codenamed "Project Gravity."
A look at base MSRP shows Polestar occupying a more affordable luxury segment, while Lucid aims for the high-end market.
The Sweden-based brand positions itself as a credible performance luxury brand, while keeping prices relatively attainable:
- Polestar 1 – $156,500
- Polestar 2 – Starts at $45,900
- Polestar 3 (expected) – Base model approx. $75,000
This pricing strategy by Polestar allows their premium EVs to compete for buyers cross-shopping options like the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y.
Alternatively, the hand-built Lucid Air is priced upmarket alongside established luxury marques:
- Air Pure – From $87,400
- Air Touring – From $107,400
- Air Grand Touring – From $154,000
- Air Dream Edition – $169,000
Lucid pricing is aligned with competing in the high-end luxury segment against brands like Mercedes, BMW, and Porsche. This allows Lucid to generate stronger margins per vehicle, albeit with lower sales volume potential.
Polestar vehicles can be purchased directly online or at an increasing number of retail locations. Lucid has struggled with production constraints and long waitlists.
As of mid-2022, the electric car brand Polestar operates 106 retail locations across 25 countries, including 25 spaces in the US. By the end of 2022, Polestar intends to grow its retail footprint to 150 worldwide locations.
This expanding brick-and-mortar presence combines with online direct ordering. Shoppers can browse Polestar inventory online, customize a build, and schedule test drives.
Thanks to parent company Volvo, Polestar has also rapidly increased production capacity. It delivered approximately 21,000 vehicles globally in the first half of 2022.
Polestar aims for 290,000 units annually by the end of 2025. This growth will be propelled by the new Polestar 3 SUV.
Meanwhile, Lucid Motors is still early in the process of expanding manufacturing capacity and retail presence for the Lucid Air:
- Lucid plans to open 20 North American retail and service locations by end of 2022. Currently it has 10 showrooms.
- The company‘s Casa Grande, AZ production plant is capable of producing 34,000 Airs annually. Lucid aims to eventually reach 400,000 units per year.
- Lucid delivered just 125 vehicles to customers in 2021, followed by 679 units in the first half of 2022.
- New orders won‘t be delivered until late 2023 due to long reservation backlogs. Recently released base Air Pure models are already booked into 2024.
Lucid has struggled with production constraints as a new company. But it aims to ramp up Arizona factory output to 90,000 vehicles in 2023 as manufacturing processes mature.
Let‘s compare the interior and exterior styling of the Polestar and Lucid models. Both brands embrace minimalist Scandinavian-inspired aesthetics.
Polestar vehicles feature athletic stances and dynamic forward-looking exteriors as envisioned by chief Polestar designer Maximilian Missoni.
Signature elements include:
- Sculpted surfacing with taught, muscled rear haunches
- Low, wide front grille housing Polestar badge
- Sweeping "Thor‘s hammer" LED headlights
- Panoramic glass roof and elongated rear window
Interiors balance sporting sensibilities with simplicity using:
- Sport seat contours and racing-inspired details
- Natural, sustainable interior materials like microtech fabric made from recycled bottles
- Central touchscreen display
- Digital instrument cluster
This aesthetic carries over to the upcoming Polestar 3 electric SUV, translating into a more upright yet still dynamic shape.
Lucid Air exteriors utilize a "womb like" teardrop shape perfected in wind tunnels to cheat the air. The interior focuses on space and luxury appointments.
Exterior design highlights include:
- Low, wide stance and elongated proportions for aero efficiency
- Smoothed contours with flush door handles and glasshouse
- 5,000 intricately designed exterior micro-surfaces
- 34-inch wraparound Glass Canopy roof
- Available forged 22-inch Aero Sport wheels
Inside, the Lucid prioritizes luxury, space, and an airy feel:
- Executive rear seats with 55 inches of legroom
- Natural wood and aluminum accents
- Glass Canopy roof floods cabin with light
- Available extended leather trim and 34-speaker audio
- Pilot Panel with aircraft-style controls
- Battlefield-inspired 34-inch floating Glass Cockpit display
The interior embraces a greater sense of style and luxury finishing compared to Polestar‘s stricter Scandinavian vibe.
Early reviews praise the Air‘s handsome exterior surfacing and expansive, welcoming interior.
Performance & Range
Performance-oriented brands, Polestar and Lucid aim to raise the bar for EV power and range. But their approaches differ.
While capable of impressive output, Polestar balances performance with accessibility. The dual motor Polestar 2 epitomizes this philosophy:
- 408 hp and 487 lb-ft torque
- 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds
- Top speed of 127 mph
- EPA range of 249 miles (single motor Polestar 2 starts at $47,200 and 265 miles of range)
The all-wheel torque vectoring dual motor system provides exhilarating acceleration. Yet the Polestar 2 is priced affordably for a 69 kWh performance luxury EV.
Upcoming SUVs like the dual motor Polestar 3 will offer 500+ hp with even quicker acceleration times. But raw horsepower numbers are not the focus.
Alternatively, the Lucid Air employs a formula of maximizing horsepower and range, achieved by cutting-edge in-house technology advancements.
- Up to 1,111 hp and 0-60 mph in 2.5 seconds (Dream Edition)
- 113 kWh battery pack with new tabless compact winding architecture
- 900+ volt electrical architecture
- Official EPA range of up to 520 miles (Dream Edition R trim)
With hypercar rivaling power and Tesla-beating driving range from the top versions, Lucid emphasizes world-class EV engineering prowess.
Of course achieving this extreme high performance requires a premium price and low production volume. Lucid has chosen to focus on the bleeding edge of EV capability first.
Technology & Driver Assistance
Advanced tech and driver assistance systems are a priority for both luxury electric automakers.
Leveraging close ties with Volvo, Polestar benefits from proven safety systems and infotainment while adding its own innovations.
- Android Automotive OS powers the 11-inch center display
- Google Assistant voice controls integrated natively
- Digital key with phone app for key sharing & access
- Continuous OTA updates deliver new features and performance enhancements
- Advanced Pilot Assist driver assistance system (adaptive cruise control and lane centering up to 80 mph)
- Collision avoidance technologies like blind spot monitoring
The Polestar 3 introduces even greater autonomy with LiDAR and more advanced computing power.
Alternatively, Lucid developed its software and technology completely in-house to ensure tight integration.
The Air features:
- A 34-inch floating Glass Cockpit display for greatest in-car display area ever
- DreamDrive Pro ADAS suite with 32 onboard sensors
- 21-speaker Surreal Sound system with Dolby Atmos
- DC fast charging adds up to 300 miles of range in just 20 minutes
- Bidirectional charging to power your home or return energy to the grid
- Integrated Alexa voice control
- Over-the-air update capability
Lucid built a technology stack natively designed around an EV. This provides full control over the user experience.
Verdict: Which is the Better Luxury Electric Vehicle?
So in this battle between exciting new EV makers, should you choose Polestar or Lucid Motors?
For most electric car shoppers, I believe Polestar currently provides the most well-rounded combination of practicality and progressive luxury EV attributes.
Reasons to opt for Polestar:
- More affordable pricing while still premium
- Proven manufacturing and supply chain via Volvo
- Wider availability of purchase locations and service centers
- Ability to fulfill new orders without long delays
Lucid Motors shows immense potential for the future as it matures. Compelling reasons to get a Lucid Air:
- Cutting-edge EV battery tech enabling incredible performance
- Truly high-end luxury features and options
- Beautiful interior design and luxury materials
- Strong prospects as Lucid expands models and production
Both companies aim to shake up the luxury electric car market in different ways. For buyers seeking accessible performance and progressive style, Polestar delivers excellent execution on affordable luxury EVs today. Tech-savvy early adopters will be drawn to the futuristic engineering and ultra-luxury experience of the forward-looking Lucid Air.
No matter your preference, the emergence of Polestar and Lucid pushes the entire industry to new heights – a win for electric vehicle enthusiasts overall.
Let me know if you would like me to expand or clarify any part of this comparison. I aimed to provide an insider‘s perspective with stats and details to demonstrate an evidence-based analysis. Please feel free to share any other insights I should cover!