Polestar O2 Concept First Look: Electrified Roadster

Polestar’s electrified lineup is quickly expanding. After hitting the scene with the limited-production Polestar 1 and, later, the more mainstream Polestar 2, the Volvo-adjacent electric brand is amplifying its portfolio with two new SUVs—the 3 and 4—and a flagship four-door GT, which will take on the 5 name badge. While a roadster might not sound like an addition with much commercial appeal, Polestar is keen on taking steps to differentiate itself from its parents, Volvo and Geely Holdings. So, with that in mind, perhaps that is why the Polestar O2 concept—a full-on EV roadster—is here.

Sharing its aluminum platform with the Polestar Precept concept, which will become the production Polestar 5 flagship, the O2 (written like the molecular description of “oxygen”) shows us how the stunning design language can be adapted to different (read: sexier) body styles. The O2’s short front and rear overhangs give the roadster a dynamic appeal, while its low stance and sharp roof line are ready to make an impression on onlookers and occupants alike. The wheelbase is long, perhaps a bit too long, but that’s because it gives Polestar the ability to put a larger battery pack and the 2+2 design—meaning the Polestar O2 Concept can carry up to four people between its front and rear seats. Maximilian Missoni, head of Polestar design, said customers want to have four seats even if it’s just to put a baby seat on the rear. If it makes it to production, and it could be quite possible, the O2 will be the first convertible Polestar. No details were given on the roof—whether it’s removable, or foldable—but the open-top experience should feel novel thanks to the quietness of an electric powertrain.

The Polestar O2 Concept stands out by its proportions and profile stance, which are meant to showcase sportiness. There are no wild and crazy character lines; instead, subtle lines expand from the front to the rear, with the hips widening to wrap around the 22-inch wheels. The absence of sharp character lines is offset by angular headlights and taillights, like the Precept has. The jockey-stick headlights are mirrored by daytime running lights on the lower fascia, while the taillight connects both corners with a slim LED strip. There’s no doubt the concept looks modern and futuristic, but it could very well make it to production, if the Polestar 5’s faithfulness to the Precept concept is any indication. Missoni added the brand is testing the market’s reaction to the concept before making a final decision.

Still, Polestar took the opportunity to have imaginative fun with the O2 Concept. Engineers developed an aerofoil behind the rear seats that houses a small drone and allows it to take off while the car is moving. The drone slides out on a platform along the straight-line opening on the rear, an area that creates negative pressure for the drone to take off. No human is needed to operate the drone, according to Polestar, and it can follow the O2 at up to 56 mph, recording videoclips that can be edited and shared from the 15-inch touchscreen when the car is parked. That’s something that Polestar is actually looking at implementing in future production models, Missoni said, as the brand is exploring the use of new technologies in the car.

Inside, the minimalist design adds elegance to the cabin. Besides a rotary knob on the center console, there are no other buttons to control the infotainment or cabin temperature. The shifter is located on the right of the steering column, while a smaller screen sits atop the dashboard in front of the driver, serving as the instrument cluster.

Polestar is taking sustainability seriously, and the O2 uses recycled polyester as the base of all the soft materials inside, including foam, adhesive, 3D knit fibers and non-woven lamination. The use of one material reduces weight and waste, and it’s a great step towards better circularity, according to Polestar. When the life of the car is done, Polestar is labeling the different grades of aluminum used in the cabin to be recycled more effectively while retaining its properties.

Even if the O2 doesn’t make it to production, its design language will, even if only as a further advance of what the Precept already started. But given that Polestar is ambitiously growing—and already kicked things off with a two-door coupe—and Tesla is (sluggishly) resurrecting its Roadster sports car sometime, we could see an electric roadster in the future. And maybe a drone will show up, too.

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