Polestar Precept is the Swedish brand’s vision for its future models, a vision that is all about using sustainable materials and giving up on the use of plastic. Aside from being a design statement, a taste of future production models, its main aim is to showcase some of Polestar’s novel solutions in terms of materials use.
The Percept rides on a 3.1-meter (122-inch) wheelbase, which means it’s slightly larger than a Tesla Model S. Its design is meant to be embody what the brand considers to be its three main values: “pure, progressive and performance.”
Especially noteworthy is the Precept’s front fascia that has what is called the Polestar SmartZone. Unlike many cars that try to hide their plethora of sensors for safety systems and semi-autonomous driving, this study fully embraces them and places them along where the grille would have been in a conventional car.
Above this area is an integrated front wing that “accelerates air flow over the long bonnet. This allows air to attach itself to the surface earlier, which improves aerodynamic efficiency and thus improves the vehicle’s range.” The rear end is dominated by a full-width LED light bar and you may also note the absence of a rear screen.
Polestar argues that since it has cameras to show what’s going on behind the car, the removal of rear glass makes sense. The manufacturer says this allows for a bigger opening and easier access into the cargo area and adds that since the full-length glass roof extends all the way behind where rear occupants’ heads would be, they shouldn’t feel uncomfortable riding in the back.
As previously mentioned, this study features a few quite trick materials. The seatbacks, for instance, are made from a composite material that is 50 percent lighter than conventional plastic and it also allows “up to 80% reduction of plastic waste.”
The material that covers the seat is made from recycled plastic bottles, while the seat bolsters and the headrests are made from recycled cork vinyl; carpets are made out of recycled fishing nets.
This concept is also a poster vehicle for the advancements made by Polestar in the realm of HMI (Human Machine Interface). It boasts a clever Android-powered infotainment system, as well as an array of sensors “to monitor the driver’s gaze and adjust the content of the various screens accordingly. Proximity sensors also enhance the usability of the centre display when driving.”
It all sounds really cool, and we hope to learn more about it when it debuts at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show.
Precept showcases the future of Polestar’s journey
Polestar reveals the Polestar Precept – a vision of the brand’s future direction and a clear expression of intent. Precept exhibits the execution of new, more sustainable interior materials, the continued development of the digital user interface and the essence of Polestar design.
The name “Precept” was chosen to emphasise the vehicle’s role in setting out Polestar’s intent as the contemporary electric performance brand. A precept is a manifesto of things to come; a declaration. The car signifies an important milestone for Polestar as a standalone brand, describing a unique design philosophy that remains firmly embedded in Polestar’s brand values: pure, progressive and performance.
“Precept is a declaration, a vision of what Polestar stands for and what makes the brand relevant,” comments Thomas Ingenlath, CEO of Polestar. “The car is a response to the clear challenges our society and industry face. This is not a dream of a distant future, Polestar Precept previews future vehicles and shows how we will apply innovation to minimise our environmental impact.
Minimalistic athleticism, the sculpted form of the Polestar Precept sets the tone for future Polestar vehicles. The vehicle’s proportions define its presence with restrained surfacing and a focus on aerodynamic efficiency. A 3.1-metre wheelbase which accommodates a large battery pack gives the stunning four-door grand tourer a very low and sleek silhouette with an emphasis on leg- and headroom in the rear.
The front grille is replaced by the Polestar SmartZone, representing a shift from breathing to seeing. An area which once channelled air to radiators and the internal combustion engine, now houses technology for safety sensors and driver assistance functions. Purposefully gathered behind a transparent panel dedicated to intelligent hardware are two radar sensors and a high definition camera. The LIDAR pod, mounted atop the glass roof, is given optimal visibility as a next step towards increased driving assistance. The Thor’s Hammer LED headlight signature evolves with separated elements, taking on a dynamic, more robotic and brand-defining interpretation.
Precept features an integrated front wing above the SmartZone which accelerates air flow over the long bonnet. This allows air to attach itself to the surface earlier, which improves aerodynamic efficiency and thus improves the vehicle’s range. At the rear, the wide light-blade spans the entire width of the car, extending into vertical aero-wings – another aerodynamic feature and a nod to light-weight design.
Conventional side mirrors are replaced by camera-based units, each of which extends outwards on an aerodynamic arm. Inside, the traditional rear-view mirror is replaced with a digital screen, the image collected by a wide-angle camera mounted at the rear of the car. The absence of a conventional rear window means that the Precept’s single-volume glass roof extends behind the rear seats and the tailgate itself is designed with a larger opening and higher-mounted hinges improving access.
Polestar continues to believe in collaborating with experts to accelerate development and provide customers with the best available technologies. Precept’s interior is defined by sustainability and offered opportunity to work with new materials and processes. Similarly, the evolution of the HMI builds on current partnerships which maximise the integration of expertise.
Sustainable new interior materials balance modern high-tech luxury with reduced environmental impact. Bcomp’s flax-based composites for interior panels and seatbacks offer significant improvements over conventional materials, including up to 50% saving in weight and up to 80% reduction of plastic waste.
Seat surfaces are 3D-knitted from recycled PET bottles, bolsters and headrests are made from recycled cork vinyl, while carpets are made from reclaimed fishing nets. These elements, combined with digital artistry, define a new premium luxury that surpasses the conventions of leather, wood and chrome.
The next generation HMI, powered by Android, builds on Polestar’s close collaboration with Google. An enlarged, portrait-oriented 15-inch centre touch screen complements a 12.5-inch driver display, and the two are linked by an illuminated blade that encompasses the entire interior. In this execution, the unique Polestar emblem floats holographically inside a solid piece of Swedish crystal between the rear seat headrests.
Supporting the advancement of a personalised and dynamic digital interface, the instrument panel also hosts an array of smart sensors. Eye tracking will allow the car to monitor the driver’s gaze and adjust the content of the various screens accordingly. Proximity sensors also enhance the usability of the centre display when driving.
Maximilian Missoni, head of Design at Polestar, says: “Polestar Precept’s aesthetics are rooted in cutting-edge technology rather than looking back in time at historical, automotive references. 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.”
A new use for plastics
Plastic has found its third act.
Once considered a revolutionary material, plastic was a miracle solution. As transparent and malleable as glass, but nowhere near as fragile, plastic was used in countless applications.
And though it was recyclable, a combination of inadequate recycling programs and low residual value meant that a majority of used plastic ended up in landfills. And the ocean. To the tune of 8 million tonnes per year.
However, plastic is about to redeem itself. New doors are opening when it comes to used plastic, thanks to innovative techniques and unorthodox solutions. A few of which we’re putting into practice.
The first of these is 3D-knit. Made from 100% recycled PET bottles, this woven fabric is already a known entity in fashion and footwear. It looks and feels premium, reduces waste, and the production process itself wastes nothing as the material can be made to size.
The second is recycled Nylon 6, a material fashioned from discarded fishing nets. An international collection network provides said nets, meaning a self-perpetuating supply of plastic which would have otherwise ended up in the sea.
The third is cork, along with bottle stoppers from the wine industry. These materials, along with waste products from the cork manufacturing process, form part of the interior PVC components.
The fourth are the woven flax fibres of Bcomp, with their innovative powerRibs™ material forming the rear seat panels.
None of these materials come at the expense of design or quality. “If anything, they enable even more premium, cutting-edge, modern and stylish executions which elevate our design-led products,” states Polestar Head of Design Maximilian Missoni. “We were able to derive new aesthetics from new contexts and technologies, allowing society to move on.”
Plastic has been reinvented multiple times, from miracle material, to scourge of the environment, to a new, sustainable definition of premium. Plastic has found its third act, one that ensures its incredible shelf life is leveraged.
Less plastic in the ocean. More premium in a Polestar.
Polestar and Bcomp
Every so often, science fiction becomes science fact.
Blending technology and living materials is an age-old science fiction idea. So is replacing the mechanical with the biological. Occasionally, something from sci-fi is not only possible to replicate in real life, but also incredibly useful. Like the materials made by Bcomp.
Based in the Swiss city of Fribourg, Bcomp is a “natural fibre composite innovator” which has been producing sustainable materials for a variety of applications since 2011. What makes this a science-fiction-in-real-life story is that they’re made from organic fibres. We’ve teamed with Bcomp in order to make use of two of their game-changing composites.
The first of these materials is ampliTex™, made from woven flax fibres. When used in the interior of a car, for example, it reduces both vibrations and overall weight, while acting as a visual layer. The fibres are processed mechanically as opposed to chemically, and flax itself is much less taxing on soil than other crops.
The second is powerRibs™, also made from flax. Inspired by the vein structures of leaves, they form a 3D structure on the back of a panel which drastically increases the panel’s strength and stiffness. This allows the panel itself to be thinner than if it were made of a more traditional material, cutting down both weight and material amount. It reduces vibrations by a whopping 250%. It can even behave better in a crash situation when compared with more conventional materials.
Ground-breaking materials made from organic components used to only be found in the far future of science fiction. Soon, they could be found in a Polestar.
The next stage of infotainment
We partnered with Google to develop a seamless infotainment experience for the Polestar 2, powered by Android. We recognised certain limitations in the automotive world when it came to the in-car experience: navigation was lacking, apps were pale shadows of their smartphone equivalents, and the less said about speech recognition, the better.
The next stage will build on the current connected experience in the Polestar 2. The Google Assistant will evolve to be an even more helpful co-pilot, using advanced speech technology to expand to more languages, understand local accents and provide a more personalised experience. Video streaming from your favourite apps and services will be made available while you charge your vehicle. Even lighting, climate, and seating preferences will automatically adjust for a seamless driving experience.
This is a previously unseen in-car experience. And the first glimpse of it will be in a Polestar.
HMI eye-tracking and proximity story
You don’t need to know everything.
What began as a reprimand to nosy people has become a guiding principle when it comes to HMI design. As screens keep getting bigger, as their resolution improves, and as more and more functions are dreamt up to “improve the in-car experience”, displays in cars are less about important information and more about how colourful, interactive and (let’s face it) distracting they can be.
Not only is this unnecessary, it’s unsafe. Vivid, colourful, gamified screens are beautiful, but they distract the eye. In darkened driving conditions, they can make it much harder to see the road. Polestar has a two-fold approach on how to make an HMI parcel out only the most important information, right when it’s needed.
The first is eye-tracking. The HMI knows where the driver is looking at any given time and adjusts the different in-car displays accordingly.
The second has to do with proximity. When the screen senses that a hand is coming towards it, a few things occur: the screen shows more information, buttons and sliders enlarge for easier manipulation, and the screen becomes brighter.
You don’t need to know everything. At least, not while you’re driving. The new Polestar HMI displays what you need to know, when you need to know it.
Polestar will present Precept at the Geneva International Motor Show from 5-15 March 2020, at stand 5253 in Hall 5.