As Tesla have demonstrated numerous times now, electric power can give a car otherworldly acceleration. But I personally and it seems as if Polestar are with me on that, think that there are other characteristics of a car that do matter more than sheer straight line driving capabilities. Chassis dynamics, driver experience, the way a car feels on the road and the way it makes you feel - everything adds up to the overall performance and these qualities are therefore also part of the recent assessments the Polestar 1 has to go through.
That's why right now the Hällered testing ground in southern Sweden would be the place to be for me. Even in the dreadful Swedish weather at this time of the year, blasting down tracks, surface roads and highways in the Polestar must be awesome. The test drivers, certainly people to be jealous of, are currently out there, seeking to calibrate and optimise the various systems of the car as they labour to create the best experience possible for future drivers.
Polestar’s chief test driver, Joakim Rydholm, comments: “Whenever you drive Polestar 1, you should immediately feel like you are in control and that the car is ready to respond to your input, no matter what you want to do. This is a GT that needs to be easy to drive and comfortable in everyday use with its smooth and quiet hybrid drivetrain – but also ready to deliver its thrilling 600 hp and 1,000 Nm performance whenever the driver wants it.”
So from the start Polestar’s ambition was to produce a high-performance hybrid that is comfortable, responsive, sporty and dynamic. And for a car to deliver all of this at the same time, suspension is paramount, which means they had to partner with the best of the best.
That's why legendary Öhlins was the natural choice for Polestar, and they came up with the revolutionary DFV (dual flow valve) dampers. In these dampers, the fluid (which is used to dissipate absorbed heat energy from the kinetic energy of suspension) behaves in the same way during extension and compression. This basically means that the wheels find their position on the ground much more quickly, leading to vastly improved grip and traction and a seamless connection to the road, regardless of surface.
Öhlins technician are working together with the Polestar team at the test drives to do any adjustments needed, ranging from a repositioning of the main or bleed valves, to a replacement of a washer half a millimetre thinner than the previous one.
And the tests don’t just take place in Sweden. These dampers have been tested on surface roads in the UK, as well as German highways, to give the most thorough and multifaceted testing experience possible. If dampers had passports, theirs would be full of stamps!
And what car would you get???