Polestar Reminds Us That Our Headlight Regulations Suck

Technology / 8 Comments

But the Swedish automaker is ready for when the laws change.

Whenever a European luxury automaker reveals a new model, we are reminded of our terrible headlight regulations. Europen-spec vehicles are allowed to have adaptive headlights, which can run high beams by default, and carve out specific light segments using matrix LED technology instead of blinding oncoming motorists. Though it is far from the first car to have these headlights, the 2021 Polestar 2 deserves some attention here.

These Pixel LED headlights come standard on the Polestar 2 Launch Edition and allow drivers to leave their high beams on in the path of up to five leading or oncoming vehicles without switching lighting modes. Polestar's included video shows how well this feature helps to illuminate an unlit back road.

2021 Polestar Polestar 2 Front Angle View Polestar

Each headlight is comprised of 84 individual LED pixels that form a matrix. Within each matrix, every LED can be controlled individually, allowing the car to carve out shapes when it detects leading or oncoming traffic. Since each LED can light up on its own, the Polestar 2 also performs welcome and farewell lighting sequences combined with the signature rear lighting.

"When you drive Polestar 2, especially in the dark, you really understand how much this technology increases safety," comments Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath. "LED lighting also allows for creativity, and the light signatures we have designed are unmistakable. They are distinctive and people will know you are driving a Polestar."


Polestar is quick to point out that its Pixel LED headlights are only available in "markets where legislation allows." Since the US is not one of these countries, the headlights must default to their low beam position and can not actively carve out lights - they must go fully into low beam mode when oncoming light is detected. If the US finally wises up and changes the laws, Polestar says it can push the feature as a no-cost over-the-air (OTA) software update.

2021 Polestar Polestar 2 Infotainment System Polestar

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2021 Polestar Polestar 2 Front Angle View

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