Polestar O2 convertible concept hints at range expansion

Drop-top O2 concept is Polestar’s expression of an electric car convertible; it’s not confirmed for production – but it’s not been ruled out either

Polestar has already showcased its forthcoming 5 flagship with a concept called Precept. Now the all-electric Swedish brand is previewing how it might introduce an emotional 2+2 convertible with this dramatic-looking creation, called O2. 

The show vehicle is also designed to prove that the modular aluminium architecture that will form the base of the 5 can be adapted to also support a more dynamic, focused sports car. And Polestar’s boss, Thomas Ingenlath, has already suggested that while no firm production plans are in place, he has a long-term vision of adding such a model to his brand’s line-up.

The O2 is a 4.7 metre-long 2+2 - so closer in length to a BMW 4 Series Coupe than the shorter Porsche 911. Polestar’s engineers modified the 5’s platform by removing the ‘foot garages’ - in effect, the holes in the battery floor used on that car to provide rear footwells. This means the O2’s wheelbase is 400mm shorter than that of the 5, but the battery capacity and motor specification could be the same. However, Polestar hasn’t outlined any technical info for the O2 concept.

Ingenlath told us that the O2’s dramatic styling - which includes a deeply scalloped bonnet and pronounced, squared-off haunches over the rear wheels, is “realistic”. “Our concept cars have the spirit of being tangible,” he said. “From a packaging perspective, and how it is constructed, it is possible to put a car like the O2 into production.

“On the other hand, we have not put it into our business plan. We already have three cars for 2022, 23 and 24 in the books, and we are fully occupied with making those real. What is beyond 2025, the future will tell. We are putting out a dream here, with the O2, and we would be irresponsible if we would not make every effort possible to actually live our dreams and make them real.”

This statement confirms that a convertible or sports car is not one of the confirmed forthcoming Polestars - likely to be two SUVs, the 3 and 4, and the already-previewed sleek 5 saloon.

Polestar’s chief designer, Max Missoni, said that a fixed-roof version of the O2 is something that could be envisaged. But Ingenlath said there is “real appeal” in the idea of a zero-emissions convertible. “I feel that this type of car, so far, is a great missed opportunity,” he said. “It’s bizarre to think that a sports car has to have a combustion engine; the greatness of propulsion that comes with the electric drivetrain is amazing for a sports car. 

“Then to do that with the open-roof concept, where everybody dreams of the fresh air, the breeze, of being closer to nature - it’s a perfect fit to have an electric drivetrain in such a car. Not only would you have fresh air when you arrive at it, but you would also leave fresh air for the people behind you - not poisoning them with the exhaust from your car.”

The O2 features a typically neat Polestar interior, with clean lines, few buttons and a sizeable portrait-layout infotainment system that ‘floats’ in front of the dashboard. The most concept-like feature is a drone, which can be stored behind the rear seats and take off even when the car is moving. It can be controlled using the central display and follow the car at speeds of up to 56mph, either maintaining focus on the driver’s face or moving further away for a more panoramic view.

The car also features next-generation sustainable materials which are “not quite ready for industrialisation just yet”, according to Ingenlath. They include the use of recycled polyester as the single material in all soft components, reducing the complexity of manufacturing but also making the vehicle more straightforward to recycle.

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