New Polestar ‘O2’ concept revealed

Thought all electric cars had to be worthy? Polestar thinks otherwise…

By Matt Bird / Wednesday, March 2, 2022 / Loading comments

Nobody can accuse Polestar of resting on its laurels. Just a few weeks after the 2-derived ‘Arctic Circle’ concept grabbed the attention of rally and shovel enthusiasts everywhere, there’s now this – the Polestar O2. Built from an evolution of the aluminium architecture announced recently for the 5 GT, and with a design inspired by the Precept, the new roadster is billed as “Polestar’s vision of open-top performance and a thrilling driving experience – with all the benefits of electric mobility.” Given that one too many EV concepts are SUVs with or without a sloping roof, it’s a more compelling vision of a zero-emission future than we’re often treated to.

Polestar says the O2 drive “is designed to be lively, light and full of confidence”, thanks to its use of the bonded aluminium tech that will underpin the 5 GT. The same attributes promised for the grand tourer – great torsional rigidity and body control, mainly – are targeted for this. Given both can be weak points for convertibles, nothing would show off quite what the aluminium structure is capable of than a wobble-free roadster. “Handling dynamics are taut thanks also to small roll angles and high roll damping, and the agile, direct steering feel is linear, with great steering torque build-up”, notes the press release. And you don’t hear that too often for an electric vehicle.

To look at, the O2 borrows heavily from the Precept – no bad thing given how that turned out, and its cues arguably have more impact on a smaller, squatter silhouette. The O2 is intended as 2+2, though as is so often the way with folding hard tops – combustion powered or otherwise – it looks pretty snug back there. Polestar points to the long wheelbase, short overhangs and low, wide body as “classic sports car proportions”. Head of Design Maximilian Missoni added: “This car is a meeting point between technology and art, between precision and sculpture, with a determined but not aggressive stance.”

Of course, this being a Polestar concept, the O2 is about rather more than just looking cool and potentially driving well. The inside will be familiar to anyone who’s been in a 2, but now recycled polyester is used for all the soft bits of the interior (foam, adhesive, fibres and so on) – which is then easier to recycle again at the end of the car’s life. Even the aluminium for the chassis is labelled to improve re-use; high grade aluminium can stay as such when recycled, reducing the need for virgin metal in future.

Then we come to the O2’s piece de resistance, or potentially the silliest bit of car equipment ever seen (it probably depends on whether you use TikTok or not). Buried away behind the rear seats is an autonomous cinematic drone; a wind deflector also back there means the can take off without drama when on the move, then film the car on its own at speeds of up to 56mph. And also return solo on to the boot. The point? Well unless you’re a cyborg in the future hunting other cyborgs, social media, naturally.

Once drone filming is complete (and assuming you’re happy to publish whatever has been recorded), the footage can be edited and shared directly via the infotainment screen. You read that right. Missoni again: “Integrating an autonomous cinematic drone was something that allowed us to push the boundaries on the innovation front. Not needing to stop and off-load the drone before filming, but rather deploying it at speed, is a key benefit to this innovative design.” Just imagine the likes flooding in.

Now, of course, Polestar isn’t going to make an electric open-top sports car anytime soon, because they don’t sell in volume. And SUVs do. The promise of “the potential to gradually realise some of ideas presented by these concept cars” isn’t tremendously promising, in truth. However, like the Arctic Circle, the O2 hopefully points to a day not far in the future when a more established Polestar has the freedom to embark on more exciting projects. And who wouldn’t be in the queue for an O2? Just maybe without a drone in the boot.

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