Polestar Precept electric flagship: first image of prototype released
New image shows prototype of the roadgoing version of Polestar's Precept concept car, which will arrive before 2025 and rival the Tesla Model S and Mercedes EQS
In an announcement on the expansion of its UK-based R&D team, Polestar has also released the first image (below) of what could be a prototype production version of the Precept concept car – a luxury electric saloon that would take on the Tesla Model S.
Earlier this year, the Swedish company confirmed that a model based on the Precept will enter production and is expected to arrive in showrooms during 2023. While no details have been released about the roadgoing car, we can see from the image that it'll in all likelihood feature a more conventional set of doors than the striking 'coach doors' that appeared on the concept.
However, the prototype does appear to retain the Precept’s coupe-like roofline, short overhangs and rear deck. Other than what we can see in the image, Polestar has yet to share any details regarding the car’s battery size, range or performance.
Head of Polestar’s UK R&D, Pete Allen, said about his team’s involvement in the roadgoing Precept’s development: “Precept is a statement of intent for the brand in terms of design, technology and sustainability. The production car will take an important step on the journey towards climate neutrality, and ours will be the team that delivers that.”
Polestar’s UK R&D arm will soon be expanding from a 250-strong team to more than 500. The production version of the Precept will rival models such as the Tesla Model S, Mercedes EQS and Porsche Panamera. As with Polestar's other cars, it's expected to be built on the same SPA2 mechanical platform as some Volvo cars.
The concept was originally intended to take centre stage at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2020, before the event was cancelled due to Covid, so its public debut took place at the 2021 Goodwood Festival of Speed. We recently got some hands-on time with the Precept concept, which you can learn more about in the video above.
Interview with Polestar CEO
Speaking to DrivingElectric, Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath explained that the production version of the Precept will fit into the brand's numerical naming system, but stopped short of saying which number it'd carry: "We will not change our nomenclature that quickly," he said. "But as a codeword for us to work with until it gets into production, let's call it Precept."
The car won't be ready for production for some time, as Ingenlath explained: "This car will be thoroughly engineered and tested, so of course, three years will pass before we can talk about the start of production," he said in 2020. It's expected that the car will sit at the top of Polestar's range when it arrives, but rather than a limited-run car like the Polestar 1, Precept will be a permanent fixture in the line-up.
Polestar's focus on sustainability will be reflected in the car's battery, which will most likely offer a range of around 300 miles: "If you're talking about making a car more efficient, that's great," Ingenlath explained. "If you're talking about packing more and more kWh into the car to make the best range figure, it's crazy, because that doesn't help us get closer to making a sustainable car."
It's likely that the new car will focus on faster charging speeds rather than a bigger battery that requires more precious elements to produce. It's also expected that the Precept will continue that sustainable approach elsewhere; customer appetite for a sustainably made car helped clear the model for production, in fact.
"Generations are changing; younger people are becoming older," Ingenlath said. "The premium segment is changing into that direction, so luxury has [sustainability] in focus." It's likely that Polestar's forthcoming flax-based composite will take the place of traditional virgin plastics in the new car's interior – and it's set to be built at a bespoke, carbon-neutral factory in China.
Elsewhere, Ingenlath confirmed that the forthcoming Polestar 3 SUV will use an updated version of the Android-powered infotainment system found in the Polestar 2, and that it'd be "crazy" not to use it on the as-yet-unnamed production Precept.
Polestar Precept concept car details and design
Aside from its striking exterior styling, the Precept concept car includes innovations in sustainable interior materials and HMI (human-machine interface). At the front, the grille has been replaced with a transparent panel called the 'Polestar SmartZone', which houses sensors for the car's driver-assistance and safety systems.
Above this, an integrated front wing accelerates air flow over the long bonnet, improving aerodynamic efficiency and thus range. At the rear, there's a full-width light blade, which extends at its edges into small 'aero wings' – another aerodynamic touch. As on the Honda e and certain versions of the Audi e-tron, conventional door mirrors are replaced by cameras feeding to screens at the edge of the dashboard, while a wide-angle camera on the rear of the car supplies the picture for the central rear-view screen.
Inside, a 3.1-metre long wheelbase ensures generous rear headroom and legroom. There's no separate rear window; the car's single-piece glass roof extends behind the rear seats. Between the rear headrests, the Polestar emblem floats holographically inside a solid piece of Swedish crystal. Several different types of sustainable materials are used for the interior, including flax-based composites for the panels and seatbacks, 3D-knitted recycled plastic bottles for the seat surfaces, recycled cork vinyl for the seat bolsters and headrests and reclaimed fishing nets for the carpets.
Like the Polestar 1 and Polestar 2 production models, the Precept uses an Android-based infotainment system. There's a 15-inch portrait-orientated central screen as well as a 12.5-inch screen in front of the driver, linked by an illuminated 'blade' that encompasses the whole interior. The system complements the usual touchscreen interface with eye-tracking and proximity sensors to allow hands-free manipulation of the menus.
According to Polestar's head of design Maximilian Missoni: "At Polestar, we see technology as an enabler, as a tool to solve our society’s problems and we translated this attitude into a new set of design principles. The combination of sustainable materials and high-tech smart systems opens an entirely new chapter of avant-garde luxury design and shows where Polestar is heading.”
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