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Polestar's 02 Roadster Concept Represents the Future of Electric Performance Cars, it Also Features a Drone for Taking Aerial Driving Footage

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【Summary】Polestar unveiled its O2 Concept car on Wednesday, and it's one of the most striking examples of the future of electric performance. Polestar says the O2 hard-top convertible “redefines sports roadsters for the electric age.” The O2 concept follows the recently unveiled Precept Concept. Both vehicles are designed to showcase the innovation and potential of the electric Polestar brand.

Eric Walz    Mar 02, 2022 12:45 PM PT
Polestar's 02 Roadster Concept Represents the Future of Electric Performance Cars, it Also Features a Drone for Taking Aerial Driving Footage
The Polestar 02 Roadster Concept is an example of what the future of electric performance cars could be.

It's hard to believe that Tesla's first vehicle, the Roadster, came out almost 15 years ago. Although the original Roadster put Tesla on the map, its was never meant to be a mass-market vehicle. However, it was an example of what the future of electric performance cars could be.

When its arrives, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk says the redesigned Roadster will be the fastest car in the world, with a 0 to 60 mph acceleration time of 1.9 seconds and a top speed of 250 mph. However its launch has been delayed until at least 2023.

But other automakers are also targeting the electric sports car market, including Polestar, the electric performance brand of Sweden's Volvo Cars.

Polestar unveiled its O2 Concept car on Wednesday, and it's one of the most striking examples of the future of electric performance. Polestar says the O2 hard-top convertible "redefines sports roadsters for the electric age." Judging from its looks, the 02 does.

The O2 concept follows the unveiled Precept Concept in 2020. Both vehicles are designed to showcase the innovation and potential of the electric Polestar brand. The Precept will move from the concept phase and will be released as a production vehicle named the "Polestar 5" in 2024. The 02 could follow the same path.

"Polestar O2 is the hero car for our brand," said Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar CEO. "It opens the door to our secret chamber of future potential. This is a taste of what we can design and engineer with the talent and technology we have in-house. It looks incredible, and being able to lower the roof and not hear an engine promises a superb sensation."

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Polestar says the driving experience of the 02 is designed to be "lively and full of confidence". The body of the 02 was adapted from the Polestar 5 and was developed in-house by Polestar's R&D team in the UK.

The bonded aluminum platform of the 02 is geared toward heightened dynamic response. Different grades of aluminum are used throughout the chassis to help deliver a thrilling driving experience.

Polestar says the EV's handling dynamics are firm, due to small roll angles and high roll damping. Polestar describes the steering response as linear, with great steering torque build-up. 

The low and wide body give the 02 and aggressive stance fitting of a car of this caliber. Overall, the body features minimal overhangs and a long wheelbase. Polestar was able to take the classic look of iconic roadsters of the past and incorporate the design elements in a modern electric roadster.

Aerodynamics of the 02 can be controlled while driving to maximize range. The O2 features integrated ducts that improve laminar air flow over the wheels and body sides. Another unique feature is the rear lights that also function as "air blades" to reduce turbulence behind the car.

"Polestar O2 is our vision of a new era for sports cars," says Polestar's Head of Design, Missoni. "By mixing the joy of open top driving with the purity of electric mobility, it unlocks a new mix of emotions in a car. But as with all our cars, we are about more than just straight-line sprints. It's when you turn the steering wheel that the true fun begins."

The Companion Drone for the Polestar 02 Concept

Polestar recognizes that the world is becoming increasingly driven by social media. Therefore, the company developed a cinematic companion drone for the 02 for taking spirited driving videos to share with others. 

The drone was Developed in collaboration with Aerofugia's consumer electronics brand Hoco Flow. Aerofugia was formed in 2017 by Polestar's parent company Geely and U.S.-based flying car developer Terrafugia.  The concept drone can be deployed while the car is moving, to record unique driving videos.

To launch the drone at higher speeds, Polestar engineers developed a specialized aerofoil that raises behind the rear seats that reduces wind turbulence and creates a negative pressure. It allows the drone to take off when the car is moving. 

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Once airborne, the drone flies autonomously, automatically following the car at speeds up to 56 mph. The driver can choose between an atmospheric sequence, which Polestars says is great for a coastline cruise – or a more action-filled driving sequence. After filming, the drone can autonomously return to the car. What's more, the drone video clips can be edited and shared directly from the 15-inch center display once the vehicle is parked.

"We wanted to emphasize the experience you can have with a car like the Polestar O2 in new and unusual ways," says Polestar's Head of Design, Maximilian Missoni. "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."

Sustainability

The 02 also features sustainable materials throughout the interior. Polestar used a new type of thermoplastic mono-material extensively in the interior. The term "mono-material" describes the use of a single base material to manufacture different components, according to Polestar.

In the Polestar O2, recycled polyester is the only material used for all the soft components of the interior, including foam, adhesive, 3D knit fibers and non-woven lamination. Polestar says this design choice simplifies recycling while also reducing weight and waste.

The three types of aluminum in the 02's body are each labeled, allowing the component to be recycled more effectively while retaining their properties. By not mixing the various metals, high grade aluminum retains its grade, while other aluminum grades maintain their varied characteristics, allowing for greater material efficiency and a lower requirement for virgin aluminum.

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Based on its looks, there is no doubt that many sports car enthusiasts will want to see the 02 enter production, but for now Polestar will focus on its mainstream EVs, like the Polestar 2 that's available now.

Over the next several years, Polestar plans to launch one new vehicle per year, starting with the Polestar 3 electric performance SUV this year. This will be followed by the Polestar 4, a smaller electric performance SUV coupe in 2024, then the Polestar 5 will launch.

Polestar seeks to reduce its climate impact with every new model, with the goal of producing a climate-neutral car by 2030.

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