Technology

Polestars latest concept shows it thinks differently about design

  • The Polestar Precept isn't destined for production, but many of the ideas we see here will show up in the Polestar 3, a performance electric SUV due in late 2021. Polestar
  • The Precept's styling is quite unlike that from established rivals in Europe or from Tesla, for that matter. Polestar
  • Among the features I adore are the Precept's front lights, which call out to the family link with Volvo. Polestar
  • On the other hand, its designer Max Missoni says his favorite angle of the Precept is from behind. Polestar
  • The rear incorporates an aeroblade, which cleans up airflow as it detaches from the back of the car. Polestar
  • Another neat detail I hadn't seen until we got these images is the external battery-status light. It's hard to see where it lives on the car from this shot, but scroll to the next image in the gallery. Polestar
  • As you can see, that LED battery indicator is incorporated into the C pillar. Polestar
  • The Precept's suicide doors and lack of a B pillar probably won't make it to production, but other ideas will. Polestar
  • The seats use fabric woven from recycled PET plastic bottles. Polestar
  • Another look at the seats. Polestar
  • The material at the back looks like carbon fiber, but it's actually a natural composite called Bcomp. Polestar

The Polestar Precept was one of the cars I was most looking forward to seeing in person before the Geneva auto show got cancelled. The brand is a new one, spun out of Volvo with a fully funded mission to build exciting electric vehicles. And the Precept is a statement in that regard, with some interesting things to say about the way an EV can look, both outside and inside, that aren't just a rehash of decades-old conventions. Polestar was evidently sad that it couldn't show off its latest design study to the wider world, too, and so it sent us a bunch of new images of the car while designer Max Missoni hopped on a phone in Sweden to talk to me about the Precept.

Although the Precept is just a design study, it's been designed in parallel with the Polestar 3, a coupe-like SUV that should arrive before the end of 2021. "However, we are always careful to not overpromise and do design studies that are so far away from reality that none of it could be imagined in production," Missoni told me. "A lot of the elements of the Precept are going to resurface in Polestar 3. So, the dimensions and features and design language is quite realistic."

The car's shape has been heavily influenced by the demands of aerodynamic efficiency, which is why there's what looks to be a floating-wing element over the nose, as well as a rather unusual rear end.

"[Aerodynamics] is important in car design," he said. "But now, with where it really translates to kilometers of range, I think it is becoming even more important. So that's why, with the Precept, we wanted to show off and introduce our features and our ideas when it comes to optimizing the airflow around the vehicle. So a lot of those things you will see popping up in future Polestars, like the air curtain and aeroblade." (For the record, Volvo is not making the Precept's drag coefficient public as of now.)

The headlights are a comforting family link

The car's look is not just being driven by the wind tunnel or computational fluid dynamics though. Either side of the front wing are LED headlights that provide a link with Polestar's Volvo origins and that brand's signature "Thor's hammer" look. "I was quite keen on taking a big step away from Volvo but, at the same time, keeping some kind of link to the brand, because I think it's a big advantage for Polestar to be to be connected to Volvo," Missoni said.

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