Article

Polestar Precept: Everything We Know So Far

Ben Parker

Credit Polestar

Article Highlights
  • The Precept was Polestar’s concept released for the 2020 Geneva Motor Show
  • The Precept is a flagship concept highlighting the goals for the company’s future cars
  • The car exterior was designed to extend its range
  • The Precept is equipped with SmartZones that help with autonomous driving features
  • The interior is designed mostly of recycled materials 
  • No information has been given regarding performance.
  • Polestar is at the start of selling in the US Market.

The Precept is the latest in a string of beautiful cars from the Swedish company Polestar. Polestar is the all electric performance company of Volvo. Polestar began making race cars, their racing heritage mixed with Volvo’s uncompromising level of design has led to the Polestar Precept. The Precept is a concept car that stands as the vision for Polestar’s future. The goals of this all electric car are: design, sustainability, and quality. The concept is built on what’s called the SPA2 vehicle platform that Volvo will be using for their XC90 and XC60 SUVs and a few other cars. The big takeaway from the Polestar Precept is this is the first clear image of a Polestar’s design language separate from Volvo.

Exterior


The Swedes know design. The Precept’s exterior design is a perfect example of function blending with form. All decisions made in designing the car considered both of those tenets, function and form to create a very aerodynamic four-door sedan. The design language of the Precept is the first that really breaks free from Volvo with some small nods to the company’s Volvo heritage. 


Starting at the front of the car we can see a resemblance in the headlights, the affectionately called “Thor’s Hammer” headlights are evolved on the Precept and exaggerated. The front end sports a wing that increases laminar flow and contributes to overall increased range -- an important consideration for an electric vehicle. Beneath the wing and the headlights, where a combustion vehicle would have a grill we find the Smart Zone. The Smart Zone houses the lidar sensors and cameras used for the car’s assisted driving features. Thomas Ingenlath (Polestar CEO) aptly frames it as, “cars go from breathing, to seeing”.


Moving to the side of the car you can see futuristic cameras that act as side mirrors that give the driver even more visibility than a standard mirror. The door handles sit flush into the actual door, and the windows are also completely flush creating an even more aerodynamic body. From the side you notice the long wheelbase of the car which allows for more battery cells to sit underneath the car. The Precept sits on the SPA2 platform which will be used for a few different Volvo and Polestar models. At the base of the doors on either are more SmartZones that are labeled as such. These SmartZones look for traffic adjacent to the car. There are air ducts behind both the front and rear wheels that increase laminar flow and help to cool brakes, and release pressure from the wheelhouse. The car sits on massive 22-inch rims which look pretty futuristic and cool. 


The roof is panoramic glass that spans from the windshield over the rear passengers head about a foot. From the inside this gives the illusion of more head space. The Precept doesn’t have a rear windshield, instead it uses another camera to provide a rear view, this allows for a larger boot as well. Sitting on the roof of the car is also a LIDAR pod that gives good 360 degree visibility for the car. The body of the car is a matte finish paint with high gloss accents. 


There are so many great little touches to the Precept as well, including startup and turn off light sequences that are designed and “inspired by astronomical events”. As well as the use of type on the exterior of the car to denote SmartZones and their functions.

Interior


Potentially the most forward-thinking element of the Precept is it’s vegan interior. Their sustainability goal is most evidenced inside the car. The interior uses 4 different recycled materials. The seats use what’s called “3D-Knit” which is a yarn that’s made from recycled PET bottles. What they’re able to do is use one strand of yarn to create the whole entire seat cover exactly, removing excess. Recycled cork is converted into “cork-based vinyl” for the seat bolsters and head rests. The floor mats are created with Nylon 6 which is made from recycled fishing nets. Third, powerRibs are made using woven flax fibres, these fibers provide structure to panel elements throughout the interior. They’ve left them exposed to show their rigidity, and strength. Each of the panels are backlit and create a sort of x-ray experience. The composite materials used throughout the interior reduce the the weight 50% and reduce plastic use by 80%. 


The Precept’s long wheel base allows for a spacious interior for four people with ample leg room in both the front and rear seats. The carriage-style doors also help to make the interior feel more like a spacious room. The seats look futuristic but not overdone, they’re accented with nice yellow seat belts. 

Credit Polestar

Credit Polestar

Infotainment


Another important element of the Precept and of Polestar’s future vision is in driver navigation experience, and entertainment. When you sit into the driver’s seat a motion sensor activates the initial welcome sequence on both screens, one steering wheel mounted screen, and one portrait oriented screen in the center, when paired with your app the car will have a personalized welcome experience. The interface design across all screens is made to give prominence to information and ease of navigation. The screen when not being used has a screen that shows minimized information and wakes to show more details when your finger approaches the screen. 


A feature new to the Precept is an in-cabin eye tracking monitor that adjusts the onscreen details as well. When you’re looking at the road the details on the screen are larger and brighter, and when you focus on the screen they reduce in size and brightness. The eye tracking monitor also will assist in helping the driver to driver safely, or perhaps suggest the driver take a break when getting tired. 


The actual software was designed alongside Google and is Android based. What this means is that it can be continuously updated throughout the cars’ lifetime. As well as uses Google Assistant, which is arguably the best virtual assistant available. The navigation system is a hybrid of Google Maps and a ADAS (advanced driver - assistance system) which can help guide the car along a route.  From the main screen, you can also access other apps that would run on Android including Spotify. While you’re charging you can even watch some streaming services from the main screen.


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Credit Polestar

What is the Price of a Polestar Precept?


The Polestar Precept does not have a price. The Precept is a concept car that may later evolve into the Polestar 3. For now it is a flagship that shows the goals and ambitions of Polestar as a company. Some have speculated that the Precept will actually become a reality sometime in the coming years but for now it can only be something hoped for. 


Precept Performance & Range


Polestar hasn’t released any information about the prospective performance stats of the Precept. But some speculators suggest the car would be around 400hp. The sibling of the Precept, the Polestar 2 has a 78.0kWh lithium-ion battery, and supports fast charging up to 150 kilowatts. The Polestar 2 also has a supposed range of just over 275 miles per charge. So the Precept would theoretically be a bit better than those stats, but in the same ballpark.

Credit Polestar

Conclusions


So many concept cars that we see at Geneva feel frankly unrealistic, or too forward thinking. Many of the designs are never actually realized either. What the Precept offers is a look to a near distant future, rather than a fictional one. What Polestar understands is the need for more luxury vehicles that aren’t gratuitous or wasteful. Their appropriately coined saying “sustainability redefines luxury”. We can have our cake and eat it too in a Precept.


But what is yet to be proven is the future of Polestar’s growth in the U.S. market. Because there have only been 2 models released, and neither have been yet delivered to U.S. customers we have yet to see what Polestar as a company will do to make these cars available. For them to make a dent in the Tesla monopoly in the United States a real plan to scale will have to be in place. The electric performance vehicle maker is trying to stand out from its predecessor with no dealership, only Apple store-like retail and service spaces where you can learn about the cars. Polestar is planning to build a few of these across the United States in the coming years.

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