“When you come at the king,” the saying often falsely attributed to Shakespeare goes, “you best not miss.” (Fun fact: It’s actually from The Wire.) When it comes to electric cars these days, there’s no question that Tesla sits atop the throne — but there are no shortage of foes aiming to take a shot at it. And Polestar’s new Precept concept shows that the Volvo spinoff division has clear intentions of striking the Silicon Valley carmaker square between the eyes.
The Polestar Precept concept, set to make its formal debut at the Geneva Motor Show next week, is designed to show how the Swedish-by-way-of-Chinese company plans on taking its crack at Tesla. Not through sheer power, but through an integrated philosophy combining modern design, sustainable materials and friendly, usable technology.
One glance at the Precept is enough to make the first criterion apparent. Unlike the (admittedly very stylish) Polestar 1 gran turismo and the (still-stylish but suffering from a slight case of Urkel waist) Polestar 2, the new concept shares very little in appearance with its Volvo cousins. The front is an angry, sharp-edged face that displays its lack of need for an internal combustion engine-cooling grille with pride; the profile a drawn-out, aerodynamic shape brought about by the 10.2-foot wheelbase; the tail a sleek fastback form, its curves accented by the sharp, near-right angle bends of its taillamp. It’s a dynamic appearance that looks like nothing else on the road — exactly what a rising brand needs to distinguish itself.
On the sustainability front, Polestar’s concept points towards a future where the brand makes use of recycled and bio-sourced materials to go hand-in-hand with the electric powertrain’s Earth-friendly nature. The seats are made from recycled plastic bottles that have been broken down and knitted into fabric; the carpets are made from old fishing nets; the seat bolsters and headrests reclaimed vinyl. And the setbacks and many other interior panels are crafted with composite material made from flax, which Polestar says is both lighter and more eco-friendly than regular plastic.
But any Tesla-fighting sport sedan needs to pack plenty of technology if it plans to stink up Elon Musk’s party. To that end, the Precept uses Polestar’s future-facing infotainment system, which was build by Android and operates through a portrait-orientation 15-inch touchscreen mounted in the center. Eye-tracking sensors tell the car whether to show relevant information there or on the 12.3-inch digital instrument panel.
The Precept also ditches the traditional mirrors for cameras and screens; the side view mirrors are swapped out for cameras on retractable arms, while the rear view is replaced by a monitor for a backwards-facing wide-screen camera. (Doing so enables the car to almost entirely ditch the rear window, as well.) And the front fascia where the grille once would have sat now becomes the “Polestar SmartZone,” where the company situates the radar and cameras needed for active safety and semi-automated driving. There’s even a lidar system mounted in a pod on the roof, for better future-proofing.
As the Precept is a concept car, Polestar makes no mention of any plans to put it into production. That said, nothing seen here seems too far from practicality, so don’t be surprised if something like the Precept reaches the streets in the next half-decade. Even if not, expect to see many of the features and design elements make their way into the brand’s forthcoming models.
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