You say “Volvo,” and I say, “safety.” The company has been at the forefront of automotive safety, and top of crash-test scoreboards for decades. That is, until Tesla came around with their off-the-charts safety scores, as a result of their massive crumple zones, low center of gravity, and Autopilot. Well, now Volvo’s Polestar 2 is aiming to regain its place as the king of safety.
In a recent press release, Polestar touted several new safety innovations. They’ve started with a new “SPOC Block,” which is an aluminium case designed to keep the enclosed the lithium-ion battery pack separate from the front of the car in collisions. This enclosure, much like the one in Tesla’s vehicles, both aids in preventing possible fires or explosions in the event of a crash, but also adds rigidity to the vehicle as a whole. This stiffening enclosure is the secret sauce of EVs, lowering the center of gravity and improving performance, while also apparently “tuned to cancel certain vibrational frequencies, acting as a damper to reduce so-called Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH),” in Polestar’s case.
The Polestar 2 is also the first Volvo EV to feature an Acoustic Vehicle Alert System, which is a selection of “recognizable, non-intrusive, and natural” sounds. These noises will be played at low speeds from speakers on the exterior of the vehicle, presumably to warn of its presence. This isn’t unheard of in EVs, with the Nissan Leaf coming to mind, but Volvo seem to have paid particularly mindful attention to this detail.
We deliberately did not want Polestar 2 to sound like a robot or symphonic spaceship. We wanted very natural, subtle sounds that simply let pedestrians know the car is moving. At the same time, we wanted Polestar 2 to sound slightly unique and become identifiable as a Polestar, while remaining relatively simple.
Additionally, the Polestar 2 will feature an updated Advanced Driver Assistance System, which will handle acceleration, braking, and steering up to 81 mph (130 km/h), as well as emergency braking and blind spot detection. These sensor-powered pilot assist features will come standard at launch.
Lastly, and Polestar really stressed this in their release, this model will feature front inner-side airbags, to protect the driver and passenger in case of an accident. That may not sound as fun as SPOC Blocks or little symphony orchestras playing for every passersby, but it shows their devotion to safety, through and through.