In yet another move that demonstrates Polestar is a very unusual car company, the Swedish brand is releasing a short documentary series showing a rare behind-the-scenes look at the making of the next-gen Polestar 5 electric vehicle. “We’re following it through all the ups and downs, through all the blood sweat and tears […] until the finished product,” said Maximilian Missoni, the company’s head of design.
Most car companies would never show the struggle, but it’s really worth taking the time to watch the first five parts of this series — they’re only a few minutes each — on YouTube. If you take cars for granted, as most of us do, you won’t anymore after seeing all the work that goes into making that incredibly-complex machine sitting in your driveway.
The Polestar 5 will be the brand’s next-generation flagship, a svelte high-performance four-door grand tourer set to launch in 2024.
To recap, the Sweden-based, Chinese-owned company has been moving fast since unveiling the Polestar 1 coupe in 2017, and the Polestar 2 sedan in 2019. (The latter is getting a raft of design tweaks and upgrades for 2022.) The Polestar 3, the brand’s first SUV, is due to be unveiled later this year. Little is known about the Polestar 4, other than the fact it’ll be a smaller crossover-type SUV and is expected to debut in 2024. That brings us to the Polestar 5, which is the subject of this new documentary series, and so much blood, sweat, and tears.
The film will follow the Polestar 5 from concept to production, a process that typically takes three years or more. The concept car was called the Precept, and it was supposed to debut at the 2020 Geneva motor show, which, of course, never happened. Despite its virtual unveiling, the concept still made waves for its minimalist design and its promise of advanced automated-driving features.
As Missoni explained, however, the danger with a concept car is that they can lose people; a car can be a designer’s dream that’s simply not realistic. Worst case: you end up disappointing customers by promising one thing but not being able to deliver. Obviously, Polestar didn’t want that, so the concept was designed from the beginning to be production-ready. Even so, there’s a mountain of work to do to make a car that’s reliable, safe, comfortable, fun-to-drive and luxurious.
Part 2 of the series shows the design evolution of the clay model. Yes, cars are still modelled at 1:1 scale in clay by craftspeople who spend their whole careers perfecting this unusual art. Part 3 is all about where the inspiration for the design came from, and how those ideas are gradually refined in a seemingly endless cycle of presentations and critiques. (“You have to be able to visualize the future,” one of the designers said. Not an easy task.) The following episode is all about the interior design, which — as traffic becomes worse and people spend more and more time inside cars — is arguably becoming the most important part of any vehicle.
Something as seemingly-simple as the design of the centre console is created in a complex iterative process, going from 2D concept, to 3D model, to digital painting, to physical modelling, to the engineering department, then back to 3D and on and on. It’s a constant, ongoing negotiation between the designers and engineers who work to find the best possible solution for, say, where to put the cupholders. Full-size interior prototypes are 3D printed and/or made in clay, so the team can get a feel for what the space feels like.
The fifth and most recent episode is about how the team is refining the car’s aerodynamics. (Hint: it involves lots of little bits of string.) The way an electric car slices through the air is critically important for extracting the maximum possible driving range out of a given battery. More aerodynamic drag means less range, and nobody wants that.
We’re eagerly awaiting future episodes — the Polestar 5 still has a long way to go — but in the meantime you can watch the whole series to date right here.
The first five parts of the series:
In other Polestar news, the Swedish company unveiled a rare all-electric convertible and took a not-so-subtle shot at Tesla CEO Elon Musk in a weird Super Bowl spot.