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Journal 11

Entry date: 18.12.04

Chapter 3: Dampers

Performance can be defined multiple ways. A car that is predictable even at speeds in excess of 200 km/h is performing admirably, even if that kind of performance isn’t what traditionally blows one’s hair back. The Polestar 1 is designed and engineered to excel in every area, from acceleration to aerodynamics and everything in between.

Responsive, sporty driving dynamics are as vital an area as any other. Polestar’s ambition was to produce a high-performance car that is comfortable, responsive, sporty and dynamic. How does Polestar deliver these unparalleled dynamics?

For a car to be responsive and dynamic, suspension is paramount.

Like everything else Polestar, it’s done down to the smallest detail. It begins with insisting upon the best possible components and technology. For a car to be responsive and dynamic, suspension is paramount. And the VIPs of suspension are the dampers, which absorb vibrations created by the springs as they in turn absorb shocks from the road. Polestar has paired with renowned suspension manufacturer Öhlins to create dampers more responsive and modern than any other. What Öhlins has provided is nothing short of revolutionary: DFV (dual flow valve) dampers. In these dampers, the fluid (which is used to dissipate absorbed heat energy from the kinetic energy of suspension) behaves in the same way during extension and compression. What does this mean for the driver? In everyday language, it means that the wheels find their position on the ground much more quickly, leading to vastly improved grip and traction and a seamless connection to the road, regardless of surface.

Öhlins was the natural choice when it came to dampers. Their expertise and peerless suspension technology is already the stuff of legend, being used by premium performance vehicles of every stripe. Stefan Ytterborn, founder and CEO of electric off-road motorbike brand CAKE, says “apart from components, frame, drivetrain, kinematics and geometry, peak quality suspension is key. As with everything else we have turned to where the competence is incomparable and the choice to go with Öhlins for developing suspension was obvious.”

But having the latest technology is only one side of the coin. It also needs to be expertly calibrated in order to ensure optimal performance. This is where Polestar’s development engineers, technicians, and mechanics step in, testing the dampers and suspension not only on all the various road surfaces available at the Hällered testing ground, but also surface roads. As they drive, they make note of the adjustments that need to be done, and then it’s back to the mechanic bay at Hällered. Once there, the on-site Öhlins technician, together with the Polestar team, removes, adjusts, and reinstalls the dampers, meticulously documenting the entire procedure. These adjustments can range from a repositioning of the main or bleed valves, to a replacement of a washer half a millimetre thinner than the previous one.

And these tests don’t just take place in Sweden. These dampers have been tested on surface roads in the UK, as well as German highways, to give the most thorough and multifaceted testing experience possible. If dampers had passports, theirs would be full of stamps.

Performance can be defined multiple ways. Unparalleled driving dynamics are one way that Polestar defines it.

CAKE - Performance on Two Wheels

CAKE is a Swedish electric off-road motorcycle brand on a mission. Taken from their website, the mission is “to speed up the journey towards a zero-emission society, combining excitement with responsibility.” Polestar feels a kinship with CAKE, sharing both a belief in electric performance and a passion for design, in addition to the idea that the future will be both electrified and emission-free.

The motorcycle industry is undergoing the same electrification sea change as the automotive industry, and CAKE is ahead of the curve. Their bikes are beautiful and high-tech, without a doubt. But they have a number of other features which truly make them the tip of the spear when it comes to electric motorbikes.

Firstly, they’re quiet. No combustion engine, no gears. The bike flits through the woods as silently as the deer it surprises, and is the least-invasive way of exploring the outdoors on two wheels.

Secondly, they’re light. Far lighter than a combustion bike of comparable size. These are stallions that anyone can tame.

Thirdly, they’re clean. There are no noxious fumes from an electric drivetrain. No fluids such as grease or gasoline either, meaning cleaner surroundings and a cleaner bike.

CAKE urges people to explore with respect, and are building the bikes with which to do that.

Learn all about CAKE, their mission, and their bikes here.