With the market showing strong interest in its first two models, Polestar is doing an about-face on what could become its third production line, officials announcing last weekend that it will now put the Precept concept vehicle into production.
Originally meant to debut at the Geneva Motor Show cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the show car had a virtual reveal last April, Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath announcing that Precept was meant to show off the all-electric brand’s future design direction. But, at the time, he also said there were no plans to actually put the coupe-like sedan into production.
Since then, Polestar officials have rethought that strategy in light of the strong response the concept received. “That is when we started to ask: ‘What would it take to make it a reality’?” Ingenlath said, ahead of the Polestar news conference at the Beijing Motor Show. “Now it’s no longer a vision, it’s a challenging goal, which makes it something to strive to reach.”
(Polestar finally provides a Precept deep dive.)
Both the Polestar 1 plug-in hybrid and all-electric Polestar 2 sedan are based off existing product platforms shared with the brand’s parent Volvo. The production version of the Polestar Precept will likewise share Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture, or SPA2, but its design will make a sharp break from that of the Swedish parent.
About the only things that might carry over, based on the details and images released from the weekend, are the Thor’s Hammer headlights.
“Consumers want to see change from this industry – not just dreams,” Ingenlath said. “Now, Precept becomes an even stronger statement. We are committed to reducing the environmental impact of our cars and our business. The aim has to be climate neutrality, even though I recognize that is a long-term goal.”
The Polestar Precept abandons the traditional automotive front end, trading a large grille for what it calls a “SmartZone,” where it will house a variety of sensors, including radar, cameras and even futuristic LIDAR, for next-generation driver-assistance technology. The inclusion of LIDAR suggests the carmaker wants to bring out a hands-free version of the Precept.
(First Drive: 2021 Polestar 2.)
The Precept – announced in China at the Beijing Motor Show this past weekend – noticeably replaced conventional mirrors with sideview cameras, an approach meant to reduce range-stealing wind drag. That approach is beginning to reach market in Europe and Asia but has yet to win regulatory approval in the U.S.
In keeping with Polestar’s push for sustainable driving, the Precept is expected to use renewable materials such as flax-based composited – already found in the Polestar 2 – and seating surfaces made from recycled pop bottles.
Development of the Polestar Precept is now underway at the brand’s R&D center in the United Kingdom. But production is expected to occur at a new facility in China the company said will be “one of the most intelligent and connected automotive production facilities in the world.”
The two existing Polestar product lines also come out of China, the all-electric Polestar 2 sedan assembled at a facility shared with Volvo in Luqiao.
The decision to announce plans for the Polestar Precept at the Beijing show should come as no surprise. Attempting to address the country’s endemic smog problems, Chinese officials have set tough new mandates for “New Energy Vehicles” that include plug-in hybrids and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles as well as all-electric models like the Polestar Precept will be.
(Forget about being a Tesla killer, Polestar just wants a share of the growing EV market.)
Company officials have not identified plans for selling the new coupe/sedan outside of China but they have confirmed that a Polestar crossover also is under development, a body style considered essential for gaining traction in the SUV-crazed U.S. market.