Polestar O2 electric roadster concept revealed

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Polestar O2 11Polestar has revealed the new O2 concept as its glimpse into the future of the electric sports roadster.

Polestar’s lineup has so far been limited, but with the imminent launch of three new production models, and this new concept offering a glimpse at what’s to come, it’s clear that it’s not slowing down.

Though there are currently no plans to put the model into production, the all-electric hard-top convertible will replace the Polestar 1 as the marque’s halo model with an increased focus on sustainability and driving thrills. Details on its powertrain haven’t been disclosed, but the O2 is built upon the same aluminium platform found in the upcoming Polestar 5 sedan.

Developed by Polestar’s UK-based R&D team, chassis adaptations make for a 400mm reduction in wheelbase over the Polestar 5 with high rigidity and advanced damping keeping roll to a minimum. The result, says Polestar, is a ‘lively’ driving experience with ‘predictability and playfulness’ key to the experience.

As with all of Polestar’s models, the O2 has a strong focus on the use of sustainable materials. Inside, all soft materials are derived from recycled polyester, with a ‘thermoplastic mono-material’ utilised for other interior elements. Multiple grades of aluminium are also used throughout for improved performance and increased recyclability – components are even labelled with their grade of aluminium to streamline the recycling process.

Polestar O2 4

The show vehicle is also designed to prove that the modular aluminium architecture that will form the base of the 5 can be adapted to also support a more dynamic, focused sports car. And Polestar’s boss, Thomas Ingenlath, has already suggested that while no firm production plans are in place, he has a long-term vision of adding such a model to his brand’s line-up.

The O2 is a 4.7 metre-long 2+2 – so closer in length to a BMW 4 Series Coupe than the shorter Porsche 911. Polestar’s engineers modified the 5’s platform by removing the ‘foot garages’ – in effect, the holes in the battery floor used on that car to provide rear footwells. This means the O2’s wheelbase is 400mm shorter than that of the 5, but the battery capacity and motor specification could be the same. However, Polestar hasn’t outlined any technical info for the O2 concept.

Polestar O2 12Ingenlath told Automotive Daily that the O2’s dramatic styling – which includes a deeply scalloped bonnet and pronounced, squared-off haunches over the rear wheels, is “realistic”. “Our concept cars have the spirit of being tangible,” he said. “From a packaging perspective, and how it is constructed, it is possible to put a car like the O2 into production.

“On the other hand, we have not put it into our business plan. We already have three cars for 2022, 23 and 24 in the books, and we are fully occupied with making those real. What is beyond 2025, the future will tell. We are putting out a dream here, with the O2, and we would be irresponsible if we would not make every effort possible to actually live our dreams and make them real.”

Polestar O2 7This statement confirms that a convertible or sports car is not one of the confirmed forthcoming Polestars – likely to be two SUVs, the 3 and 4, and the already-previewed sleek 5 sedan.

Polestar’s chief designer, Max Missoni, said that a fixed-roof version of the O2 is something that could be envisaged. But Ingenlath said there is “real appeal” in the idea of a zero-emissions convertible. “I feel that this type of car, so far, is a great missed opportunity,” he said. “It’s bizarre to think that a sports car has to have a combustion engine; the greatness of propulsion that comes with the electric drivetrain is amazing for a sports car.

Polestar O2 16“Then to do that with the open-roof concept, where everybody dreams of the fresh air, the breeze, of being closer to nature – it’s a perfect fit to have an electric drivetrain in such a car. Not only would you have fresh air when you arrive at it, but you would also leave fresh air for the people behind you – not poisoning them with the exhaust from your car.”

The O2 features a typically neat Polestar interior, with clean lines, few buttons and a sizeable portrait-layout infotainment system that ‘floats’ in front of the dashboard. The most concept-like feature is a drone, which can be stored behind the rear seats and take off even when the car is moving. It can be controlled using the central display and follow the car at speeds of up to 90km/h, either maintaining focus on the driver’s face or moving further away for a more panoramic view.  Developed in collaboration with Chinese consumer electronics brand Hoco Flow, the drone is launched from behind the rear seats and shielded by an aerofoil to provide a pocket of clean air during deployment.

Polestar O2 13The car also features next-generation sustainable materials which are “not quite ready for industrialisation just yet”, according to Ingenlath. They include the use of recycled polyester as the single material in all soft components, reducing the complexity of manufacturing but also making the vehicle more straightforward to recycle.

Sam Jenkins

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