I’m semi in the market for a new EV as the Model 3 has let me down (will cover that in a separate post) and with the recent Tesla price hike, I could probably sell mine for what I paid for it and the new owner would still save money off a new one and not have to wait 6-9 months.
There are a raft of videos on YouTube comparing the Model 3 to the Polestar 2. Dunno why but everyone pitched it as a “Model 3 killer”, so of all the EVs out there, the Polestar 2 has the most head to head videos between it and the Model 3.
The Polestar 2 just went on sale in Australia and there’s a few “in-stock” for delivery in mid-April. I’ve got a test drive booked in so I can see for myself what the car is like to sit in and drive, but figured I’d see what the YouTubers reckon. Here’s what I found:
Autogefühl - “which car do I want to have in my garage and to drive with - there I rather tend towards the Polestar 2”
Kris Rifa - “one clear winner, the Polestar 2”
The Smoking Tire - “I like Teslas, but this feels like a better built, solid thing”
Electrica Live - “it’s better to drive, more practical, I think the Polestar is a better bet”
What Car? - “it’s only really on interior quality where it convincingly beats the Tesla, in all other areas the Model 3 has the upper hand”
Carwow - “bit nicer, Supercharger, cheaper”
AutoTrader - “faster, drivers better, better practicality, better charging network, ticks all the boxes you want not onliny in an electric car, but a good family car”
Michael Dunne - “The Tesla Model 3 is still king of hill, particularly when you take into account the Supercharger network”
AutoWeek - “I think the Tesla is a better car”
WhichEV - “the Polestar 2 runs the Model 3 really close, Polestar have done a great job on this car, but we’re still giving the win to the Tesla”
EV Up North - “it still doesn’t match up with the defacto standard of the Model 3”
Electrifying - one prefers the Polestar 2, one prefers the Model 3 (because of the Supercharging network)
Throttle House - “strongly leaning towards the Polestar 2, chassis better controlled”, “due to access to Supercharger network (Model 3) is my choice”
RSymons RSEV - “mixed opinions, really down to personal preferences”
Fully Charged - “it would be really hard to say no to one of these” (Model 3), “there’s nothing I don’t like about this car” (Polestar 2)
Auto motor & sport - “it’s a more developed electric car, better range, Supercharger network” (Tesla), “quieter and more comfortable, better put together” (Polestar)
There’s more reviewers liking the Model 3, but they come with a bit of a caveat - the Supercharger network and price.
I don’t use public charging very often and in Australia the Supercharger network isn’t really as widespread compared to Chargefox & Evie. That advantage is getting smaller each month as more DC fast chargers get installed around the country. The price advantage isn’t applicable here in Australia as the SR+ and the Polestar 2 base model are the same price.
If you remove those two aspects (price & Superchargers) from the equation, a few reviews leaning towards the Model 3 would change their mind or be in the “undecided/personal preference” camp.
In the videos where the reviewer(s) can’t make up their mind, they often mention the Polestar 2 is better built, has a nicer interior and feels better on the road. Those are things more important to me than range and the charging network.
I won’t go into the specs head to head, as I’ve written about that previously for Which Car back when Polestar announced local pricing & specs:
Incumbency. Don’t have to fuck around changing cars, getting new finance, then selling the Tesla.
Heat pump. Makes running the heater in winter use far less electricity. The Polestar 2 has a heat pump option but it’s in a $6,000 package with other stuff I don’t care about (glass roof, heated seats, premium sound system).
Cheaper. Finance would be $937/m for the Polestar 2 (white with the Pilot pack) compared to the $811/m I pay now. But I would be able to pocket around $10,000 cash as the difference betwen what I owe on the Tesla and what I could sell it for.
Faster. The Model 3 has more acceleration. 5.6s to go 0-100 compared to 7.4s in the Polestar 2. Not that it really matters to me day to day, but it is nice stomping the accelerator when joining the freeway or overtaking.
Smaller tyres. 18" on the Model 3, 19" on the Polestar 2. Will be cheaper to replace the Tesla’s tyres.
Smartphone app. I’m unsure if the Australian version of the Polestar 2 comes with a smartphone app. I use the Tesla app all the time to check the battery status. Would suck not being able to check the charge level remotely.
Supercharger network. It’s minor, but it’s nice having more options to charge when on a road-trip if the non-Tesla infrastructure is out of order or occupied (which happens).
Efficiency. The official stats are 132Wh/km vs 197Wh/km. That’s 40% less energy to move the Model 3. Real world is different, but assuming that 40% gap and driving 30,000km a year, I’d use 1950kWh more energy. Charging off the grid at 20c/kWh that’s $390/yr more in running costs.
Built-in dashcam. It’s not the best quality and only records 1hr of driving, but it’s free and included with the car and covers multiple angles.
Better ride quality. My main beef with the Tesla right now to the point it’s making me want to sell it.
No stupid glass roof. The glass gets really hot in summer and burns my head. I’ve tried using sunshades but they look tacky.
Better instrument display, infotainment. From what I’ve seen online I really like the Android based setup and CarPlay support is coming “Spring 2022” (i.e: any day now). The instrument binnacle in front of the driver is cool too, particularly the navigation map.
Proper door handles. Will make it easier for strangers and old people (my parents and in-laws struggle) to get into my car.
More road clearance from extra ride height. Steep driveways and whatnot will be a bit easier to manage in the Polestar.
More practical cargo area. No frunk, but I don’t use the Tesla’s frunk for anything except my charging cables and the hatch design of the rear cargo area allows for more flexible use compared to the sedan style trunk on the Model 3.
Easier to use controls. Wipers and lights have normal stalks. Air vents are normal manual ones. Glovebox has a normal handle the passenger can reach.
Fabric seats. I prefer fabric than the leatherette of the Tesla. Nicer in summer so you don’t get burned legs wearing shorts or a skirt. Not as easy to wipe clean though.
Free servicing for 5 years. The Tesla has no set service schedule, but I like getting my car looked at every now and then by a professional.
Safety tech. Blind spot monitoring alert in the mirror where it belongs, not a graphic on the screen where me eyes aren’t looking. 360-degree parking cameras & rear traffic warning when reversing. Tesla lacks this.
Longer warranty. 5 years, unlimited km compared to the Tesla’s 4-year, 80,000km warranty (which for me is more like 3 years as I’ll hit 80,000km before 4 years). Both cars have the same 8-year/160,000km battery warranty.
Nothing to do with Elon Musk and Tesla fanboys. I can’t stand the guy, not driving around in something associated with him and the Tesla “community” is a positive to me.