Electric vehicle company Polestar—a joint venture between Volvo and Geely—has made some buzz with its first two performance EVs so far: Polestar 1 and Polestar 2. But the launch of its sleek new roadster concept, Polestar O2, might just blow the rest out the water. This hard-top convertible is Polestar’s version of an open-top sports car. It’ll give customers an exciting driving experience, coupled with the benefits of an electric drivetrain, and even has a hidden drone than can be deployed while driving. (Picking your jaw off the floor yet?)
“Polestar O2 is the hero car for our brand,” says Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar’s CEO. “This is a taste of what we can design and engineer with the talent and technology we have in-house. It looks incredible, and being able to lower the roof and not hear an engine promises a superb sensation.”
Classic 2+2 Design
The compact, angular design is reminiscent of many classic targa top internal combustion sports cars (think Lotus Elise, Fiat X1/9, and Ferrari F355). It’s got a low, aggressive stance; long wheelbase; and short overhangs. Not to mention you get the blistering performance of an EV motor with the thrill that comes with planting that power to the road with a tightly tuned suspension.
“Polestar O2 is our vision of a new era for sports cars,” says Maximilian Missoni, Polestar’s head of design. “By mixing the joy of open top driving with the purity of electric mobility, it unlocks a new mix of emotions in a car. But as with all our cars, we are about more than just straight-line sprints. It’s when you turn the steering wheel that the true fun begins.”
Driving the O2 is designed to offer a spirited, taut, and lively experience due to it being constructed around a bonded aluminum platform with small roll angles, high roll damping, and linear direct steering.
Aerodynamics, a key factor in building an efficient e-vehicle, are tweaked to maximize range with features like integrated ducts to improve laminar air flow and rear lights that act as air blades to dampen turbulence coming off the back of the car.
Deploy the Drone!
Arguably the most exciting feature of the Polestar O2 concept is the autonomous drone integrated behind the rear seats. The drone isn’t just designed for recording a roadside attraction, it can actually be deployed while the car is in motion, all the better to record your enthusiastic motoring down twisty roads and scenic locales.
“We wanted to emphasize the experience you can have with a car like the Polestar O2 in new and unusual ways,” continues Missoni. “Integrating an autonomous cinematic drone was something that allowed us to push the boundaries on the innovation front. Not needing to stop and off-load the drone before filming, but rather deploying it at speed, is a key benefit to this innovative design.”
And to get the drone safely up, up, and away, Polestar engineers developed a special airfoil that raises behind the rear seats to create a calm area of negative pressure, allowing the drone to securely take to the skies. In the air, the drone operates autonomously, automatically following the car at speeds up to 56 mph. The driver can then choose between two sequences—atmospheric or action—to dial in the perfect drive time footage. After filming, the drone can autonomously return to its hidden home in the rear of the car. Video clips can be edited and shared directly from the 15-inch center display when parked.
An Environmentally Friendly EV
Switching from burning fossil fuels to battery power is the main eco-conscious claim for EVs, but the Polestar O2 also has a few more environmentally friendly features like a new, single-base thermoplastic that’s used extensively throughout the interior to limit dependence on many types of plastic. Recycled polyester is the only material used for all the soft components of the interior like foam, adhesive, knit fibers, and lamination to help simplify recycling and reduce weight and waste.
The aluminum used in the chassis is also looped into making recycling the metal more efficient as the different grades are labeled, allowing them to be recycled more effectively and for their properties to be retained.
Future Polestar Plans
Polestar plans to launch three new cars over the next three years, starting in 2022. And all of them have the potential to build upon some of the ideas presented by the Polestar O2 and previous Polestar Precept concept car.