Geneva Motor Show 2020

Polestar Precept concept previews brand's digitally advanced electric road ahead

The Polestar Precept signals a design turn for the company.

Photo courtesy of Polestar

Polestar, the automaker owned by Geely, the parent company of Volvo, has evolved to be an electric performance car brand. With that evolution comes a look at what is ahead – in this case the Polestar Precept concept car.

Featuring an interior swathed in sustainable materials and a fresh take on the company's digital user interface, Precept is more than just a design direction. Polestar says that is, "a manifesto of things to come; a declaration."

Polestar Precept At the rear is a light bar that descends on each side into vertical aero-wings.Photo courtesy of Polestar

The car signifies a major milestone for Polestar. It emphasizes the brand's values: pure, progressive, and performance.

"Precept is a declaration, a vision of what Polestar stands for and what makes the brand relevant," comments Thomas Ingenlath, CEO of Polestar. "The car is a response to the clear challenges our society and industry face. This is not a dream of a distant future, Polestar Precept previews future vehicles and shows how we will apply innovation to minimize our environmental impact."

The car exhibits what Polestar calls "minimalistic athleticism". This is, in theory at least, the same design mantra Porsche follows with its 911. The exterior focuses on aerodynamic design rather than ornamentation. The Precept has a 3.1-meter wheelbase, which fits the car's large battery pack. Its four-door design takes into account a proper amount of head- and legroom in the rear for comfort.

At the front, instead of a traditional grille there's something the company calls "Polestar SmartZone". The area houses technology for safety sensors and driver assistance functions. The transparent panel at the front covers two radar sensors and a high-definition camera. A LIDAR pod is mounted on top of the glass roof. The traditional Thor's Hammer LED headlights from Volvo's bin evolve in this design with two separate elements.

Polestar Precept The concept pays special attention to rear seat head- and legroom.Photo courtesy of Polestar

Above the SmartZone is an integrated front wing while a wide light-blade spans the entire width of the vehicle's backside, extending into vertical aero-wings.

Side mirrors have been replaced by camera mirrors that are extended into the air on an aerodynamic arm. Cameras like this have been appearing on vehicles for a few years and are already available in Europe. A similar style camera captures all activity at the rear of the car, eliminating the need for a rearview mirror.

Some of the materials that make up the Precept's interior include flax-based composites for interior panels and seatbacks. Seat surfaces are 3D-knitted from recycled PET bottles, bolsters and headrests are made from recycled cork vinyl, while carpets are made from reclaimed fishing nets. These elements, combined with digital artistry, define a new premium luxury that surpasses the conventions of leather, wood and chrome.

The digital interfaces of the car build on Volvo and Polestar's already-established relationship with Google. Running on Android, the portrait-oriented 15-inch center touch screen complements a 12.5-inch driver display. The instrument panel has an array of smart sensors that monitor a driver's gaze and adjust content on the screens accordingly.

A solid piece of Swedish crystal between the rear seat headrests.

The public will get their first look at the Polestar Precept during the Geneva International Motor Show next month.

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Electric vehicle concepts

Nissan shows off new concepts and plans for future EVs

Nissan showed off a group of funky concept vehicles at the announcement.

Nissan

Nissan is approaching the release of Ariya, its brand-new EV, but there are plans for much more in the automaker’s near future. Today, the Japanese company announced Nissan Ambition 2030, its plan to develop electrified vehicles and become a more sustainable company. Beyond new vehicles, the roadmap includes investments in battery recycling and charging infrastructure, new battery tech, and more widespread safety technologies.

Nissan Ambition 2030 The automaker plans for 50 percent electrification by 2030.Nissan

Nissan’s plans include 23 new electrified models by 2030. The target covers 15 new EVs and a target of 50 percent electrification. The automaker says it plans to launch a proprietary solid-state battery by 2028, and notes that it will develop a pilot production facility in Yokohama, Japan by 2024. Solid state technologies are not yet commercially viable but will offer faster charging times and better energy densities than lithium ion battery packs.

Nissan Surf-Out Concept Surf-Out is a concept truck with super funky styling.Nissan

While the focus was on the news of its electrification plans, Nissan’s concept vehicles stole the show. The Surf-Out concept truck features a long, low cargo surface and unique all-terrain tires. Typical of concept cars, the Surf-Out’s styling and design are over-the-top. The cabin is surrounded on three sides by glass and open to the bed in the rear. Instead of a grille, there’s a glass panel with an illuminated Nissan logo. It's unlikely Surf-Out or the other concepts shown will make it to production unchanged, but they show that the automaker is looking to explore bold designs with its electrified vehicles.

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New electric pickup truck

GMC Hummer EV deliveries to start soon

Hummer EV deliveries will start in December.

GMC

This year has turned out to be as difficult for automakers as 2020 was, if not much more so. The pandemic is still a major factor, and to make matters worse there's a global microchip shortage that heavily impacts automakers' ability to build tech-heavy vehicles. GMC has a big launch left to handle in 2021, and according to a recent call with journalists, it's proceeding as planned. On a recent call with reporters, GMC exec Duncan Aldred noted that Hummer EV pickup deliveries are on track to begin in December. He also elaborated on the truck's EPA range numbers.

2023 GMC Hummer EV The trucks will deliver up to 329 miles on a charge. GMC

The Hummer's EPA range lands at 329, not far from the 350 miles General Motors targeted for the vehicle. Those are the estimates for the limited Hummer Edition 1, which carries a six-figure price tag and gobs of bells and whistles. Aldred said that other models coming later on will offer longer range estimates when they hit the roads sometime in 2023.

A staggering 80 percent of reservations GMC has gathered so far are for the Edition 1 model. Almost half of the 125,000 people who have inquired about the Hummer EV have placed the refundable $100 deposit and the SUV's first year of production is completely sold out.

2023 GMC Hummer EV The Hummer EV's first year of production is sold out. GMC

When it hits the streets later this year, the Hummer EV will be just in time to face off against a growing crop of EV trucks and SUVs. Rivian recently began delivering the R1T electric pickup truck and will continue with the R1S SUV next year. The Ford F-150 Lightning is coming in 2022, and General Motors itself has a Cadillac EV rollout to handle in 2022. Chevy and GMC will show off electric versions of the Silverado and Sierra pickup trucks on January 5 and GMC will push the Hummer SUV EV in 2023.

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