New Polestar O2 Concept Comes With a Deployable Drone

Electric carmaker Polestar revealed its latest concept on Tuesday, complete with a deployable drone. The hard-top convertible O2 concept (O2 as in oxygen) will be the "hero car" for the brand, according to CEO Thomas Ingenlath.

Though the features appear to be very much in the experimental phase, the new aluminum-bonded platform, low-slung stance, and the deployable drone are all things that could be seen in production cars in the not-too-distant future.

Polestar is currently selling the 2, which is a single- or dual-motor high-riding sedan. It announced the Polestar 5, four-door GT performance car that will go on sale a few years down the line, last month. The Polestar 3 performance SUV will be revealed later this year.

The design of the O2 is related to the earlier Polestar Precept, but it takes a much more aggressive tone with the sharp front end and wide stance. The overhangs are small, and the rear trunk area is scalloped for less wind turbulence. Even the wheels are built for aerodynamics and efficiency. The convertible top, however, was a surprise.

"In the design and bringing this O2 concept to public we're putting on display what would be the most appropriate use of a silent drivetrain, a convertible," Ingenlath told Newsweek.

"It's two elements. It's the sound and the silent propulsion. But it's the other thing as well. What do we enjoy about convertibles? It's the fresh air, the clean air, the nature. And what a strange situation with you as the driver enjoying that, but one meter behind you his poisonous gas coming out of your tailpipe."

Polestar O2 Concept
Polestar revealed the hard-top convertible O2 concept to show what its R&D department can do when set loose. Polestar

The move toward sustainability extends inside the cabin as well. Polestar is using a new "thermoplastic mono-material" that can be used for all of the soft components including foam, adhesive, 3D knit fibers and non-woven lamination.

"An element that we follow up with again and again is exploring new materials. And the whole idea about sustainable materials that when you recycle them, they stay on a very high level of quality and purity," Ingenlath said. "We put pressure on our R&D team to make that for production like we did with the naturally grown fibers in the Precept."

The new aluminum platform will offer faster responses to inputs than with a traditional platform. It will feature high roll damping, which means no leaning in corners, and a direct steering feel. Polestar's engineers have lightened the platform by 400 to 500 pounds, a significant sum.

Polestar O2 Concept
The Polestar O2 Concept is underpinned by the company's new aluminum-bonded platform. Polestar

"O2 here really highlights the great attributes that we developed with this aluminum-bonded architecture that we used to make the Polestar Precept. It has the advantage of being quite well scalable and it can still retain the stiffness of the structure," Ingenlath said.

"You don't really need to strengthen it for a roadster. It can also support the big batteries. It also makes this design possible. And Polestar 5 won't be the only one to use it."

The coup de grace is the concept's deployable drone, which launches from the back seat. A special airfoil was created that raises behind the rear seats to make a calm area for the camera drone to take off.

The drone follows the car at speeds of up to 56 miles per hour. It's not designed for high speed action, but it will go fast enough to follow and film while driving through a forest or up the Pacific Coast Highway.

Polestar O2 Concept
The Polestar O2 Concept uses a sustainable "mono-material" for many of its interior surfaces. Polestar

"It might sound like a concept, but that technology is possible. Launching a drone from a car, okay that's a challenge, but really following the target, having the high speed up to 100 kmh," Ingenlath said.

"And what you can produce is really amazing. You can share it with friends and family. You can capture that really nice moment in your life when you were driving. It's something we'd definitely like to put into production."

The O2 concept, like most concepts, won't see the light of day besides maybe an auto show or concours event, but it does put on display what the company is capable of when the reins are taken off.

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"I've been preaching for over two years, once you experience the joy of an electric drivetrain and full amount of what it can offer," Ingenlath said, "I'm very convinced that there's no way back to the combustion engine when you go back to that memory. But the path to CO2-free mobility still will take an incredible effort and a couple of years. But if we don't start tackling it, we'll never make it."