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How to calculate a feeling

Joakim Rydholm on finding the Polestar DNA

In theory, you could build a perfect car virtually just by feeding a machine numbers and calculations. But we're not making cars for virtual customers. We're making cars for real people.

The press has jokingly referred to him as 'the father of Polestar 1.' And while he might not endorse this title himself, it does show the level of his involvement in the development of the car. Joakim Rydholm is a well-known name in the industry. Some of you may have seen him on the racetracks, helmet on, test-driving the Polestar 1 or Polestar 2, fine-tuning the characteristics and driving experience of the cars. As Chief Development Engineer, he plays an important role in developing the Polestar DNA. However, Joakim is keen to emphasize that it's all about teamwork.
 
"A car is a very complex thing and certainly not a one-man show. It's a massive collective effort and one of my main assignments is to hold the team together, ensuring that there is good communication between all parties so that we can make well-informed decisions. Of course, there are a lot of different opinions from a lot of people – that's where I need to step in and decide which direction we're going to take and make the final call. But at the end of the day, we always arrive at something that everyone can stand behind and agree on as a team. That's very important," Joakim states.

Joakim estimates that he spends 60% of his time test-driving the cars. A car is very much a physical product, and the process of building one might seem quite straightforward. Joakim argues, however, that you can measure and calculate a lot of things in the hopes of building the "perfect" car, but it all comes down to the driving experience and finding the right feeling. 

"In theory, you could build a perfect car virtually by just feeding a machine numbers and calculations. But we're not making cars for virtual customers. We're making cars for real people. And people have ears that are far more sensitive than any virtual measurements can express. People have hands that, if they put them on the steering wheel, pick up information about the road through tiny vibrations. We do all those things subconsciously and it affects how we experience the car and how we drive it. You can't simulate that. At Polestar, we believe that in order to make a great car you have to spend a lot of time in it. That's why I've spent three years inside the Polestar 1."

With the first cars leaving the assembly line, Joakim says he's pleased to know that everyone will soon get the chance to see all of the teams' hard work up close.

"The Polestar experience can't be captured in words. It has to be felt," Joakim summarizes. 

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Everything we produce today has an environmental footprint. EVs are no exception. But that doesn't have to be the case. Over time, we can change how cars are made. And you can influence that progress. Because what you choose to buy is what the industry becomes. To enable us all to choose the greenest path, we all need to understand the scope of that footprint.

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