When Polestar launched its Last year, it was the first fully electric vehicle, it came in one flavor: a twin-motor, four-wheel-drive setup that cost about $ 50,000 before incentives. Next year, the automaker will add some variety.
Polestar is rolling out a more affordable, single-engine, two-wheel drive version of the sedan that still offers many of the features of the dual-engine Polestar 2 along with a few changes that make it a bit more affordable, attractive, and more environmentally friendly for those. looking to make the electrical switch. On a recent trip, we put it to the test.
Single or double motor
The 2022 Polestar 2’s single engine offers an estimated range of 270 miles per Polestar, a little less thrust and fewer options, but plenty of tech to make it easy to drive.
Instead of having two motors that power all four wheels, as it does with the dual motor, this single-motor version pushes all of its 231 horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels. The single 2022 Polestar 2 engine comes with a 78 kWh battery that sits under the floor between the front and rear wheels. Polestar says its useful capacity is 75 kWh. The same battery pack is in the Polestar 2 dual engine. Polestar can and has sent wireless updates to all of its vehicles to help charge faster and adjust battery settings to make them more efficient.
The 2022 Polestar 2 single-engine sedans also have the optional addition of a mechanical heat pump (available in the Plus Pack for $ 4,000 more) that helps maintain that load in harsher climates. Polestar says that under certain weather conditions, the heat pump will absorb heat from the outside air to extend the vehicle’s range by up to 10%. Using Polestar’s estimate, that means the 2022 Polestar 2 Single engine could gain an additional 27 miles of range thanks to the heat pump.
For this model year, the fully loaded launch edition has been removed. The Polestar 2 Single engine replaces it and comes in a streamlined, less-loaded setup that includes a metal roof instead of the Launch Edition’s glass, eco-friendly upholstery, and the choice of a handful of optional “packages,” as Polestar calls them.
You can opt for the Plus Pack, which includes the heat pump, a panoramic glass roof, Harman Kardon premium audio, and a cordless phone charger (among other things). This package was on the Polestar 2 prototype that I drove. You can also go for the Pilot Pack ($ 3,200 more) that includes things like adaptive cruise control and LED exterior lighting. Unfortunately the vehicle I was driving did not have the updated ADAS system so I was unable to test what Polestar says offers Level 2 driver support aids in my driving.
Native Android OS and OTA updates
The Polestar 2 has the distinction of being the first vehicle to use Google’s Android Automotive operating system. While Volvo has also implemented the Android Automotive operating system in some of its vehicles such as the Volvo XC40 Recharge, the entire Polestar brand uses the platform.
Android Automotive OS is enabled open source operating system which runs on Linux and is used as the underlying operating system in vehicle infotainment systems, including Polestar. As a result, Google services like Google Assistant, Google Maps, and the Google Play Store are built into the car. The Android operating system is not the same as Android Auto, a secondary interface that sits on top of an operating system and allows users to project the functions and feel of their smartphone onto the vehicle’s center screen.
On the Polestar 2 2022, users can choose to access almost everything in the vehicle via voice control using the convenient “Hey Google” starter phrase. This phrase gives you access to climate control and driving directions. Since the public has been so deeply immersed in Google’s infrastructure for so long, everything is very intuitive.
Tell the system that your feet are warm and Google’s operating system will lower the temperature in the footwell. Want to find the best taco place in Santa Barbara? Just ask Google to search and then navigate there like I did. I rarely touched the touchscreen while driving as I could pretty much do everything I needed just by asking Google to do it for me.
Natural language recognition is something Google has been working diligently on for many years and continues to improve. Sometimes when using the system I failed a request or awkwardly asked for something like adding a stop at a local beach to take photos. The system didn’t miss a beat and unraveled my language to do exactly what I asked it to do.
In the Polestar 2 Single engine that I drove, the load locations were somewhat integrated into the Google Maps platform on the Android operating system. However, there are some caveats.
Ask Google to search for charging stations along your route and you can filter by brand. While you are doing this on Google Maps, the system will not tell you if a charger is available or working. Polestar has partnered with ChargePoint to provide access to charging, and you can use the ChargePoint app, installed on the center display, to learn more about the selected charger. It takes a few taps around the screen before hitting the road, which means you’ll still need to stop and stop before heading to the nearest charger. On my 200 mile round trip from the Pacific Design Center in Hollywood to Santa Barbara, I didn’t have to stop to recharge.
If it had needed recharging, Polestar says that in DC fast chargers, it could have expected to reach 80% charge in just about 30 minutes. That’s less than the 40 minutes it used to take to reach an 80% charge, according to Glenn Parker, a Polestar technical operations specialist. Parker also said that continuous over-the-air updates will improve the efficiency and scope of the entire portfolio as the company rolls out updates for all owners.
While finding an available charger is still tricky, the integration of Google Maps into the highly technological fabric of the Polestar 2 means that your estimated range is displayed every time you navigate to a new location or add a stop along the way. On my day trip, I arrived at each destination with a few miles more range than the system originally thought it would be, which was a pleasant surprise given that I mis-timed my return to Los Angeles and sat in traffic on the bus. west side for 45 minutes while the range hovered around 20%.
On the road
The Polestar 2 Single motor is quiet, comfortable and fast. Polestar says it’s 0-60 mph in seven seconds, and while that doesn’t sound like much, it’s enough to get you into highway traffic, especially since the low torque is so readily available.
In the prototype I drove, I was able to adjust some driving characteristics, including steering feel and braking with a pedal, and I was able to turn some of the driver assistance systems on and off, such as lane departure warning. Unfortunately, as mentioned above, my test vehicle did not. I have some of the advanced driver aids that Polestar offers in the pilot package so I was not able to test them.
One of the joys of electric vehicles is the availability of braking mode (mode B) or driving with a single pedal. You’re basically adjusting the level of feedback you get from the caster wheels when you lift the throttle.
On the Polestar 2, you can roll to a stop or switch to the “Creep” mode setting via the infotainment display and the vehicle will move slowly without the need for the accelerator pedal. I drive most EVs with the most aggressive braking settings, as this is the most efficient and most enjoyable mode to use in Los Angeles traffic. While most people may find the highest setting on the Polestar 2 a bit surprising, after a few minutes of getting used to it, it becomes intuitive to use. However, I disabled the “Creep” function as it felt unnatural when combined with the regenerative braking mode.
I also spent 90% of my time behind the wheel using the most aggressive steering setting, called “Firm”. Basically, the system changes the steering ratio based on the configuration you have chosen. Firm offers the most direct feel response, while the smoothest settings make the Polestar feel a bit more coiled and slow to respond.
Right to repair, recondition, recycle
Polestar does not hesitate in its commitment to the most ecological manufacturing and materials. To that end, the company is proactively considering the entire life cycle of its vehicle batteries. According to Parker, the company uses blockchain to track cobalt extraction for its batteries and is considering using the system to track other elements used in the construction of its vehicles.
In addition to this, Polestar has also thought relatively exhaustively about the battery and the owner’s life cycle.
Packs stacked on the single Polestar 2 engine can be individually replaced when parts fail. Parker said that if a component fails, the company collects that material to form a closed-loop system. “We are exploring the remanufacturing and reuse of returning components,” he said. Polestar also offers complete repair instructions and access to a parts catalog that owners can also purchase directly from the company itself.
Polestar 2 Single engine prices start at $ 45,900 and vehicles will be available beginning January 2022, excluding destination fee and taxes. With the $ 7,500 federal tax incentive, as well as certain state incentives, that price can drop to around $ 35,000 (again not including taxes and the destination fee).