It takes more than wind to wind test a car. To be exact, it takes a three-ton fan, a steel tunnel measuring 11 metres in diameter and 163 metres in length, a heat exchanger the size of a wall, 24 hours of computer simulations, innumerable six-hour shifts, and as much steam and liquid nitrogen smoke as needed to wind test a car.
These wind tests are done to see how the car performs according to different criteria: contamination, aerodynamics, thermodynamics, climate comfort, energy efficiency, and internal environment. These criteria measure everything to do with wind, whether it’s the potential emissions caused by the material used to make the car’s interior, to the combination of rolling and air resistance which the car must overcome to move forward. The Polestar 1 has to undergo these tests, just like any other car.
There are numerous design touches that influence the aerodynamics of the Polestar 1, the most distinctive of which is the active rear spoiler. Deploying automatically once the car reaches 100 km/h, and retracting when the car goes below 70 km/h, the rear spoiler is an innovative design solution meant to optimise the Polestar 1’s performance by creating downforce on the rear axle, and is something that needs to be tested during these wind tunnel procedures. Another design feature that needs to be accounted for are the lower outer grilles. Placed in deep recesses in the lower front of the car, these grilles can be opened and closed in order to efficiently cool the batteries and other electrical components.
These design features are tested under the watchful eye of Senior Analysis Engineer and Aerodynamics Ph.D. Lennert Sterken, and a team of wind tunnel personnel. “Of course, from an aerodynamics standpoint, we like the combination of a low roofline with an active rear spoiler” says Sterken of the Polestar 1.
From there, the Polestar 1 will make its way to the baking deserts of Arizona for further testing, as the wind tunnel does not provide all the conditions required for wind testing. It takes more than wind to wind test a car, and the Polestar 1 wind tunnel test was completed successfully. Stay tuned for Chapter Three, in which we detail the process that goes into dampers testing.
Beyond the Road: Hannah Catmur
Welcome to Polestar Beyond the Road. In this new content series, we will be meeting with Polestar owners from around the world and explore their story. First up, is tech afficionado Hannah Catmur. From pitching apps to Tim Cook to travelling through the South American jungles, her story is one worth telling.
ELI5: How does car suspension work?
The world of car suspension systems can be a scary place. But you don't need to be a car connoisseur to fully appreciate these engineering masterpieces – and their impact on a car's handling and control. In this beginner's guide, we'll unpack one of the most critical components for our unique Polestar driving experience, while also letting you know how to get the most out of your car.
Step-by-Step Guide: A photoshoot at Monza
They say a picture paints a thousand words. And this one is no different. The story of how these photos came to life is a tale of sweat, shouts, and improvisations. But before we get to duct-taped tripods and missing insurance details, we must first set the scene.