Polestar 3 design and character

Polestar took a significant step towards becoming a mainstream luxury brand by unveiling the 3, an electric SUV positioned at the top of its range. The young company's first entry into the hotly-contested SUV segment blazes a path that future additions to the lineup will follow.

In many ways, the 3 represents Polestar's mission statement. Its first and second models — the aptly-named 1 and 2 — were Volvo offshoots; the 3 was designed for the brand from the get-go, though it's built on Volvo's new SPA2 platform. It's bigger than it might look in photos: it stretches 193 inches long, 64 inches tall and 83.5 inches wide including the door mirrors, and it weighs between 5,696 and 5,886 pounds depending on how it's configured. In comparison, the current-generation Volvo XC90 stretches 195 inches long, 70 inches tall and 84.3 inches wide, and it tips the scale between 4,387 and 5,145 pounds depending on the options and the powertrain selected.

Visually, the 3 inaugurates the design language that will permeate future Polestar models. Its front end wears a new version of the T-shaped LED daytime running lights seen on the 1 and the 2 and a bumper with a horizontal insert where you'd expect to find a grille. The roof line leans more towards style than utility, though it steers clear of four-door-coupe territory, and the rear end is dominated by a thin light bar.

Video Transcript


MAXIMILIAN MISSONI: But I have something else in mind that-- I want to talk about this and it might not be what you want to talk about.

- But carry on because we're getting the best.

MAXIMILIAN MISSONI: One of the things that keeps my mind occupied recently is the question about character and how do you create a relationship between people and our products. And over decades legislation and then generations of car designers have created a toolkit that makes vehicles look like or feel like creatures. And that's quite fascinating in a way because it's one of the-- or it's the most complex industrial product.

It's nearly a little bit unfair to the craftsmanship part of the job because that is the basis and it takes decades for people in our trade to get to that level of understanding how sculpture needs to be, the volumes, proportions, all of these things we like to talk about. They are the foundation.

And I think then it gets interesting because the skill, as I said, is the base level. And when it comes to the character, then suddenly values like perceived intelligence-- that's a very interesting one because beauty is very subjective. The easy one is being aggressive or displaying aggression in design because we know how a face looks when you are angry. That is easy to inject into a product, but intelligence? Try that.

But there is a way, I think, and it is noticeable. I think that intelligence is not-- because it is not an emotion, it's not something that can be done in one sculptural statement. You have to combine it with added value of the product, so, for example, communicating technology, having layers of discovering things. This leads to a perception of intelligence. It's not just a superficial shape that can do that, it's the combination.

It's such an abstract concept. And it's so tricky to talk about it, projecting that on products, and then discussing it there is even harder, I think. But it's something I play with and I think about a lot, if there is something else than the superficial emotions to convey in design.