Polestar plans development centre at former Saab plant
Polestar wants to set up a European development centre at the former Saab plant in Trollhättan, Sweden. According to German media, the carmaker intends to rent a 15,000-square-metre building from Trollhättan to conduct development and testing activities.
A Polestar spokeswoman confirmed the plant to Automobilwoche. The manufacturer will further develop and test the powertrain for the upcoming Polestar 5 there. The latter will launch in 2024. According to earlier reports, this will likely be an 800-volt unit with up to 475 kW of power. Meanwhile, the Polestar 5’s bonded aluminium bodyshell is being developed at Polestar’s UK research and development team in Coventry.
Polestar already has a development centre in Gothenburg, Sweden. It is only about an hour away and employs about 800 people. Another location specialising in electric drives could create additional capacity. Trollhättan also has its own test track, albeit a short one, which could be helpful for testing.
As reported, the previous Saab plant owner NEVS laid off almost all its workers. On the other hand, Polestar or its parent company Geely could also build vehicles in Trollhättan in the future. However, those plans are not yet set in stone. Vehicles of other Geely brands could also be manufactured there. It is also possible, but not yet decided, that vehicles of other Geely brands could roll off the production line in Trollhättan.
Automobilwoche speculates, for example, that Geometry brand EVs could be built there, following the 2022 decision to also offer the Geometry C in Eastern Europe. The report also mentions Zeekr. Last week, the brand gave further details about its planned European launch this year. However, it said that all EVs would (initially) be imported from China.
But again, Polestar has only confirmed a development centre at Trollhättan so far. It did not mention any production plans. So it remains unknown whether or not the production lines there will ever be turned on again. After the final Saab insolvency in 2011, National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) was founded a year later and took over the plant in Trollhättan – with the help of Chinese investors. Production in Trollhättan only started up again for a short time due to various financial problems. In 2019, the Chinese real estate company Evergrande took a majority stake in NEVS. Ever since Evergrande got into financial difficulties, NEVS has been looking for an owner again – i.e. since October 2021.
automobilwoche.de (in German)