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- Volvo and Veoneer Split Up Autonomous Subbrand 50-50
Famed for its safety, Volvo is among the only automakers not simply satisfied with local governments crash tests. As a member of the Volvo Group, Polestar is equally committed to the safety of the people who drive its cars.
Today, the young carmaker is focusing on exactly how its making its upcoming Polestar 2 so safe. And the easiest way to do that is to take advantage of the tools that Volvo has created.
“Safety is of paramount importance for Polestar,” comments Thomas Ingenlath, Chief Executive Officer of Polestar. “We are directly linked to Volvo Cars and with that comes their famous reputation for outstanding safety technology. So, of course, Polestar cars are designed to be amongst the safest in the world and we are really proud of that.”
Despite Volvo’s reputation, though, the Polestar 2 is the first all-electric vehicle ever crash tested by the Volvo Group. Electric cars pose some new challenges.
The battery pack is a big heavy piece of potentially flammable technology and must, therefore, be considered in a crash. To protect against unexpected dangers, Polestar has encased the pack in an aluminum case. The idea is to keep the battery intact, but there are a couple of side benefits to this design.
The main benefit of adding any high-strength material is that adds rigidity to the chassis as a whole, which usually means better handling. But Polestar is also looking to sell the 2 as a premium product, so the rigid chassis has been tuned to reduce NVH. The battery back is treated like a damper to make the whole car quieter and more comfortable.
Polestar hasn’t just considered the battery’s mass, though. In the event a crash, the battery’s electric connection to the rest of the car will be cut off to reduce the risk live connections between it and the rest of the car that could electrocute passengers.
Automakers have also spent so long considering internal combustion engines as inevitable parts of the construction of a car that they have been designed into traditional crash structures. Polestar’s solution to lack of engine, then, is the “SPOC Block.”
The “Severe Partial Offset Crash” Block is, effectively, a big piece of aluminum in the sidewall on either side of the car that helps keep the passenger compartment free of wheels or other intrusions during an accident. The game is, after all, about coddling the passenger compartment like an egg while the rest of the car deforms to absorb the accident.
To protect people outside of the car, Polestar—like the rest of the industry—has also designed a special sound to alert pedestrians to the cars movement at slow speeds when it might otherwise be silent.
“We deliberately did not want Polestar 2 to sound like a robot or symphonic spaceship,” said Ingenlath. “We wanted very natural, subtle sounds that simply let pedestrians know the car is moving. At the same time, we wanted Polestar 2 to sound slightly unique and become identifiable as a Polestar, while remaining relatively simple.”
All of this technology and more will be available on the Polestar 2, which you can shop for now at polestar.com.