Last Call: Is this the direction EVs are heading?

I’m all for EVs when they go beyond what’s expected in terms of environmental consciousness. For example, the Fisker Karma back when it was new was so intriguing to me. Solar panels on the roof, naturally fallen tree wood grain, and no real leather make it sound like the car would be cheap and yet it looked refined. This Polestar Precept is giving me the same sort of vibe. It shows people that “going green” and getting an EV doesn’t mean you have to get a Prius or Volt, you can have class and style.

Tesla to an extent has also been a big influencer in this idea. The idea of getting a solid, affordable electric vehicle is relatively normal since the birth of the Model 3. That being said, I hope that the Polestar here does well and inspires other companies to incorporate the renewable materials that are being showcased here. Thoughts on where else we will see this in the future?

Last Call indicates the end of Hooniverse’s broadcast day. It’s meant to be an open forum for anyone and anything. Thread jacking is not only accepted, it’s encouraged.

My name is Colby Buchanan and I love all things car-related all the way from rusted 240sx's to McLaren Senna's and of course I have a soft spot for American Muscle. You can spot me in my bone stock '06 350z named MackenZ.

22 Comments

  1. I like it, design-wise, much better than the Tesla offerings. I don’t like cameras replacing mirrors, though, and feel like they conflict with the “minimalist” approach Polestar is advertising. When something as simple (and faultless) as a mirror can do the job, why risk a firmware glitch that could knock out your rearward visibility? Besides, I almost never use the backup cameras on our cars.

    1. for the efficiency gains of not having a mirror sticking out into the airflow, I could tolerate it. amortized across the life of the car that’s a lot of watt hours, and software and hardware tend to be pretty robust when they’re safety critical.

      1. I’m sure most people would consider it a plus. I’m just one of those people who avoids complex solutions to simple problems. I mean, the original mirrors on my ’66 Mercury still work fine after nearly 55 years. My guess is those on the Polestar won’t fare so well in 2074.

      2. I’m sure most people would consider it a plus. I’m just one of those people who avoids complex solutions to simple problems. I mean, the original mirrors on my ’66 Mercury still work fine after nearly 55 years. My guess is those on the Polestar won’t fare so well in 2074.

        1. i would argue that the camera is a very simple solution to the complex and much more significant problem of using less energy, a problem that will impose a far higher cost on me than will a broken lane change camera. we enthusiasts place too much value on cars that’ll last 50 years. realistically, few make it past 25 due to accidents and the cost of maintenance. why hamper 100% of your cars’ efficiency so the 5% that make it past the quarter-century mark are easier to maintain? from the perspective of anyone besides the Hooniverse audience, the camera is the obvious choice.

          in 2074 you won’t be able to hoverboard down to Ace and buy a rivet gun or bicycle cable to fix your factory Polestar mirrors. but i don’t think it’s that important. you will be able to buy an aftermarket mirror camera from the Jegs brain-link site, which you’ll hack onto your Polestar just like we do with backup cameras today.

          besides, the “complex” cars built today on average last much longer than the simple cars of 50 years ago. i had an “a-ha” moment a few months ago when a friend pointed out, as i told him my doubts about the durability of touchscreens in cars, that ECUs have been bouncing, cooking, and vibrating in engine bays for 30-40 years in many cars. they’re pretty much all still running. designing these things with an eye for robustness pays off, and these newer technologies will get there. i still have my issues with touchscreens, but in terms of durability, there’s a history to this sort of development.

          my exception to this philosophy is anything with an actuator, because those tend to break well before the end of a car’s useful lifespan, and i don’t believe that tendency has improved with development. the electrically retractable door handles are dumb. but that stuff falls into the luxury-car-gimmicks category, and i don’t think building a 21st-century 240D is going to change the culture of conspicuous consumption.

          1. i should add: i feel like i’ve had this conversation on Hooniverse a lot. it’s me examining my own preferences critically. my first impulse is the same – the ideal car is a deuce and a half with a bed full of spare parts – but i’ve come to examine these things from a more utilitarian perspective. most people’s driving lives are much better with modern cars than with older cars.

            i mention the 240D because i had one, manual everything, 300k miles. i often ask myself if selling it was the right decision, because it really is the most simple, durable thing i could ask for. but then i remember that it was slow, noisy, inconvenient, and unsafe, and just a little sprinkle of modern technology has given me cars that are very nearly as reliable but way nicer to use on a daily basis. most cars from the ’90s and newer are so close to infinitely durable that the delta between them and the 240D just doesn’t matter. i can have a car that is 10% less long-lived (including realistic probabilities of accidents and catastrophic mechanical failure), but 40% nicer to drive. since i’ve stepped away from philosophical reasons to own the 240D and accepted the practical arguments, i don’t quite miss it as much. i’m not saying i won’t someday buy another, but i no longer think anyone should make another.

          2. Hey, I get it. For some people, new tech is perfect. My first post on this subject clearly indicated that I was sharing an old-school preference, and my second admitted that most people would disagree with me. I’m good with that, and I’m certainly not trying to claim superiority with my perspective.

            I have an affection for mechanical things– especially those that I can disassemble/reassemble/modify/etc. I like their simplicity, durability, and repairability. New cars require a laptop and damn near a computer engineering degree just to tune. Parts aren’t so much repaired as they are outright replaced. I like knowing I can fix the cars I drive, and I can’t say that about my new ones.

            Moreover: older, simpler devices (including cars) give me more of an appreciation for their use. When I drive an old car, I’m much more involved in the process of driving. I engage more. It’s the same reason I still prefer a true manual transmission. Hell, if I just wanted to simply go faster, I’d get an automatic. The actual act of driving a new car is almost secondary to everything else– the features of CarPlay, the temperature adjustment of the seats, the navigation settings, hands-free phone conversations… whatever. Most often, I just want to drive, preferably with the (crank) windows down, and the most advanced feature I want interrupting that is maybe the radio.

          3. i feel ya. my preference towards the same has been moderated over the years, but i also appreciate those philosophical reasons for wanting to use a mechanical device. and i agree that with modern cars it sometimes feels like we’re just along for the ride. i rented a V8 Challenger last year, and the 400hp experience felt a bit neutered due to how little trouble the car would let me get in. i’d have wrapped it around a tree without ESC, but it felt like the wheel and pedals were for making requests instead of actually driving.

          4. A very, very good and sensible train of thoughts here, and the timeframe is interchangeable for generations that were and generations that come. But it’s hard to beat nostalgia, and our capitalist urge to save a penny for every dollar spent. When these two unite, it takes a bit of effort to consider others perspectives rationally. I notice that a lot, and see it reflected in my colleagues’ empty glazes once I rant at every other lunch.

    2. Similarly: retracting door handles. Do the aerodynamic gains really make up for the weight of the electric motors and (after they figured out they don’t work so well in freezing rain) door handle heaters?

      Aerodynamically optimized mechanical door handles seem like they would be cheaper, lighter, and more reliable.

      https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/c_fit,f_auto,g_center,h_542,pg_1,q_60,w_965/1230693965463293797.jpg

      https://jalopnik.com/a-detail-to-appreciate-the-handle-less-door-handle-1700998547

      Less gimmicky though, and we know Mr. Musk will take gimmicks over practicality anytime.

      1. While intelligent design is appreciated, you can actually charge buyers for gimmicks. I don’t think it’s the engineers that are as interested in pushing this stuff as it is the marketers. People like to show off their toys, and they’re willing to pay for it.
        I’m sorry, I know luxury tech is expected (and desired) on Teslas and Polestars, but it’s often not better than more conventional solutions, and usually less reliable.

  2. I still think there is a chance that we will go back to the look of the EV1 and that GM will release it as a Buick for China.

  3. The lack of anything resembling a rear view is a design fluke, agreed, but otherwise, a well thought through concept. I am not sure how many people are truly reached by the conservationist argument yet though? It’s a slice of the market, for sure, but I would not expect it to be a mainstream concern for car buyers. There might be a difference between the US and the EU here, too.

    Personally, we are still a century behind everyone else, wondering if we will allow ourselves to spend real money on a car. I am a bottom feeder through and through, and currently pondering to spend almost five times as much as ever before on a car makes me think that I need to acquire perfection. Which, of course, is stoopit. What preoccupies me is economy, reliability/quality, practical and pleasant ergonomics and design. A positive or, at least, reduced ecological footprint is certainly a plus, and it could sway a decision in a “everything else the same”-situation – but not much more. And that’s despite growing up with a strong sense of environmental consciousness and practicing that. My wife is a bit better than me in that regard.

    Our current runners up, notice the initial price difference of 90 NOK/10 USD between the 2020 MG and 2017 Opel:

    https://i.ibb.co/2dY7kPX/Car-Choice-MGZSEV.png

    https://i.ibb.co/T2J7f19/Car-Choice-Opel-Ampera-E.png

    1. I think the “environmentally friendly interior” works at high-end cars, not on volume cars (yet?). The BMW i3 had a similarly bamboo/cotton (I think?) interior, which was interesting. But as with the Fisker Karma: you’re using wood from naturally felled trees? That’s cute when you’re making five cars a year. But if you’re making 500,000 cars a year, you’re gonna need a lot more storms…

      On the other hand, going from non-biodegradable plastics to something better (corn-based plastics? laboratory-grown wood? compressed recycled paper?) and from vinyl or polyethylene fiber to cotton/wool upholstery (bring back the denim interior!) is probably a good thing.

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