Polestar's engineering and marketing teams know what's at stake with the brand's debut model. "It's a halo product. If we don't do this right ...," Polestar 1 Commercial Project Leader Sofia Bjornesson said without finishing the thought because she knows the ramifications. "But I'm not worried at all. We will make it."
The Polestar 1's initial production run of 500 units will reach the Volvo subsidiary's first customers later this year, which is why the brand's chassis and development specialists have spent so much of this year fine-tuning the car at the Hallered Proving Grounds and on local roads near Gothenburg.
When asked what she was happiest about as the car nears completion she pointed to the team's relentless pursuit of performance. "They have never given up on tuning a great chassis. We are still working on that, tuning millimeters and micrometers. We want to have a car that defines what Polestar performance is all about."
To create that definition the team has had its share of tough decisions to make. "We initially planned to have electronically controlled dampers," chassis specialist Roger Wallgren said of having an active damping system that could be adjusted from inside the car by choosing a setting on a touchscreen. "But it didn't live up to our expectations. What we have is the more hardcore choice."
The Polestar 1 has a dual flow valve solution from Ohlins that makes it possible for the driver to adjust the dampers by plus or minus 20 percent by turning a gold-colored knob that is under the hood of the car. "It was not an easy decision because there was a lot of market pressure" to have a solution that could be adjusted inside the car, Wallgren said.
Another challenge came when picking the tires. Polestar 1 lead development engineer Joakim Rydholm worked with Pirelli on the specifications. Typically, it takes two rounds of work to get the compound, layers, tread, etc. to the point where the solution will work. Anything more than that gets very expensive. Rydholm said Polestar needed four rounds to get the tires exactly the way he wanted them.