A Microsmile from Polestar

By Gary S. Vasilash

One of the things that start-up companies have the opportunity to do–if they’re simply not hell-bent on doing whatever it is that they think they are supposed to be doing and so suck all of the enjoyment out of their endeavors–is to be a bit whimsical, to do things that are related to their business but not simply the same thing with a dab of red paint to somehow make it seem more “creative.”

EV startup Polestar held a design contest last year.*

Kristian Talvitie, a Finnish designer, received an honorable mention.

KOJA by Polestar. No wheels. No motor. A tree house. (Image: Polestar)

That said, Talvitie’s design for a microspace tree house was built full scale by Polestar designers, Talvitie and personnel from Finnish design agency Ultra.

The KOJA has been installed at the Fiskars Village Art & Design Biennale in southwestern Finland.

Polestar builds vehicles, not tree houses that are positioned just below the tree canopy for high visibility of the wilderness.

Maximilian Missoni, head of Design at Polestar, said, “We were fascinated by the idea and how it translates our brand values [e.g., accessibility, sustainability] into a different environment.”

Yes, that. And probably because they wanted to have a little fun.

*It is also holding one this year. Designers love designs even of things that they’re not paid to design.

Hertz Getting More EVs: Good for Them. Tricky for Renters.

The Polestar 2, when plugged into a DC fast charger, can go from 10 to 80% of charge in 33 minutes. If using a Level 2 charger, it is about eight hours to get to 100%.

Imagine the clock running. . . .

Rental car company Hertz and Polestar have announced that during the next five years the vehicle manufacturer will be selling Hertz some 65,000 vehicles, starting with the Polestar 2.

Hertz announced in October 2021 that it would be sourcing 100,000 Model 3s from Tesla.

Clearly the company is making a commitment to electric vehicles.

The company reported that in Q4 2021 it had a total of 470,900 vehicles, of which 384,492 are in the Americas.

Here’s the thing: Whether it is someone who has rented a vehicle for making business calls or who has one for a family vacation, isn’t is almost always the case that in order to avoid paying exceedingly high refueling rates there is a last-minute run to a gas station before dropping the vehicle off, even if that station is one of those that is on the edge of the airport and so has comparatively high per-gallon prices?

Further, isn’t it almost always the situation—vocational or avocational—that people are running to the edge of the time schedule for the flight departure? (Let’s not even go to the baggage check and the TSA process.)

Imagine the clock running. . . .

How are EVs going to work out for those people?

Probably not very well.

Polestar 2 Gets a Full-Blown Browser

By Gary S. Vasilash

According to statcounter, as of November, when it comes to browsers, Chrome has 66.35% of the global market. Then there is a drop WAY DOWN to 9.82%, Safari. So as you can imagine, the rest are below that.

One browser I’d not heard of is Vivaldi. According to the company, “Vivaldi launched in 2015 to make up for the loss of features in other browsers.” And it acknowledges that it is based on the Chromium engine.

Presumably, that makes it part of those Chrome stats.

Be that as it may, the browser is of interest because Polestar has released it for the Polestar 2. The deployment is described as a “full-scale web browser” that allows users “to browse the web as they might on their mobile devices.”

Said Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner, CEO at Vivaldi, “We are really proud to introduce our browser to a car for the first time, and specifically with a brand like Polestar. Our technological and sustainability ambitions are well aligned. We value transparency, privacy and responsible innovation – including the fact that we have our servers in Iceland, one of Polestar’s newest markets. Like Polestar, we are a challenger brand, and we take a Scandinavian approach to design, that is based on trust and listening to our users.” Vivaldi is based in Norway.

The browser can be accessed through the vehicle’s 11-inch screen. It features a built-in ad blocker, privacy-friendly translation tool, notes function, tracking protection and encrypted sync functionality.

It is worth noting that the browser can only be used when parked. Files can be downloaded when parked. And if there is streaming and driving commences, it will be audio only.

In addition to sustainability, safety is another important item on the Polestar agenda.

EVs Can Be More Green

Assuming you’re concerned with your carbon footprint

By Gary S. Vasilash

Polestar, the growing EV brand, is running life cycle assessments of putting its vehicles on the road, from start to finish.

One of the areas of focus is on the materials and manufacturing. They can deal with the carbon footprint there.

But then the vehicle goes into the hands of consumers.

And then they reach the end of their usefulness and are recycled (good) or scrapped (bad).

Polestar has expanded its focus to the vehicle-in-use stage. To that end it is working with a Dutch solar designer, Marjan van Aubel, working on increasing the amount of vehicle charging that is being performed via renewable sources.

Van Aubel: “There still needs to be significant integration. Solar energy only accounts for a small percentage of the electricity in the European grid, and just 34% of the energy we use comes from renewable resources. But together, we’re expanding the possibilities of generating energy from wind, water and solar sources. Designers are coming up with completely new ideas, too. They are proof that we are well on our way to creating a fully renewable energy grid and truly sustainable electric mobility.”

Here’s something to consider: In the U.S. solar adds 3.3% to the grid.

The importance of renewables in charging an EV: Polestar has determined that by using renewable electricity the carbon footprint of an in-use EV can be cut in half.

Non-trivial.

The Polestar 2 Expands

New models mean the Polestar 2 is now 3–sort of

By Gary S. Vasilash

The Polestar 2—which comes from a company named “Polestar”—has now become three.

That is, there is the Polestar 2 Launch Edition, an EV with two electric motors. That’s one.

Now there will be two others: One that is the single motor Polestar 2.

The Polestar 2 (Image: Polestar)

Another that is a dual motor Polestar 2.

Which makes three.

Now the Launch Edition has motors on both the front and rear axles. It has a combined output of 408 hp. (Yes, it is an electric vehicle, but people are more familiar with horsepower than kilowatts. For now.)

Then there will be the Polestar 2 with one motor. The motor will be on the front axle. But rather than a motor with an output of 204 hp—as is the case for the Polestar 2 Launch Edition—the output of that motor will be 231 hp.

The third is the dual-motor Polestar 2, which, motor-wise, is like the Polestar 2 Launch Edition, but which can be ordered with different amenities, thereby permitting people to get into it for less than the price (although Polestar has yet to release pricing) of a Polestar Launch Edition.

Sometimes people complain about companies (think Audi or Cadillac) using alphanumerics instead of names.

This is one case where maybe that would be a better idea.

Polestar: The Green Car Company You’ve Probably Not Heard of (Yet)

Polestar is a brand that you may not be familiar with at the moment. But that is likely to change, as it is dedicated to producing electric vehicles (EVs) that combine Swedish style with performance.

Polestar was established in 2017 as an independent brand by Volvo Cars and Geely Holding. (This is a little complicated because Volvo Cars in under the Geely umbrella, so the way to think about it is that it is a company that Volvo developed and that Geely is underwriting.)

The forthcoming Polestar Precept. Stylish. Electric. (Images: Polestar)

There are presently two models, that the company has on offer, the Polestar 1, a hybrid that is exceedingly limited in production, and the Polestar 2, a 2020 model that is a high-volume sedan that offers AWD and 300 kW from the motor. There will then be the Polestar 3, an SUV, and then the Precept, a car that emphasizes three definitional aspects of the brand: sustainability, digital technology and design.

Polestar has a factory in Chengdu, China. It calls it the “Polestar Production Centre.”

Inside the Polestar factory. Yes, factory.

But there’s something interesting about what they’re doing there: operating the plant on 100% renewable electricity. Some 65% of all of the electricity powering the factory comes from hydroelectric with the balance from solar, wind and other renewables.

What’s more, there is no industrial water discharge from the plant and they are establishing a circular approach to waste handling (including carbon fiber) so as to reduce landfill demands.

The factory, designed by Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta, has earned Gold status in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, the only automobile plant in China to do so.

Said Fredrika Klarén, Head of Sustainability at Polestar, “For Polestar, sustainability is not just about the electric powertrain. It impacts everything we do. We want to promote sustainable manufacturing in China. This objective entails a relentless pursuit of circular and climate-neutral solutions, and also being a responsible employer and presence in the area.”–gsv