Volvo-owned Polestar unveiled a concept car named Precept that signals the direction it will take during the 2020s. It takes the form of an electric, performance-tuned fastback fitted with an interior made largely from recycled materials and equipped with one of the coolest infotainment systems I’ve seen.
Polestar currently makes two cars plainly named 1 and 2, respectively. Both started life as Volvo design studies before being passed to the young automaker’s vehicle development team, so neither fully illustrates its own approach to design. The Precept is the first car it designed in-house starting with a blank sheet of paper, and it marks a clean break with the Volvo-imbued design language that characterizes the 1 and the 2.
It’s sporty, but not in an aggressive manner. It’s elegant, but it’s not boring to look at. And Polestar neatly integrated the various sensors, cameras, and radars required for semi-autonomous driving into the overall design.
This minimalist approach to car design continues in the cabin, where recycled materials reign supreme. The passengers sit on 3D-knitted pieces of plastic bottles instead of leather or cloth, the carpets are made with reclaimed fishing nets, while the headrests are manufactured using recycled cork vinyl.
The dashboard is dominated by a 15-inch, portrait-oriented touchscreen that displays the next evolution of the infotainment system Polestar developed jointly with Google. It aims to offer a more contextualized and personalized experience by taking into account each user’s identity and their pre-determined preferences. If you’re in an unfamiliar area, and if you’ve looked for tacos in the past, the software might suggest a nearby Mexican restaurant. Video streaming will be available, though Polestar hasn’t revealed its partners yet, so it could suggest new shows that line up with your viewing history. These features will only work if you allow them to.
Google Assistant is built directly into the infotainment system, and the screen automatically dims or brightens depending on light conditions, and whether or not the front passengers are looking at it. Don’t stare for too long, though; it emits visual and audible warnings if it detects the driver’s eyes are off the road.
Polestar hasn’t released technical specifications, so all we know about the Precept’s powertrain is that it’s electric. With the notable exception of the 1, which is a plug-in hybrid, Polestar pledged to only make electric cars.
While the Precept is merely a concept car, Polestar stressed it’s also a manifesto of things to come. Reading the tea leaves reveals motorists will be able to buy it (or something like it) in the early 2020s, complete with the aforementioned tech features. And, of course, it will be entirely electric.
“This is not a dream of a distant future,” company boss Thomas Ingenlath hinted in a statement.
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