"People ask me all the time, 'what is the future of Polestar?', and of course we are not showing our future models just yet, but Precept shows you where we will be heading ... Precept showcases our future, not as a fancy dream or something out of a sci-fi movie. This is our reality, to come." Despite missing out on its grand Geneva reveal, Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath is obviously keen to stress that this is one concept to which we should be paying attention.
And while specifics on the model were somewhat lacking when it was first unveiled to us back in February, the same can't be said now. Polestar has released a laundry list of features which, if Ingenlath is to be believed, could well be coming to a car near you in the not-too-distant future.
In typical Polestar fashion they focus on the use of cutting-edge technology, sustainable materials and minimalist design to create "a new luxury design language", one freed from the constraints of internal combustion.
The front of the car, once defined by air intakes, is now dominated by the 'smart zone'. This includes long- and mid-range radar units, ultrasonic sensors and a high-definition wide-angle camera, as well as a roof-mounted LIDAR pod, all aimed at facilitating various levels of autonomous travel. "From breathing to seeing", is how Ingenlath describes the change in function.
Airflow is still crucial, of course, with a front wing integrated into the bonnet to reduce turbulence over the rest of the body. Air ducts behind the front wheels allow air to exit the wheelhouses and contribute to a more laminar flow around the side of the car, while a similar setup at the rear contributes to brake cooling as well as depressurisation; all of which enhances the car's aerodynamic properties and, crucially, improves its all-electric range.
Visually the Precept's styling is defined by the contrast between high-gloss and matt surfaces, with a "distinct lack of chrome". Polestar's signature 'Thor's hammer' headlights have received an update, and look set to become central to the brand's identity.
When it comes to sustainability, the list is longer still. Not only are a new set of premium interior details said to move away from "stereotypes such as chrome, leather and wood" but the use of natural composites is widespread. The long wheelbase and extended roofline may allow for a higher battery capacity and greater cabin space - particularly in the rear - but also require Polestar to go to greater lengths to fill the area a luxurious yet sustainable manner.
This is where the brand's emphasis on minimalism comes in, with the spartan vegan interior featuring flax-based natural composites to not only lessen plastic use by 80 per cent but also reduce the weight of the components by 50 per cent as well. A proprietary technology inspired by leaf veins aids in this regard, creating strong and rigid componentry which can reduce vibrations by up to 250 per cent. The seat covers are 3D-knitted from one continuous thread of 100 per cent-recycled PET bottles and are made exactly to size with no waste or off-cuts, while recycled plastic bottles are also used for the completely recycled textile found in the headliner. The Econyl carpets are woven from nylon recovered from reclaimed fishing nets and recycled cork from the wine industry is converted into cork-based vinyl for seat bolsters and head rests.
Eco-friendly doesn't mean low-tech, though, the Precept sporting an evolution of the Android-powered infotainment system found in the Polestar 2. That's accessed via a Tesla-style 15-inch tablet which recognises the driver upon approach, and includes Google Assistant and video streaming services - when parked or charging, of course. A separate nine-inch driver display tracks the driver's eye motions and adjusts the way its information is presented - smaller and more detailed when the driver is focused on the display, or larger and brighter with vital information only when they're focused on the road.
While many manufacturers have committed themselves to the EV bandwagon, then, Polestar does seem to be ahead of the game when it comes to taking a holistic approach to sustainability. If it can accomplish that whilst still delivering the luxury, high-tech experience buyers expect, then it really will be on to a winner. And the company's reality to come will look very promising indeed.
Original story: 25/02/2020
Polestar has predicted how it thinks technology and societal demands will affect the design of future models via a new Precept model, an electric four-door coupe that mixes eighties supercar cool with a whole lot of digital wizardry. It looks fit for a retro sci-fi movie, with a front wing, hunched roofline and even a windowless rear. But they’re all there for efficiency and practicality, and maximised by the use of sensors and cameras.
Take that front end, for example, which places a raft of sensors in the place where a grille normally sits to, enabling high-end driving assistance while keeping the design clean. Most prominent is that wing which directs air through an opening and along the bonnet. It’s a tactic normally employed by the likes of the McLaren Senna, but here the reduction in drag is all about increasing range from the car’s floor-mounted batteries.
Then there’s the car’s elongated roofline, which stays flatter for longer than most cars of this type to increase rear cabin space, where legroom is obviously a priority. There’s a clear focus on the demands of China in the Precept, which is predictable, given that the country is both the home of Polestar parent, Geely, and an obvious key market (if not the key market) for the Swedish firm. Four-door coupe EVs are primed for the world’s largest market.
Inside, however, the Precept stays very much on the side of Swedish minimalism, with little more than an oblong tablet and digital instrument cluster on the dash. The seatbelts – in Polestar gold – even tuck into the seatbacks rather than attach to the pillars, removing additional clutter from the surroundings. This is not all to the detriment of cabin functionality, either, as Polestar emphasises with its latest human-machine interface tech. That means conversational commands will take the place of buttons, and the car will learn its owner’s preferences.
Given all that, it won’t surprise you to learn that Polestar has thought lots about keeping the car’s environmental impacts to a minimum. The company has partnered with Swiss natural fibre specialist Bcomp, which makes a carbon fibre-aping material from plant products. Its material is used extensively in the cabin, halving each component’s weight compared with plastic. Oh, and there’s 3D-knitted recycled PET bottle fabric, recycled cork and reclaimed fishing nets elsewhere, helping to eliminate 80 per cent of new plastic waste from the interior.
The company’s head of design, the epically-named Maximilian Missoni, explained that Polestar sees “technology as an enabler, as a tool to solve our society’s problems and we translated this attitude into a new set of design principles”. He said its “combination of sustainable materials and high-tech smart systems opens an entirely new chapter of avant-garde luxury design and shows where Polestar is heading”.