Polestar 2 Single Motor Long Range 2023 – Australian electric car owner real world experience review

The following is a discussion with Aussie electric vehicle (EV) owner Scott Harrison about his novated leased Polestar 2, Single Motor Long Range 2023 and experience driving, servicing, charging etc.

EDITOR: I’m publishing a regular series of articles with the views of Australian EV owners about their EV ownership experience.

This will help fill an information gap as the majority of electric car news articles are about new car launches and there’s relatively little published about the longer term Australian ownership experience after you’ve paid for your electric car. Hopefully this shared information helps other Aussies make their own EV purchase decision. 

If you’re an Australian electric vehicle owner and would like to participate in this interview series by sharing your experience please contact me directly or add a comment below and let me know.

Was your electric car bought or leased?

Leased not bought.

Please describe your purchasing / lease process experience … Easy, Mediocre, Frustrating..?

Before ordering the car I went to the Polestar Place in Alexandria NSW to test drive the car.

That was different to any other car test drive I’ve done, not being a traditional dealership there was zero sales pressure and they were also extremely knowledgeable about the car and could answer all the questions I had. They were fine for me to take the car by myself for the test drive.

EDITOR: Polestar Australia is rumoured to move to a traditional dealership sales model soon.

I wanted to Novate Lease the car, however the leasing company we use at work didn’t have a direct relationship with Polestar at the time (they do now), so I had to order the car, then pass the order over to the leasing company closer to settlement.

There were a few last minute headaches getting the paperwork from both companies to align, however Polestar were great trying to work with some arcane rules the leasing company had. It all worked out in the end, and the hand over experience was fantastic with Polestar taking time to go over every detail on the car.

What has the regular servicing / dealership experience been like?

Car has 5 years / 100,000 included servicing on a 30,000 / 2 year schedule. I’ve not clocked up enough to need an actual service yet, however a few weeks ago the car displayed “The propulsion system requires service, Bring the vehicle to a workshop”.

The car still drove normally and after an hour the alert went away.

I called Polestar who said it was likely just a software bug but asked me to book it in with Volvo at Sutherland NSW (an Eagers dealer) for a checkup.

Thats only 10 minutes drive from my house, so was quite convienent.

I had to wait 2 weeks for a slot, but given the car was working normally I wasn’t too worried.

I left the car with them for the day, and as they expected there was nothing showing wrong with the car, however they did apply the latest 3.0.3 update a week or so ahead of the “over the air” schedule. The car was ready a few hours earlier than they quoted me at drop-off.

How do you regularly charge your car for day to day usage?

Plug in to specially installed faster EV charger at home (set to use solar power or grid, whatever’s available).

What has your day to day normal charging experience been like?

I have rooftop solar, off street parking and work from home most days, so I normally charge during the day when the sun is out and I’m generating excess electricity.

I had a 7kw wall box installed before the car was delivered, however I do less than 100km a day, I could easily live with using the included 10amp charger. The wall-box isn’t solar aware, but I can manually control the amperage to be within my normal solar generation curve.

My in-laws live approx. 500km away from us on the coast, and at their house I had a 20amp outlet installed in the fusebox (cost $200) and I purchased a 15amp portable charger to use whilst there.

In the 12 months since I did that, Exploren have installed a free AC charger in town, so overall I’ve probably spent more on charging kit than I really needed to, but I think it can’t hurt to have a few options.

I’m also signed up on the “Red Energy” EV plan at hime, which allows me two hours free electricity on Saturday and Sunday, so I can get a free charge weekly regardless of the weather. I’ve only had to top up overnight with off-peak electricity a few times over the last 12 months.

There is also a free AC charger at a Woolworths near me which I’ve used a few times, although its almost always occupied with the increasing number of EVs in the area.

My car is normally hovering between 50% and 80% charge over the week which is more than enough even if I take the car to the office in the city.

How do you charge your car for longer road trips on the weekend or during holidays? Do you prefer any particular brand of public fast charger during road trips eg Evie, Tesla, Chargefox and why?

Most of my weekends drives are within 80km of home, so my normal charge routines leave me enough for the weekend.

When I did my last long road trip I just charged the car from 70% to 90% overnight before I left on Saturday morning. It was in winter so I also set the pre-heating to come on whilst it was charging so I didn’t waste anything getting the car warm when heading out.

Evie is probably my favourite, they always seem to have more than one charger at each location (less risk of a queue or broken charger taking it completely offline) and they have RFID cards which is so much easier just to swipe that rather than bother with apps (works without phone internet reception too).

I rarely DC charge and I feel I’m saving so much charging from home that I really don’t care if I pay extra for electricity on a trip. Convenience trumps cost in these cases.

I think I’ve used almost everything, Evie, BP, Ampol, Jolt, ChargeFox, Tesla, NRMA and Exploren.

Of all brands, I’ve used Evie the most.

Telsa are opening a lot of chargers on the route North to my in-laws house at Raymond Terrace and Taree, so I expect I will start using them more frequently given the overall higher reliability of their charge infrastructure.

What’s the farthest road trip you’ve done in your EV and what did you learn from this experience that would be useful for others to know?

That was in July last year when I took the car to the Gold Coast & Brisbane (from home in Sydney). I was staying on the GC for a week, I had no access to onsite AC charging so was relying on public DC chargers.

On planning the road trip, I would always have a plan B just in case a charger was offline.

On the actual drive, I probably charged more frequently than I needed to, I never went below 45%. Now I’ve owned the car longer and trust the range estimates the car is giving me I would have no issues driving it down to 20% as long as there was another charger within 50km.

My car has routing and charger finding built in with Google maps, but I planned the trip and charging stop using “A Better Route Planner”. That app is an amazing resource.

Plan B was needed on the Gold Coast. The week I was there every single ChargeFox DC charger on the GC was broken. Luckily there was an Evie 50kw one not too far away and I utilised that instead.

Given the issues I had on the GC – I would highly recommend booking accommodation that allows you to plug in overnight, especially in places that might only have one public DC charger.

If you’ve done a long road trip and would like to share your experience of it please share. Detailed EV trip diaries give readers the confidence to do the same themselves.

I just completed a smaller round trip road trip, Home->Canberra->Cowra->Bathurst->Home.

Stopping overnight in Canberra for two nights and Cowra for one night.

On the way to Canberra I charged with Evie at Sutton Forest. That was a little difficult to find hidden behind the McDonalds and there was a truck blocking the main entry to the EV bays.

The worst part was its not undercover so I got a little wet plugging the car in and starting the charge, even with an umbrella. I got another small top up in Goulburn for a few minutes before I grabbed a coffee there.

In Canberra I was staying across the road from a DC charger in Barton and a few minutes walk from an AC charger near the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. I left the car there for a few hours when I arrived for a slow AC charge as I wasn’t in any hurry. At 30c kWh it was less than half the cost of the DC charger.

We did a lunch trip to the wineries at Murrumbateman. Clonakilla Winery had free onsite AC charging, so we were able to top the car with enough power to cover the tip back to Canberra. They made up any lost electricity costs on wine we purchased.

Leaving Canberra I charged at the Telsa charger in Yass on the way to Cowra. At the time I was the only car charging there. I much prefer stopping more regularly for short chargers – its great to stretch the legs and take a small break.

Although Cowra has a single DC fast charger I made sure I booked into an EV friendly motel that had a free AC changer onsite just in case the DC was broken.

I also discovered Cowra has a free AC charger opposite the McDonalds there – dual 11KW charger – just plug in – No apps or cards needed. Plugshare is such a great resource to help find these little gems.

I did a quick side trip to Grenfell to check out the painted grain silos there and discovered the town had a free AC charger near the swimming pool as well. I wasn’t expecting to get any charge there.

On the way home I topped up with Evie at Bathurst, then with Evie at Lawson. I didn’t really need to charge there but wanted some lunch so thought it worth charging at the same time.

That was the first DC charger I experienced that didn’t work – the charger wouldn’t start. I called Evie service and by the time I’d talked though all their privacy checks etc the car in the bay next to me left, so I just moved the car and used that one. It started straight away.

The trip down the mountains was great, the car sat on 80% for about 35km, the regen from the downhill just completely compensated for any usage. I didn’t start using power from the battery until almost at Penrith.

Does your EV have any special features like V2L reverse charging from the car to your portable/home appliances? If yes please share your experience using this special feature

My car unfortunately doesn’t offer that. I do hope it’s something they add into future cars as it could be very handy in a blackout.

I don’t do camping so it wasn’t something that I really needed, however if you do, having a 240v power source would be a compelling feature – I’d want it for a coffee machine if I went camping !

If you have roadside assist included with the car purchase/lease and have had to use it, which company provided the service and what was that experience like?

Roadside is included with the car. I believe its outsourced to the NRMA but I haven’t had to use it.

The car has internet connectivity included, and the car has an “SOS” button you can push that will put you in touch with Polestar to arrange assistance if needed (assuming you are somewhere where there is Optus coverage).

The car will also automatically call Polestar support if it detects a major accident who will dispatch emergency services. There is also a button you can push if you just want to ask customer support something about the car that’s not an emergency.

The car (like most EVs) doesn’t have a spare tyre or space save tyre.

If you get a flat there is a “can-of-goo” that is suppose to help with small punctures, or you need to rely on roadside coming to lend you a wheel or tow the car to a repair location.

As I have a few road trips planned this year, for peace of mind I purchased an after market space saver from Braumach. At least this way I might save a few hours waiting for a tow truck and not be stuck somewhere waiting for a replacement tyre.

If you have had issues with your car and asked for these to be fixed under warranty, did the car brand do the right thing and fix it without causing you stress?

I haven’t had any issues that need repairing, the only problem was that Propulsion waning that turned out just to be a software glitch, but I was very happy that both Polestar and Volvo Sutherland took the warning seriously enough to spend time checking over the car.

What are the 3 strongest aspects of your electric car compared to other similar price electric cars available in Australia?

1 – Build Quality and Finish,

2- A real dashboard and

3 – Android Automotive. That last feature isn’t really discussed a lot in the media it would seem. With AA the integration of Google Maps to the car is fantastic for navigation, voice control and predicting battery usage. You don’t really need to worry about range, if you enter your destination the car will tell you if you have enough to get there (and back) and will find you a charger if required.

The integration with Apple Car play inside Android automotive is seamless – I never expected Google and Apple to work so well together but they do.

The voice recognition for things like climate control is excellent – ie “Hey Google – turn the temperature up”. The dashboard will also show Google Maps or Apple Maps during navigation so you don’t have to look to the side screen to see the map.

What are the 3 weakest aspects of your electric car compared to other similar price electric cars available in Australia?

First would be the 360 camera. Its usable, but on a car of this price and quality it should be amazing.

My wife’s Mazda 3 has a far better 360 camera and that car was half the price.

The other would be the lack of V2L and lack of a spare tyre or a space saver tyre.

What is your view on car software updates? Some people prefer it be done by dealers, some don’t want updates, others want them regularly over the air?

Working in IT, I’m comfortable with over the air updates.

There have been several since I’ve had the car, and with these updates the car has improved over time.

Camera functionality at night has improved as has the cars consumption statistics and trip logging applications.

The stability on the “infotainment” software and networking (TCAM) modules has improved dramatically over the past 12 months.

What questions would ask your car manufacturer HQ if you could?

Polestar just announced the long term replacement for the P2 is a new P7 so I’d love to know more about that, especially if it’s arriving close to the lease expiry on this car.

Would you buy or lease this brand of electric car again and recommend it to others?

Yes, I would buy a Polestar again.

There is a lot more choice in the market now, both in availability (wait times on most EVs are now reasonable compared to 18 months ago) with some cheaper options from BYD etc, but for me the P2 would still likely be the car I’d buy.

It’s the perfect size for me and offers a great balance between a tech device and a regular car. There are still plenty of buttons and stalks in this car. The Volvo DNA with safety, quality and handling is a big attraction.

Do you have any other comments about your electric car brand, experience etc?

If you are thinking about a Polestar, go and test drive one and join the Polestar Australia Facebook group where you can chat to owners who drive them daily.

I should also mention the “curry hook”, a much loved feature of the car globally on the FB groups, its just a simple foldable hook from the glove box to help hold a shopping bag or a bag of takeaway food upright.

I use it weekly for our normal Friday night take-home dinner.

The ability to remotely turn on the AC or leave it running whilst you are parked out in the sun is another fantastic feature I’ve used a lot.

Watch your speed on the motorway, without engine and transmission noise it’s very easy for speed to creep up without any real audible signal you are going faster.

If you’re an Australian electric vehicle owner and would like to participate in this interview series by sharing your experience please contact me directly or add a comment below and let me know.


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