Polestar has announced the production start date for its new South Carolina production facility, which it will be sharing with Volvo Cars.
Polestar, much like many import brands in the United States, has faced one substantial hurdle over all others over the past year; EV incentives. While these tax incentives were previously reasonably straightforward, with the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act, things got a lot more complex, requiring EVs to be manufactured in North America (among other requirements) to qualify for incentives. Now, the Swedish automaker is poised to finally address that issue as it begins production in South Carolina.
Polestar’s “new” production facility, which currently produces Volvo vehicles, will begin production of the all-electric brand’s vehicles in 2024, according to a recent report from Reuters. This stems from Polestar’s unique connection with its parent company Volvo.
Polestar initially announced that it would begin producing vehicles at the South Carolina facility in Q4 of last year, stating that the new Polestar 3 full-size SUV would be the first vehicle to be made at its American facility. Previously, Polestar’s production has centered in China, which has been helpful as the brand took advantage of the production capabilities of its other notable parent company, Chinese automaker Geely.
Polestar will continue producing vehicles at its Chinese facilities. Still, as noted by the company’s CEO, Thomas Ingenlath, America will be its second production hub, eventually even supplying vehicles to Europe.
The production capacity of the upcoming Polestar facility has not been released, and it remains unclear how this change will affect Volvo’s existing production at the facility. Still, with an annual production target of 80,000 vehicles this year and likely well over 100,000 next year, the company will need to establish its production capabilities quickly.
While many American customers and Polestar fans are likely elated at the idea of finally being able to buy a vehicle from the brand with the help of a tax incentive, it should be noted that it remains unclear if the company’s vehicles qualify. Starting today, the Federal government has introduced two new barriers to achieving incentives, primarily regarding where battery components are sourced from and the materials within them. In short, if anything over half the value of the battery is being sourced from abroad, the vehicle won’t qualify.
On top of these battery sourcing requirements, vehicles produced at the South Carolina facility will also need to be priced under a segment-specific amount to qualify, which for SUVs, is $80,000.
It should be noted that Polestar still has a lot of time before production starts to make changes that could allow any of their vehicles to qualify, as long as they are assembled at its South Carolina facility, but this will undoubtedly be a monumental task. Luckily, Polestar certainly isn’t alone, with numerous automakers facing the same pressure, but getting the jump on its competitors could be the key to future success in the United States and around the globe.
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