A high-performance car these days pack not just plenty of power, but also plenty of weight reduction. While usage of carbon fibre panels in vehicles is not a new idea, the percentage of this lightweight yet ultra-strong wavy-finished black stuff in the structural portion of the car is ever-increasing as the technology is now more accessible, both in terms of cost and production lead-time.
The Polestar 1, the first model from Volvo’s electric performance brand, has widespread use of carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP). The main structure of the new performance car revolves around the highly customizable Volvo’s Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA) but approximately 50 percent is new and bespoke, created by Polestar’s engineers.
Apart from ‘the usual suspects’ that are made from CFRP- bonnet, boot lid, side panels, doors and the entire roof structure, an important structural piece called the ‘dragonfly’ is also made from CFRP.
The dragonfly-shaped component plays an instrumental role in creating the Polestar 1’s reactive dynamics – it radically improves torsional stiffness at one of the critical points in the body structure, between the middle of the floor and rear construction.
“When you combine this strengthened framework with the super-strong body and roof structure, you get a stiff and communicative chassis which translates driver input into superb driving characteristics,” says Christian Samson, Head of Product Creation at Polestar.
Polestar says moving to high CFRP content in the overall structure results in an overall weight saving of 230 kilograms, compared to traditional steel-based materials.
The Polestar Production Centre, which is currently under construction and due to begin full-scale production in mid-2019, is being specifically tooled to deal with the intricate nature of carbon fibre construction.
The high CFRP content in the Polestar 1 is also reflected in its price. Polestar announced in late April that pricing for the Polestar 1 has been confirmed as 1.45 million RMB in China, 155,000 euros in Europe and $155,000 in the United States, giving customers a clear understanding of where the Polestar 1 sits in the marketplace. In the USA, that price range is within sights of a BMW i8.
To recap, the Polestar 1 is a is a two-door, 2+2 seater coupé with an ‘Electric Performance Hybrid’ drivetrain, delivering a combined system output of 600 hp and 1000 Nm of torque. The company will be making the Polestar 1 an exclusive product, as only a maximum of 500 cars will be built per year.
All Polestar 1 will be offered on a subscription basis, with customers benefitting from the convenience of a single, all-inclusive payment that can be topped up by additional on-demand services if required.