We got our first glimpse of the Polestar Precept concept at the not-the-Geneva-Motor-Show. The Scando-Chinese brand's first car as a standalone brand was created as a vision of how Polestar wants to evolve its cars away from Volvo – setting out a philosophy and new design concepts along the way. Now, it has released more details of the Precept
You might wonder why it's worth spending any time covering a car that is wholly a concept, but the Precept is important in several ways for Polestar. Firstly, there's that name – Precept – which means a 'manifesto of things to come', and that's what this car is by demonstrating the brand's values of purity, progressiveness and performance. Then there's the fact that it's the first car Polestar has developed that isn't based on a Volvo. And whilst there's nothing wrong with the Polestar 1 or 2 (in fact, they're great looking things), free from Volvo's influence the brand can really set its own path.
Importantly for you and me, the Precept is feasible – nothing is made of mystical materials and controlled by the power of the mind as is the case on too many concepts. It could be put into production. So, whilst powertrain isn't covered, let's take a look at what Polestar's future holds from a design, sustainability and technology point of view...
The most notable thing about the Precept is its total distancing from Volvo, now having its own distinct brand design language which favours bold lines and built-in aerodynamic efficiency. It derives this look from future sustainability and technology rather than looking back at historical automotive references.
Up front the car has signature lighting in the shape of 'Thor's hammer' headlights which is said to give a more robotic style from previous iterations. The grille houses the Pilot Assist sensor array which includes long and mid-range radar, ultrasonic sensors and a high-definition, wide-angle camera. Aerodynamics is built-in, with the front wings integrated into the body which reduce air flow turbulence over the rest of the car.
A refreshing lack of chrome gives way to matt and high-gloss surfaces which interact to help shape the exterior. Similarly the graphics are kept to a minimum, ensuring a minimalist feeling. Down the sides of the car the door handles are flush, as is the integration of the glass with the rest of the body – an aerodynamic as well as a design measure. Notably, the rear doors are rear-hinged and open wide allowing for easy access, great for families with young children. This is accentuated thanks to the lack of a central pillar. Wheels are 22 inch forged and machined alloy.
The upper area of the car is a full glasshouse which helps bring the outside world in, allowing for high levels of natural light. Roof-mounted LIDAR feeds into the car's safety systems. At the rear the geometric, full-width lighting fits in with a softer, more sculptural body shape. Inside, it's all about minimalism and creating a premium feeling through the new materials Polestar is showcasing. A long wheelbase and substantial headroom combine with that glass roof to help give the interior an airy feeling.
As well as its zero-emissions credentials, Polestar is using sustainable and recycled materials. Like other brands, its interior is vegan-friendly and uses no animal-based products. It has created composite materials which have enabled it to reduce the interior component weight by up to 50 per cent, with an 80 per cent reduction in virgin plastic use. A partnership with materials experts, Bcomp has helped make this possible.
It's not just a reduction in plastics in the Precept; so-called 'powerRibs technology' is inspired by leaf veins and alongside an 'ampliTex' composite it creates strong and rigid components which are said to reduce vibration by up to 250 per cent as well as performing better in crash situations.
The seat material is 3D knitted from recycled plastic bottles and made in such a way that there is no waste or cut-offs. The same 100 per cent plastic bottle-based material is used for the car's headlining, whilst the 'ECONYL' carpets are woven from a material made from reclaimed fishing nets. Finally, cork recycled from the wine industry is converted to vinyl for seat bolsters and head rests.
Powering the in-car infotainment isn't some nuclear-powered, 8G, as-yet-not-invented system; instead it is a development of the Android-powered system in the Polestar 2. Up-front, a 15-inch digital interface recognises the driver and adjusts the car to their personal settings through the Polestar Digital Key. Google Assistant, which is always evolving, handles the voice control – no bad thing given how widely it is used and therefore iteratively updated. Video streaming is available when the Precept is parked or charging.
That 15 inch screen has proximity sensors which adjust what's on the screen depending on where the user's hand is placed and how they interact with it. On-screen info also changes depending on what the driver is doing and the state of the car. Further adding to the driver-vehicle interactivity is a 9 inch horizontal display, which is effectively the instrument binnacle, and uses eye tracking to help dictate what's displayed. For example, if the driver is concentrating on the display, it will show more detailed information, whereas if their eyes are predominantly focussed on the road, it will simply show large, bright, vital driving information.
The Polestar Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) is now merged with Google maps so that the data from maps feeds into navigation and safety. This information can be shown, combined together, on the driver's display.
Concept cars that are wacky and a bit silly are all well and good, but we like what Polestar has done with the Precept. It's not quite what the brand will be making, but it's near enough to a reality to demonstrate what we will actually see from them in due course. In many ways we'd rather this – which promises deliverable things –than a load of hocus pocus that could never make it into production.
Brand CEO Thomas Ingenlath sums this up: “Precept shows you where we will be heading – our design direction, our ambitions about sustainability and the great digital user experience we will bring with those future cars. Precept showcases our future, not as a fancy dream or something out of a sci-fi movie. This is our reality, to come.”
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