We reserved a Mercedes EQS 450 from Europcar but ended up with a Polestar. This proved to be very disappointing to drive, though Germany’s network of charging stations is greatly improving.
My Experience Driving A Polestar in Germany
In California, my wife Heidi drives a Toyota Highlander is that is pushing 300K miles. It has been such a workhouse and she will continue to drive it into the ground. When that car finally breaks down once and for all, Heidi considers a German electric car. She says my Tesla is “too much like an iPhone” and thinks it is quite ugly.
I struggle to justify the huge premium of an Audi, BMW, or Mercedes over a Tesla, but renting a car is a perfect opportunity to try out a new vehicle, so we reserved the EQS 450, which is the base model Mercedes electric car.
However, when we showed up at Europcar (after Avis had no cars) we were told that the EQS 450 was not available and that instead we were “upgraded” to a Polestar (standard range, single motor).
Polestar is owned by Volvo and is certainly a very sleek car.
Inside, I loved that it had Apple CarPlay (the thing I miss most on my Tesla) and it was very easy to drive. Having a screen directly in front of you made navigation very easy. The seats were also comfortable and I appreciated the heated seats on what turned out to be a pair of cold summer days. All USB ports were USB-C.
We took mostly autobahns (German interstate highways) and we were able to go about 350 kilometers between charges (the initial estimate of 440 km after charging was too optimistic for my driving).
The Polestar will guide you to the nearest charging station, but we stopped at rest spots along the highway, all of which now include charging stations. Setting up accounts in order to begin charging was easy enough and the cost for electricity appeared to be about half the price of buying fuel (which runs about $8/gallon if we convert currency and imperial measurement). I bet home-charging would have been even cheaper.
But here’s why I did not like the car: the top speed was 160 km/h (100 mph). Sorry, but that does not cut it in Germany. Yes, I am one of those people who drive significantly faster on the Autobahn. Why? Because I cannot do it here…and because it is fun, especially in that 220-240 km/h range.
Even a long-range dual motor model caps at 205 km/h (127 mph), which is just not fast enough in Germany.
It was fun to drive a Polestar in Germany, though I expect that will be my last time driving the vehicle: the top speed was a huge turn-off and in almost all ways, I prefer driving a Tesla. But that’s the upside to renting cars: you can take other models for a test drive before buying them.