- Polestar shares more details about its Precept concept electric sedan.
- The automaker decided to highlight the sensor technology, including lidar, as elements in the car’s design.
- The forthcoming aerodynamic Polestar 3 SUV will have some of the elements of the Precept.
The origin of the Polestar 1 was the Volvo concept coupe from 2013. The vehicle didn’t really fit into the automaker’s lineup back then, but its expensive and advanced technology made it the perfect halo vehicle for the new electrified Polestar subbrand of the Swedish automaker. Now Polestar wants to set its own path, and the Precept concept is the first step of that voyage.
The Precept is a stunning piece of design, but one of the more interesting aspects of the vehicle is the automaker’s decision to meld the technology into the design in a way that doesn’t hide it from the world. At the front of the car in the grille area is what Polestar calls the “smart zone.” It houses the camera and radar sensors with text that highlights what each item does. “It’s kind of a way to zoom in and say, ‘Look, this is a consumer product on wheels. It’s really a high-tech machine,’ ” Polestar’s design director, Max Missoni, told Car and Driver. “We were inspired by those systems and features to turn them into the ornamentation of the future.”
The lidar gets the same treatment. Missoni said that the team was excited to take the rather goofy lidar cones and pucks that have been highlighted on test and concept cars and create something that celebrates the technology while integrating it tastefully into the design of the vehicle. “It’s a new challenge, and I think it’s great to create a new brand just at the point where these things are tipping because I think it is cooler to understand what a laser scanner can do for you,” Missoni said.
It helps that those elements are merged into a vehicle design that looks the part and portends a magnificently designed future. Sitting on 22-inch wheels, the four-door electric sedan with its 122.4-inch wheelbase exudes technology and sustainability. The welcome and farewell light signature is inspired by astronomical events as a nod to nature, while the C-pillars are labeled to indicate that they house LED charging indicators.
In addition to looking good, the front wing, the air ducts behind the wheel, the side cameras, and the flush door handles all reduce drag, helping increase the EV’s range. Those lead to the rear vertical air blades and car-width rear lighting, looking like a cross between a Volvo sedan and something you’d see in Tron.
The rear window has been essentially removed, with a rear camera taking its place. Polestar says it means the rear roof beam could be farther backward to allow for more headroom, a larger glass roof, and a larger, deeper tailgate. The desire for passenger space and ease getting in and out of the car resulted in rear-hinged back doors.
The interior is outfitted with recycled and bio-materials from partner Bcomp. Missoni talked about how the desire to show off sustainable materials has evolved. A few years ago, earth tones were more the norm. “I remember those days not so long ago, [the reaction] was, ‘It looks so much like cardboard so it must be sustainable.’ ” But this time, they’ve taken a different approach. The challenge was to use natural materials but make them look premium with the sportiness and youthfulness found in some 3D-printed sneakers.
The infotainment system, which uses Android Auto, follows the same minimalist design. Polestar is trying to reduce the need for the driver to glance toward the center by moving items to the driver’s display. There, eye tracking expands the information shared when the driver looks down from the road. When the driver is looking at the road, the information (mapping, speed, state of charge) is larger. When the driver looks down, in what Missoni calls a twist of logic, the display of information is smaller and with more detail. It’ll be interesting to try the system if and when it makes its way to future vehicles.
Polestar’s intention is to develop its own design language that will be less reliant on its parent Volvo. The Polestar 3, an aerodynamic SUV, will still be related to the XC40 but is intended to show the way forward for the brand. We look forward to seeing it develop.