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Ambitious Polestar reveals tech roadmap

Polestar outlines its path forward at tech and innovation showcase in Los Angeles

10 Nov 2023

SINO-SWEDISH car-maker Polestar showcased an ambitious technology, innovation and product roadmap at its inaugural “Polestar Day” event in Los Angeles to an audience of key executives, customers, investors and media.


Polestar’s strategic partners including Bcomp, Göteborg Energi, Luminar, Mobileye and StoreDot were also in attendance, where the full range of future models was exhibited for the first time including: Polestar 3, Polestar 4, Polestar 5, Polestar Precept, the Polestar Electric Roadster Concept and Polestar Synergy.


Drives of the latest MY24 Polestar 2, as well as rides in Polestar 3 and Polestar 4 development prototypes with Polestar engineers and experts were available to guests.


The event focused on a number of Polestar-pertinent subjects ranging from vehicle charging to autonomous driving tech, manufacturing, batteries and V2G power sharing. 


Polestar also announced that it will expand its production footprint beyond China and the United States to South Korea following parent company Geely’s acquisition of a 34 per cent stake in Renault Korea Motors (RKM) that operates the former Samsung Motors factory in Busan.


Bringing extreme fast charging (XFC) technology to production is the focus of a collaboration between Polestar and battery technology developer StoreDot with the 100-in-5 program to bring 100 miles (160km) of range charged in just five minutes.


The program aims to integrate XFC technology into existing battery pack formats and does not rely on a battery pack design revolution.


StoreDot’s XFC “pouch” cell charging system was demonstrated at Polestar Day, shown alongside Polestar’s prototype battery module that integrates the technology. It will be further demonstrated at full scale in a Polestar 5 prototype in 2024.


Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath said: “StoreDot is making huge strides forward in the development of their extreme fast charging technology and we are a proud investor and partner in its evolution. 


“StoreDot’s pioneering extreme fast charging batteries, combined with our upcoming top-of-the-line electric powertrain, can revolutionise the ownership experience for EV owners with the ability to recharge in minutes.


StoreDot CEO Doron Myersdorf commented: “Polestar has been one of our key investors and collaborators as we develop our XFC technology. Next year we’ll show how a full-scale battery module developed by Polestar with this revolutionary technology can be charged. Charging anxiety will soon be a thing of the past.”


In another collaboration – announced in January this year – Polestar is working with automotive technology company Luminar and autonomous driving specialist Mobileye to enhance safety and the future autonomous driving capabilities of its Polestar 4 model through the integration of Luminar’s next-generation lidar (light detection and ranging) technology with Mobileye's Chauffeur platform.


The Polestar 4 is scheduled to be the first production car to feature Mobileye Chauffeur utilising a Luminar lidar. The system builds on the full-surround camera-based SuperVision platform that will be available with the Polestar 4 from launch.


An aim of the collaboration is to offer eyes-off, point-to-point Level 4 autonomy on highways, as well as eyes-on automated driving for other environments.


The Mobileye Chauffeur system fitted to the Polestar 4  features three Mobileye EyeQ6 processors, a front-facing lidar from Luminar and Mobileye’s front-facing imaging radar to provide the extra layer of sensing and artificial intelligence needed to enable eyes-off, hands-off driving.


On this collaboration, Thomas Ingenlath said: “Polestar 4 comes with the highly advanced Mobileye SuperVision ADAS from the start, and we look forward to expanding that with Mobileye Chauffeur in the future. Being able to add Luminar’s industry-leading lidar to the platform’s development increases the strong link between our companies and brings even more world-class technology to Polestar 4.”


Mobileye CEO Amnon Shashua added: “Combining our base SuperVision with an independent second redundant perception system – consisting of Luminar lidar, radars and an imaging radar – enables true redundancy and a level of accuracy that lays the foundation for fully autonomous driving.”


Luminar founder and CEO Austin Russell said the company had been collaborating with Mobileye since 2019 and that “the true fruits of our labour with them are being realised for the first time by transitioning out of R&D and into a production vehicle with Polestar”. 


“Together, we look forward to raising the benchmark in the industry for what a safe and autonomous future can look like.”


On Polestar’s stated aim to diversify its manufacturing footprint, the company used the LA event to confirm an expansion of its manufacturing operations to South Korea with production of the Polestar 4 to start at Busan in the second half of 2025 in addition to its current 4 manufacturing facility in Hangzhou Bay, China.


The company has already announced that from next year it will share Volvo’s Ridgeville production facility in South Carolina, United States, where the Polestar 3 will be assembled.


Polestar 4 vehicles made in Busan will be destined for the North American and domestic South Korean markets. 


The South Korean plant with approximately 2000 employees has direct access to exporting ports and has 23 years of experience in vehicle manufacturing. Through its links with Polestar, aims to reduce its CO2 emissions by 50 per cent by 2030, and to become carbon neutral by 2040.


It will achieve these goals through a combination of energy efficiency improvements and the adoption of renewable energy sources.


The expansion will be facilitated by Polestar’s asset-light approach to development and manufacturing that enables it to benefit from the competence, flexibility and scalability of its partners and major shareholders, without needing to invest in its own facilities.


Mr Ingenlath commented: “We’re very happy to take the next step in diversifying our manufacturing footprint together with Geely Holding and Renault Korea Motors, a company that shares our focus on quality and sustainability.


“With Polestar 3 on-track to start production in Chengdu, China in early 2024 and in South Carolina, USA, in the summer of 2024, we will soon have manufacturing operations in five factories, across three countries, supporting our global growth ambitions.”


Renault Korea Motors CEO Stéphane Deblaise said: “Polestar 4 will be the first full battery electric vehicle produced in the Busan plant, symbolising Renault Korea Motors renewal and our ambitious vision for the future. We are very proud of this new partnership and grateful to the Polestar brand for their trust.


“From a wider perspective, we see further opportunities for Renault Korea Motors in the near future, thanks to our strong shareholders, Renault Group and Geely Group.”


With Swedish electricity grid stakeholders, Polestar is in a pilot operation developing a large-scale vehicle-to-grid (V2G) project in Gothenburg, Sweden, funded by Swedish Innovation Agency Vinnova and encompassing a large fleet of Polestar 3 cars.


The organisations involved include the Swedish National Grid authority Svenska kraftnät, local grid owner Göteborg Energi Nät, regional energy distributor Vattenfall Eldistribution, home charging provider Easee, and research partner Chalmers University of Technology.


With these stakeholders Polestar aims to find potential business models for V2G and trial tangible use cases that can be scalable and applicable across regions.


The car-maker is also forming a collaboration with the California Energy Commission and the independent, non-profit energy R&D institute EPRI to formulate a roadmap for the implementation of vehicle-to-grid services in California.


It involves bidirectional charging technology that sees cars such as the Polestar 3 to not only charge but also discharge energy from their batteries back to the individual home or the electricity grid.


Polestar is developing a Virtual Power Plant (VPP)  to help manage V2G integration that links all participating Polestar 3 cars connected to the grid using the cloud based system to calculate the collective capacity of connected batteries and initiates charging or discharging based on grid demand and battery longevity optimisation. 


It will allow car owners to contribute to the energy transition and to monetise their BEV while it is parked, without any intervention. Functionally, an owner simply plugs in their vehicle and the VPP and smart charging tech will do the rest – optimising battery use for their transport needs and supporting the grid.


Polestar says with V2G solutions, BEVs have the potential to become an important flexible energy resource as their batteries have useful potential for large scale applications and can support electricity grids as well as powering mobility vehicles.


“Vehicle-to-grid has the potential to not only benefit individual customers, but whole communities,” said Mr Ingenlath.


“The average car is parked 90 per cent of the time. With the bi-directional charging capabilities of Polestar 3 and the Polestar VPP, we can explore business models and community solutions that can unlock the true potential of V2G and enable owners to support the energy transition when they don’t need their car for driving.


“As EV adoption continues to grow, EV batteries will become a useful existing storage solution for both national, regional, and local grids.”


Vattenfall Eldistribution innovation and market outlook manager Peter Söderström added: "Vehicle to grid will have an impact on the electrical grid and how our customers can actively participate and contribute to increased stability in the grid.


“The car will become a natural element and a potential resource for this. V2G will also influence how electricity grid companies plan their grids in the future.”


California Energy Commission commissioner Patty Monahan described V2G as turning BEVs “ into virtual power plants, making homes and the grid more resilient while putting money into the pockets of drivers”.


“The CEC is excited to have Polestar partner with innovators in California to advance their V2G plans.”


The Gothenburg pilot project’s test phase is planned to commence in that city during the first half of 2024 and run for two years with the pilot to include a large fleet of Polestar 3 cars, aiming to become one of Europe’s largest V2G pilots.


The California “pre-study” begins in December 2023 and runs until October 2024.


In a wrap of the Polestar Day event, Mr Ingenlath said: “Polestar Day provided substantial insight into our products and the innovations we are working on together with global leaders in various fields to bring the best electric performance cars to market.


“We are progressing from having one car on the roads – Polestar 2 – to having three, with the ongoing launches of our two SUVs, Polestar 3 and Polestar 4. The coming months will be some of the most exciting our young company has ever seen.”

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