Polestar Precept: From concept to car, episode 10

We take the car from the sub-zero climate of the Arctic Circle all the way to the Austrian Alps, to ensure the brake system is tested to the extreme.

Bird's-eye view of a Polestar driving in a snowy landscape.

The Ivalo Winter testing ground in Finland is where the system is tested for sound. Sensors detect the brake temperature and mounted microphones pick up the slightest noise as the car is put through rigorous testing in minus 30 degrees (with the windows down). 

Senior engineer Gareth Thomas understands just how crucial testing at a location such as Ivalo is. “The beauty of testing in the very north of Finland, up in the Arctic Circle, is that it’s one of those rare parts of the world where, for a very large part of the year, it’s not only incredibly cold but it’s incredibly dry. That consistency is really important when we are testing the vehicle. It's crucial we know it’s us making the changes to the car and not the climate.”

Austria offers something completely different. 

Brid's-eye view of a car driving on a snowy road surrounded by tall pine trees.
The powers that be were against us, the heavens opened
Gareth Thomas, Senior engineer

The Grossglockner high alpine road is breathtaking in its beauty. Parts of the road are 2,500m above sea level, and its location attracts visitors for the driving experience alone. For the brake engineers, it is the ultimate location to put the car through a brake fluid torture test. This sounds terrifying, but by driving downhill and dragging the brakes, giving them no chance to cool down, the team ensures safety for the customer.

Gareth’s experience has shown that testing on a public road, away from your home site, usually presents unexpected challenges. Episode 10 illustrates this perfectly. Just when things are about to begin, the mountain environment threatens to put an end to the testing.

“The powers that be were against us, the heavens opened. We were very worried about the instrumentation. It’s generally robust but it’s very expensive. We were able to get through it and work round as a team and resolve the issues.”

The testing in Finland and Austria provides many obstacles but for a team striving for excellence, putting the car through those extreme tests is all part of the journey.

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