A journey can be defined in different ways. Starting point. Duration. Destination. None of them do justice to the entire process though. What we need is a highlight reel. And for that, we’ll look at the milestones. Both the memorable points of a journey, and a way of organising time into easily digestible chunks, milestones will do nicely here.
And when it comes to the Polestar journey, there’s no shortage of milestones. Especially not where 2019 is concerned. Click on the headlines to read the stories.
Possibly the biggest of Polestar’s 2019 was also one of the first: the online reveal of the Polestar 2. It was streamed globally from a venue constructed in our Gothenburg HQ’s parking lot, and received over 15 million views (with an additional 2.5 million on YouTube). The Polestar 2 reveal was a keynote with one important distinguishing factor: we streamed the presentation out as opposed to flying people in.
The next milestone was a fitting follow-up to the above: the public unveiling of the Polestar 2 at the Geneva International Motor Show. The people had seen the car. Now it was time to let them get up close and personal with it. We were also able to debut our new interpretation of the automotive event stand, a bonus. The reception to both was even better than we’d anticipated.
We then decided to make an appearance at an event of wildly different character from Geneva: Milan Design Week. We’ll be completely transparent here and admit that we wanted to go to Milan as a brand of design lovers. And as such a brand, we couldn’t resist putting together an installation befitting both Polestar and the festival. We collaborated with Stockholm sound mavericks Teenage Engineering and created an interactive slot car track which expressed the optimism of a new age of electric mobility. And the soundtrack was unbelievable.
Speaking of wildly differing events, the next milestone was a visit to the undisputed hub of worldwide information exchange: Google’s I/O developer conference. The Polestar 2 is the first car in the world to have a native, Android-powered and Google-equipped infotainment system. As such, it’s a new frontier for developers, so we brought the Polestar 2 to Mountain View, California to let developers experience it for themselves. We even built a developer portal, complete with emulator.
Thus, having indulged our loves of both design and tech, we returned to our other obsession: cars. The Goodwood Festival of Speed is an annual celebration of all things wheeled, and their hillclimb event is the stuff of legend. We even participated in 2018 with the very first Polestar 1 prototype. This time, we brought the Polestar 2 for show and the Polestar 1 for go, displaying both cars in another reimagined event stand, and having a much more refined and finished Polestar 1 prototype participate in the hillclimb. We centred our hillclimb runs around a bevy of interesting passengers, from known nature photographers to Polestar 1 customers to Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath himself.
August saw a melding of our twin loves of tech and cars in a new and novel way: the Polestar 1 was announced as the hero car of the latest Need for SpeedTM game, NFS HeatTM. Not only that, it was the first ever hybrid to be a part of the hugely successful street racing game. We headed to gamescom 2019 in Cologne to document gamers’ reactions, speak to some superfans, and pick up a controller or two ourselves.
Later in the autumn, we made an appearance in Frankfurt as our roadshow rolled through Germany. We found a likely spot, constructed our distinct, Polestar-HQ-in-miniature roadshow cube, and awoke the next morning to find ourselves in the midst of the Frankfurt International Motor Show. Turns out we weren’t the only ones who thought that was a good spot to set up shop.
The next milestone was truly colossal. We officially inaugurated our Chengdu production facility. Designed by Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta, Chengdu is a distinct, eye-catching, and environmentally friendly production centre where the Polestar 1 is painstakingly assembled before being delivered to customers.
Speaking of customers, the next milestone was when we could finally hear their opinions on the Polestar 1. They braved the weather to head to Polestar HQ, meet Polestar staff along with other customers, and take to the streets to experience what the Polestar 1 can offer. And to a person, they were blown away.
While the above was taking place, another milestone happened concurrently: the media test drives of the Polestar 2 prototypes. These journalists were every bit as enamoured of our fully electric fastback as they were of our electric performance hybrid, and the reviews were unanimously positive.
This past year saw Polestar moving further from the theoretical to the real, a transition which was accelerated with the official openings of our first two retail spaces, in Beijing and Oslo.
And as if to echo the theme of Polestar transitioning from the virtual to the real, artist and photographer Daniel Covarrubias built the Polestar 1 featured on the cover of NFS HeatTM. Designed by artist Khyzyl Saleem, this Polestar 1 was equipped with a widebody kit, double spoilers, and a liberal assortment of air intakes. We then handed it over to renowned muralist and renaissance man Tristan Eaton, who painted it as only he could, before exhibiting it at Art Basel Miami.
Fittingly, we saved one of the best for last. Not everyone who wanted to drive our highly anticipated Polestar 1 could make it to Gothenburg. So, we brought it to them. From the incomparable coastline of Northern California, to the mountains of Chengdu, to the storied streets of Florence, journalists the world over drove the Polestar 1 and not a single one came away disappointed. This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the milestones of Polestar’s journey through 2019. And amazing as they all were, we hope to top each and every one of them in 2020.
When it comes to symbols, a star is quite compelling. Protection, guidance, and lofty ambitions, a star can denote all of these. Being dubbed a Star in the car industry, however, can only mean one of the following: you’re either exceeding expectations in a particularly challenging environment of the auto sector, or you’re considered a rising industry leader. At Polestar, we’ve got them both.