Polestar’s ‘Arctic Circle’ performance EV could shred a snowy track

Polestar, the electric car maker jointly owned by Volvo and Geely, likes one-offs. There was the more powerful version of its electric fastback Polestar 2 sedan, made for the Goodwood Festival of Speed. And now there’s the Arctic Circle, a high-riding, studded winter tire-sporty, icy explosion of winter racing prowess from the company’s Swedish engineers (who know how to design a vehicle for snow driving).

The one-off was designed by Joakim Rydholm, Polestar’s chief chassis engineer – and trophy-winning rally driver – who said he was taking on the challenge of improving the Polestar 2’s handling accuracy. “With such low grip levels, we can feel and analyze the dynamics at a much slower pace than on tarmac, which means we can really fine-tune the behavior of our cars, down to the smallest detail,” Rydholm said in a statement. . “These are definitely my favorite conditions to develop cars in.”

Rydholm and his team modified the Long Range Dual engine version of the Polestar 2 to make it more agile on snow and ice. Changes include: increased ride height (+30 mm + 1.18 in), more power and torque (469 hp / 350 kW and 680 Nm) and tailor-made 19-inch winter tires with studs (245/35 R19 ), each with 0.16 in / 4 mm (490 per tire) metal studs.

The three-way performance dampers, supplied by Swedish suspension manufacturer Öhlins, were also modified to feature springs that are 30 percent softer than those found in a road-going Polestar 2. According to the company, the dampers are set to nine clicks front and rear — slightly softer than the standard Polestar 2 with Performance Pack setting — and features additional adjustment chambers for better traction control.

“Polestar’s intensive winter testing program, conducted within the Arctic Circle at latitudes over 66 degrees N, runs for 15 weeks from December to March annually, and sees teams of engineers pushing prototypes – and themselves – to their limits.”

Relax, Polestar.

Testing EVs on snowy roads is now almost a cliché. Lucid Motors does it in Minnesota. Tesla has a test track in Alaska. Ostensibly, the idea is to show how well the electric vehicle handles in icy, Hoth-esque conditions, while also showing tantalizing images of tires throwing up new glittering clouds.

Unspoken is the damaging effect cold weather can have on an EV battery. Studies show that when the mercury drops below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, the average driving range decreases by 41 percent. Much of this is a result of EV owners turning up the heat, which puts a lot of strain on an EV’s battery, reducing overall range and increasing the need to charge more frequently to reduce the chance of a dead battery stuck. minimalize.

Polestar is warning its customers to change the single-pedal drive setting to “off” or “low” when driving in slippery or icy conditions. And avoid driving your car above the Arctic Circle if you can.

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