When Polestar launched its The first all-electric vehicle last year, it came in just one flavor: a twin-engine, all-wheel-drive configuration that cost around $ 50,000 before the incentives. Next year, the automaker will add variety.
Polestar is launching 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 as well as a few modifications that make it a bit more affordable, appealing and greener for those looking to switch to electricity. During a recent drive, we put it to the test.
Single or double motor
The unique Polestar 2 2022 engine delivers a range Polestar estimated at 270 miles, a little less oomph and fewer options, but plenty of tech to make your ride easier.
Rather than having two motors powering all four wheels – as is the case 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 2022 Polestar 2 single engine comes with a 78 kWh battery that sits underground between the front and rear wheels. Polestar reports that its usable capacity is 75 kWh. The same battery pack is found in the Polestar 2 dual motor. Polestar can and has pushed live updates on all of its vehicles to help speed up charging and adjust battery settings to make them more efficient.
The 2022 Polestar 2 single-engine sedans also benefit from the optional addition of a mechanical heat pump (available in the Plus pack for an additional $ 4,000) that helps maintain that load in more adverse climates. Polestar says that under certain weather conditions, the heat pump will recover heat from the outside air to extend the range of the vehicle by up to 10%. Using Polestar’s estimate, that means the 2022 Polestar 2 Single engine could gain an additional 27 miles of range from the heat pump.
For this model year, the fully loaded Launch Edition has been phased out. The Polestar 2 Single engine replaces it and comes with a streamlined, less loaded setup that includes a metal roof instead of the Launch Edition’s glass, eco-friendly padding, and a choice of a handful of “packs. “options, as Polestar calls them.
You can opt for the Plus Pack, which includes the heat pump, panoramic glass roof, Harman Kardon premium audio, and a wireless phone charger (among others). This pack was on the Polestar 2 prototype that I drove. You can also opt for the Pilot Pack (an additional $ 3,200) which includes things like adaptive cruise control and LED exterior lighting. Unfortunately, the vehicle I was driving did not have the upgraded ADAS system so I was unable to test what Polestar says offers Level 2 driver aids on 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 deployed the Android Automotive operating system in some of its vehicles like the Volvo XC40 Recharge, the entire Polestar brand uses the platform.
Android Automotive OS is an open source operating system that runs on Linux and is used as the underlying operating system in vehicle infotainment systems, including Polestar. As a result, Google services such as Google Assistant, Google Maps and the Google Play Store are integrated into the car. Android OS 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 central screen. .
In the Polestar 2 2022, users can choose to access almost everything in the vehicle via voice control using the handy “Hey Google” prompt. This sentence gives you access to air conditioning and routes. Considering the audience has been so deeply embedded in Google’s infrastructure for so long, it’s all very intuitive.
Tell the system that your feet are warm and Google OS will lower the temperature in the floor. Want to find the best taco restaurant 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 whatever I needed by just asking Google to do it for me.
Natural language recognition has been something Google has been working diligently on for many years, and it just keeps getting better. A few times while using the system, I botched a request or awkwardly requested something like adding a stop at a local beach to take pictures. The system didn’t miss a thing and untangled my tongue to do exactly what I asked it to do.
In the Polestar 2 Single motor that I drove, the charging locations were somewhat integrated with the Google Maps platform on Android OS. There are a few caveats, however.
Ask Google to find charging stations along your route and you can filter by brand. While doing it in Google Maps, the system won’t 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 charger you’ve selected. It takes a few taps on the screen before you hit the road, which means you’ll still need to pull over and stop before heading to the nearest charger. On my 200 mile round trip between the Pacific Design Center in Hollywood and Santa Barbara, I didn’t have to stop to recharge.
If I had needed to recharge, Polestar says that on DC fast chargers I would have expected to reach 80% charge in just 30 minutes. That’s down from the 40 minutes it used to take to reach an 80% charge, according to Glenn Parker, a technical operations specialist at Polestar. Parker also said the continuous live updates will improve the efficiency and reach of the entire portfolio as the company rolls out updates for all owners.
If finding an available charger is still awkward, integrating 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 a few miles longer than the system originally thought, which was a nice surprise considering I mis-scheduled my return to LA and that I sat in Westside traffic for 45 minutes while the range hovered around 20%.
On the road
The Polestar 2 Single engine is quiet, comfortable and fast. Polestar says it does 0-60mph in seven seconds, and while that doesn’t sound like a lot, it’s more than enough to get you into freeway traffic, especially because low-end torque is so easily. available.
On the prototype I drove, I was able to adjust a few driving characteristics, including steering feel and one-pedal braking, and was able to turn some of the driver assistance systems on and off like the lane departure warning. Unfortunately, as mentioned before, my test vehicle did not have any of the advanced driving aids that Polestar offered in the Pilot pack, so I was unable to test them.
One of the joys of electric vehicles is the availability of braking mode (Mode B), or one-pedal driving. Essentially, you are adjusting the level of regeneration you get from the rolling wheels when you lift the accelerator.
In the Polestar 2 you can drive to a stop or switch to the ‘Ramp’ mode setting via the infotainment screen and the vehicle will move slowly without the need for the accelerator pedal. I drive most EVs with the most aggressive braking setting because it is the most efficient and fun mode to use in traffic in Los Angeles. While most people may find the Polestar 2’s highest setting a bit surprising, after a few minutes of getting used to it, it becomes intuitive to use. However, I disabled the “Creep” function because it didn’t feel natural when paired with regenerative braking mode.
I also spent 90% of my time behind the wheel using the most aggressive steering setting, called “Firm”. Essentially, the system changes the rudder ratio depending on the setting you choose. Firm offers the most direct response, while the softer settings make the Polestar a bit more poly-poly and slower to respond.
Right to repair, recondition, recycle
Polestar makes no secret of its commitment to greener manufacturing and materials. To this end, the company proactively considers the entire battery life cycle of its vehicles. According to Parker, the company uses blockchain to track cobalt mining for its batteries and plans to use the system to track other items used in the construction of their vehicles.
On top of that, Polestar has also given relatively extensive thought to the battery and owner life cycle.
Packs stacked in the Polestar 2 Single engine can be replaced individually in the event of part failure. Parker said if a component fails, the company recovers that material to form a closed-loop system. “We are exploring the refurbishment and reuse of returning components,” he said. Polestar also offers full repair instructions and access to a parts catalog that owners can also purchase directly from the company itself.
Prices for the Polestar 2 single engine start at $ 45,900 and vehicles will be available from January 2022, not including destination charges and taxes. With the federal tax incentive of $ 7,500 – as well as some state incentives – that price can drop to about $ 35,000 (again not including taxes and destination fees).