Polestar looks into the crystal ball with Precept electric GT concept
Looking to fully establish itself as the high-performance electrified brand of the Volvo/Zhejiang Geely family, Polestar has previewed the future of its design language with the all-electric Precept concept. The curvaceous tourer divorces itself from the obvious Volvo influence of previous Polestar vehicles without abandoning it forever. The new concept also puts afloat the obligatory boatload of tech and sustainable buzzwords, including a holographic crystal, flax-based composites and recycled-cork vinyl.
The sporty, low-slung Precept concept takes a decisive step away from from the toothy, repackaged Volvo styling of previous Polestar designs, looking every bit the part of a performance halo. Its large wheels and muscular haunches hint at the electrified torque and zip lurking below its skin, while the neutral colors and neat, simple creasing keep it grounded enough to feel like a true Swedish design.
The most striking element of the Precept's styling is the new front-end design. Here, a dramatic quad-lamp "Thor's hammer" lighting signature diverges from the Thor's hammers of Volvo fame. Between these sharply drawn eyes, Polestar shows mercy in killing off the unflattering toothy grille, replacing it with a digitized "SmartZone." As Polestar explains, the area previously tasked with breathing now takes on the responsibility of seeing, using a pair of radars and a high-definition camera to view the road and objects ahead, assisted by a Lidar mounted atop the glass roof.
Despite the loss of the grille, air has no trouble finding its way around the new Polestar face. Molecules that don't get sucked into the side intakes dangling off the lower headlamp blades accelerate over the hood with help from a front wing.
We think Polestar is successful in creating an attractive face that elicits the question, "What car is that?!" However, the rear-end brings that conversation screeching to a halt with an emphatic, "Glad I don't drive one!" The whole thing feels overdone, the crisp "light-blade" taillights framing the upper edge of a strange series of shapes, volumes and colors that never mesh into a cohesive design. And no matter how much Polestar strives to convince us of the merits of its smart sensors, side cameras and wide-angle rear-view system, we don't like the lack of rear windshield, either.
Slice that rear into something presentable, though, and Polestar has a much sportier, more premium design language than it ever achieved with the two-door Polestar 1. Next up, an actual model name.
Inside the doors, the Precept runs a powerful Android-based HMI on a tablet-style 15-in infotainment touchscreen and 12.5-in driver display working together with eye-tracking and proximity sensors to make information available at exactly the right time and place. The two screens are linked visually by an illuminated blade that sweeps around a greater four-seat cabin defined by sustainable, repurposed materials. Reclaimed fishing nets become carpets; recycled PET bottles are 3D-knitted into seat surfaces; and recycled cork makes up the vinyl of the bolsters and headrests. The seat backs and interior panels are crafted from flax-based composites designed to cut plastic waste and vehicle weight. Between the rear seats, a holograph of the Polestar emblem glows eerily from inside a hunk of Swedish crystal.
"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," promises Polestar design chief Maximilian Missoni.
Polestar won't head there immediately, however. Unless it has more details to spill in Geneva, the Precept is more a design study than a near-production concept car. Of the electric powertrain, it says only that the large battery pack finds home inside the 122-in (3,100-mm) wheelbase.
Either way, Volvo will give the concept a full world premiere at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show, which opens to the press on March 3.