Concept Cars

Polestar preaches sustainability as a distraction during social isolation, debuts Precept

Polestar's new concept car gives a glimpse at the future of the brand.

Photo county of Polestar

Polestar used to be known as a performance brand before Geely, the parent company of Volvo and Polestar, designated it as a high-end performance electric vehicle brand in 2017. Now, the company is laser focused on next-gen innovation that not only carries the Polestar badging but also that of Volvo in America where Polestar trimmed models are still sold.

In an effort to showcase that innovation, Polestar has debuted a series of concept models. Their 2020 plans were derailed a bit when the Geneva International Motor Show was cancelled in March. Now, in a virtual debut via video, we're getting our first peek at the Polestar Precept concept.

Polestar Precept concept car 2020 The car was to have debuted in March at the now-cancelled Geneva International Motor Show.Photo county of Polestar

The model showcases "sophisticated, high-tech minimalism that redefines beauty for the sustainable age," says Thomas Ingenlath, CEO of Polestar, at the beginning YouTube video as he leans up against the car, which sits in front of a wall of stacked flax.

Cue the auto show reveal music.

The cover comes off (though we've already seen the vehicle driving in the montage leading up to this point).

Starting with the front of the car, the Precept has a new take on Volvo's signature Thor's hammer headlights with sold body structure separating headlights and fog lamps.

Polestar Precept concept car 2020 Designers took a stab reinventing Volvo's Thor's hammer headlights for this concept.Photo county of Polestar

In place of a grille, traditionally designed for cooling internal combustion engines, is the "smart zone", a gathering place for technology. This is similar to what is found in the Nissan Ariya Concept. This zone, says Ingenlath, causes the car to "go from breathing to seeing."

"Strength and endurance" define the exterior aesthetics of the Precept, according to Ingenlath, who also says that the, "skin of the Polestar Precept radiates power without posing." In the age of COVID-19, it seems gimmicky jargon still has a place in society.

Many automakers are focusing on recycled materials and waste cut-downs in their concept vehicles. Bentley showed off an interior made of grape skins leftover from the wine making process last year. Ford has been talking about soy in seats and tomato skins in the trunk of the Mustang for the better part of a decade.

Polestar Precept concept car 2020 The interior of the concept car features sustainable materials.Photo county of Polestar

Leather, wood, and chrome are left behind in favor of high-tech solutions. The interior of the Precept features materials woven from flax, like that behind the model in the video. The interior door panels feature the material, which is 50-percent lighter than traditional inserts and contains 80-percent less plastic. Its seats feature a 3D knit material that is made of 100-percent recycled yarn that has its origins with PET bottles and that is cut from a single thread to exactly to fit the seats with no waste.

The car can also act like Big Brother, waring the driver and slowing the vehicle down if its technology detects that the driver isn't looking at the road enough. Similar technology (including frequent beeping alerts) is already available on the Subaru Outback and Forester.

Polestar Precept concept car 2020 The model features computer systems that run on Google's Android platform.Photo county of Polestar

Between the driver and passenger is a 15.5-inch touch screen interface has Google's Android system running in the background and features a clean aesthetic in fitting with the design of the car. It is on this screen that Ingenlath suggests watching streaming services as your car sits at the charging station refueling.

Cue to the auto show music (again).

Polestar Precept out.

Polestar Precept www.youtube.com

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Electric vehicle features

The VW ID.4 sounds futuristic

The ID.4 is VW's first electric crossover in the U.S.

VW

The Volkswagen ID.4 is finally here. The electric crossover offers compelling features, decent all-electric range, and a reasonable price. On top of all that, Volkswagen focused heavily on the electric experience with the ID.4, down to the sounds it makes in everyday operation.

Where many automakers seek to humanize electric vehicles with familiar gas engine sounds, Volkswagen hasn't bothered with any of that. Instead, the automaker's ID.4 electric crossover features several sounds that embrace the EV's place in the future of transportation.

On startup, drivers are greeted with a sound that Volkswagen says will alert them that the vehicle is ready to go. It's not at all unlike the flying saucer sounds heard in sci-fi movies decades ago, but it's a nice reminder of the ID.4's future-forward drivetrain.



In motion, VW gave the ID.4 what is known as an Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System, which helps alert people to the presence of a moving electric vehicle. Since the drivetrain doesn't make the same noises that a gas engine does, EVs can move almost silently at low speeds, so it's important to have some kind of warning sound.

Even the turn signal sounds received scrutiny in the ID.4's design, and while they're still fairly traditional, the sounds are subtle and pleasing overall. Beyond that, VW says it developed a library of sounds for typical vehicle control buttons and other functions that are exclusive to its electric vehicles. The goal, according to the automaker, is that the sound aligns with the vehicles' character, visual design, and features, and that people will be able to recognize a VW EV by its unique sound.

The ID.4 is just the first of several EVs that Volkswagen plans to release here in the United States. Larger family vehicles are on the horizon, and we may even see an electric revival of the legendary VW bus.

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Musical artist H.E.R. has worked with Honda designers to customize a Civic Type R.

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co. Inc.
H.E.R. graced the stage at the 2021 Honda Civic Tour but before that happens, the R&B singer-songwriter has put her stamp on a custom-designed Honda Civic Type R. This one-off is part of a longstanding tradition of Civic Tour headliners designing a custom Civic.

The unique-looking model is a reflection of H.E.R.'s personal values. Nuance, subtlety, and "sharing your heart" are held high. This all starts with the car's exterior where a deep black matte finish washes over the model while chameleon-tinted headlamps and windows, purple brake calipers and nebula painted trim are presented as intriguing highlights.

Designers worked to customize the cabin as well, adding nebula painted accents and special LED interior lighting that changes colors based on music and sound inside the vehicle by featuring custom colors, moods, brightness levels and rotating color patterns, adjustable by a smartphone.

H.E.R. Unveils Custom ‘Honda Civic Type R’ Presented by the 2021 Honda Civic Tour www.youtube.com

"One of the things that drew me toward the Honda Civic Tour was knowing that I'd be able to design my own vehicle, and out of all Civics, I picked the pinnacle Civic Type R," said H.E.R. "Infusing my personality into all aspects of my performances, and also expressing it through my favorite products, is something that I am passionate about. So being able to create and share my custom Honda Civic Type R with my fans is just so special to me."

H.E.R.'s custom Civic Type R joins Honda vehicles designed by past Civic Tour headliners, including Maroon 5, OneRepublic, Demi Lovato, blink-182, Black Eyed Peas, One Direction, Charlie Puth and more.

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