New age remedy

This is the remarkable O2 – the second stunning concept from electric performance car manufacturer Polestar.

Apr 27, 2022

It offers a vision of a new era for sports cars, effortlessly blending the joy of open top driving with the purity of electric mobility.

Polestar unveiled a new concept car during March that it says will redefine sports roadsters for the electric age.

Named the Polestar O2, the hard-top convertible is Polestar’s vision of open-top performance and a thrilling driving experience – with all the benefits of electric mobility.

“Polestar O2 is the hero car for our brand,” Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath told 66 Magazine from New York City during a round-table discussion following the reveal of the Polestar O2. “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.”

Maximilian Missoni, Polestar’s Head of Design says the driving experience in the Polestar O2 is designed to be lively, light, and full of confidence: predictability being at the core of exciting, spirited driving.

“Polestar O2 is our vision of a new era for sports cars. By mixing the joy of open top driving with the purity of electric mobility, it unlocks a new mix of emotions in a car,” said Missoni. “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.”

With the Polestar 5 having also recently been teased to media ahead of production, New Zealand customers have already taken to the Scandinavian brand. The Polestar 2 has proved an instant sales success following its launch in December, while two leading motoring titles – NZ Autocar and Stuff Motoring – have heaped praise on the debut model. NZ Autocar named the Polestar 2 its overall Car of the Year in its 2021 awards, while Stuff Motoring also awarded it their Top Car of 2021.

With such silverware already in the cabinet, all eyes now turn to the O₂ concept as an insight into what lies ahead for the brand, both in New Zealand and globally.

When asked about the brand aspirations to remain in the premium segment, Ingenlath was firm: “We want to be upmarket for sure,” he told 66 Magazine. “Tesla has targeted mass market audiences and is now in competition with other producers like Volkswagen, for example. But we will remain premium. We want to succeed of course, but we’re not out to grow quickly to one or two million sales immediately.”

Clearly related to the Polestar Precept concept car from 2020 but with its own distinct character, the look of the Polestar O2 shows how Polestar’s evolving design language can be adapted to different body styles with a strong family resemblance.

The low and wide body with an assertive stance, compact 2+2 cabin design, minimal overhangs and long wheelbase, embody classic sports car proportions but with a modern, electric feel.

“This car is a meeting point between technology and art, between precision and sculpture, with a determined but not aggressive stance,” continues Maximilian Missoni.

Aerodynamics are manipulated to maximise range thanks to disguised design features like integrated ducts that improve laminar air flow over the wheels and body sides, and the rear lights that function as air blades to reduce turbulence behind the car.

Naturally, the Polestar O2 has also been designed to showcase the Swedish manufacturer’s advances in sustainability and technology.

Examples of these efforts include new thermoplastic mono-material featured extensively throughout the interior (the term “mono-material” describes the use of a single base material to manufacture different components). Throughout the Polestar O2, recycled polyester is the sole material used for all soft components inside the cabin as well as foam, adhesive, 3D knit fibres and non-woven lamination. This simplifies recycling, says Polestar, and is a significant step towards greater circularity, while also reducing weight and waste.

Polestar’s sustainability teams believe that materials should be recycled, not downcycled. In the Polestar O2, they have integrated a new method of controlling recycled content and improving circularity of metal components. Different grades of aluminium used throughout the chassis are labelled, allowing them to be recycled more effectively and for their properties to be retained. High grade aluminium remains high grade, while other grades maintain their varied characteristics, allowing for greater material efficiency and a lower requirement for virgin aluminium.

In a world increasingly driven by social media, the Polestar O2 features an autonomous cinematic drone integrated behind the rear seats.

Developed in collaboration with Aerofugia’s consumer electronics brand Hoco Flow, the concept drone can be deployed while the car is moving, to record the perfect driving sequence.

Polestar engineers have developed a specialised aerofoil that raises behind the rear seats to create a calm area of negative pressure that allows the drone to take off when the car is on the move. The drone operates autonomously, automatically following the car at speeds up to 90km/h.

The driver can then choose between an atmospheric sequence – great for a coastline cruise – or a more action-filled sequence with a sportier feel, such as on a track. After filming, the drone autonomously returns to the car. Video clips can then be edited and shared directly from the 15-inch centre display when the car is parked.

“This technology serves a really relevant purpose,” continues Ingenlath. “It’s about making a journey with the car and keeping a memory – and it would be safer than doing this with a selfie stick too. What drone technology is capable of these days is really quite incredible. For us, it’s actually easier to adopt this technology than it might be for other manufacturers to reduce their carbon emissions, for example.”

“We wanted to emphasise the experience you can have with a car like the Polestar O2 in new and unusual ways,” adds 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.”

The Polestar O2 continues the strong foundations laid by Polestar Precept as a vision of the company’s future design, technology, and sustainability ambitions.

Polestar plans to launch three new models over the coming three years, starting in 2022, each of which has potential to gradually realise some of the ideas presented by the concept cars already showcased.