Polestar engineers its vehicles in extreme conditions in various places around the world – from the searing heat of Arizona in the United States to the bitter cold of northern Sweden. As a Swedish premium EV manufacturer, it is this especially cold environment where Polestar’s engineering expertise comes to the fore and sets the brand apart.
Executed within the Arctic Circle at over 66-degrees north, Polestar’s intense winter testing programme runs for 15 weeks from December to March every year and sees teams of engineers pushing prototypes – and themselves – to the limit. Not only harsh on mechanical components, the immense cold has also pushed Polestar engineers in testing the car in very challenging conditions – even in temperatures as low as -35 degrees Celsius.
Joakim Rydholm, Polestar’s chief chassis engineer, has led the dynamic development of Polestar vehicles for over a decade and advocates tuning in this environment.
“Tuning a chassis on snow and ice allows us to develop our cars in what feels like slow motion and with better accuracy,” says Joakim Rydholm. “With such low levels of grip, we can feel and analyse the dynamics at a much slower pace than on tarmac, which means we can really fine-tune the way our cars behave, down to the smallest details. This is my absolute favourite place to develop cars.”
To exhibit this expertise, and being a rally driver in his spare time with numerous trophies to his name, Joakim Rydholm created the unique Polestar 2 ‘Arctic Circle’ as a one-off special version that brings winter rally inspiration to a Polestar for the first time.
The base car, a Polestar 2 Long range Dual motor with Performance Pack, features several specific tweaks. Raised ride height (+30 mm), increased power and torque output (350 kW and 680 Nm) and custom-made 19-inch studded winter tyres (245/35 R19), each featuring 4 mm metal studs (490 per tyre), give the Polestar 2 Arctic Circle the mechanical credentials to be quick and agile on snow and ice.
In combination with 30%-softer springs, the three-way performance Öhlins dampers, specially designed and tuned for this car together with Öhlins, are set to nine clicks front and rear and feature auxiliary adjustment chambers, and the standard 4-piston Brembo front brakes remain. Front and rear strut braces have been fitted to increase torsional rigidity and steering responsiveness. A new prototype launch control system has also been integrated via steering wheel-mounted paddles. A carbon fibre snow shovel and a recovery strap are mounted in the rear of the car as well.
Visually, rally inspiration has included the fitment of 19-inch OZ Racing rally wheels, four Stedi Quad Pro LED front lights and unique exterior livery in matte grey and white – met by custom-upholstered Recaro front bucket seats in charcoal with Swedish gold branding. The front bumper features a carbon fibre skid plate for additional under-body protection.
“I wanted to have more fun than usual with this car – really being able to push it in terms of performance and handling in a winter environment like a frozen lake. The balance and predictability we have achieved with the raised ride height and specialised tyres are particularly noticeable when you enter a bend completely sideways, with a bigger-than-usual smile on your face, and in total control,” concludes Joakim Rydholm.
The Polestar 2 Arctic Circle is a one-time-only showpiece and will not be put into production.