Polestar considers its O2 roadster concept a “hero car,” but here’s the thing about hero cars — they’re not very heroic if they don’t exist. While the Volvo spinoff hasn’t fessed to a production plan for the O2 yet, it could very well still happen, per a few statements made by brand chief Thomas Ingenlath to Top Gear published on Friday.
“My ambition is to make it a production car,” Ingenlath told TopGear.com, “but it’s not that easy.”
Surely as the boss he can just push the button and make it so? “You have to respect the complexity,” he said. “We have to see where the O2 is going. When you’ve painted a painting, it’s always good to let it rest, and look at it after a couple of months and still see if it’s a good painting.”
I believe Ingenlath when he says “it’s not that easy.” Toyota, the biggest carmaker in the world, couldn’t rationalize building an inline six-powered two-seater without BMW’s legwork. Polestar has a multi-year strategy to flesh out an entire range of EVs, and the O2 would be the most expendable member of that roster from a commercial standpoint. That’s the funny thing about hero cars — they only have value because automakers say they do.
The rest of that interview snippet is a little more perplexing. “We have to see where the O2 is going,” the executive cryptically cautions, as if the electric roadster is sentient and can determine that for itself. (It does house a drone, for what it’s worth.)
And then we have the painting metaphor. I think I understand what Ingenlath means — Polestar needs to reassess the O2's market viability from a more pragmatic, logical position, without getting too swept up in the excitement of the project. But the way he puts it, it’s almost like he doesn’t have much faith in the design itself. Which would be odd because — and I don’t think it’s controversial to say this — it looks fantastic.
A car like the O2 should be within reach. Automakers have championed the modularity of battery-electric powertrains and how they’ll supposedly enable a range of body styles on common skateboard-like chassis. That’s why Volkswagen can put the shell of a bus on the same architecture it’s going to use for a fastback sedan. Polestar could realize the O2 in a similar fashion, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s already decided it will.
Maybe the time isn’t right to share that yet, seeing as how the Polestar 5's only just been revealed. But if Polestar’s going to make this happen, it shouldn’t risk waiting too long. The world’s still waiting for its first semi-attainable electric sports car, and the O2 would make for a lovely attempt.