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The Polestar 1 Has Carbon Fiber Bonding Inspired By A Bug

Technology / 3 Comments

Hey, whatever works, right?

As it nears closer to production, we continue to learn more about the upcoming 2019 Polestar 1. We saw the car in concept form last March at Geneva and we'll see it in action for the first time in just a few weeks' time at the Goodwood Festival of Speed hill climb. Today, new information has arrived from Polestar regarding the stunning coupe's advanced carbon-fiber build techniques. Remember, the coupe's upper body, including the doors, front wings, hood and trunk are all made of carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP).

That's not easy to pull off because carbon fiber behaves differently than traditional build materials, such as steel and aluminum. Polestar engineers therefore used draping simulations that simulated how carbon fiber would react in the real world. As a result of these computer simulations, the directional weaves in the carbon fiber are specifically placed to counteract forces and increase strength during driving conditions. The lightweight carbon-fiber body also helps shave off over 500 pounds of extra heft, which is extremely beneficial because the required batteries for the plug-in hybrid system are not exactly light. The CFRP body is then bonded to the steel underbody by a Dragonfly-shaped (yes, like the insect) patch of carbon fiber.

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Polestar says the shape of the Dragonfly is ideal because the wingspan and abdomen shape actually improves torsional stiffness at one of the critical points in the body structure, between the middle floor and rear construction, by more than 45 percent. Translation: the shape of a bug inspired a CFRP bonding method. The combination of a steel underbody and carbon fiber upper lowers the car's center of gravity as well, thus allowing for better handling and performance. Working with carbon fiber as a main construction material presents all sorts of challenges, including how the exterior paint is applied.

For the Polestar 1, the carbon fiber arrives at the factory from the supplier with a coated primer already applied, which is necessary in order for the car's color to actually come out right. It's important to note that the Polestar 1 is just the first of several new vehicles from the newly standalone brand previously part of Volvo. Consider the Polestar 1 as simply a warm up; it will be the only Polestar with an internal combustion engine. All future models, beginning with the Polestar 2, will be battery electric only.