From Polestar to GM, the future of electric vehicles is being designed now

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ByDave Kunz via KABC logo
Saturday, March 12, 2022
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The future of automobiles is electric.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- If the future of automobiles is electric, newer brand Polestar is off to a good start.

Electric vehicles exclusively. Right now, the only model you can buy is the somewhat bland-looking Polestar 2. But look out, as a sleek concept called Precept will arrive in about two years as the production Polestar 5.

And now, something to really move the needle from the offshoot of Volvo, another concept called Polestar O - as in oxygen. Plenty of that inside once you open the roof. Yes, an electric roadster.

"Of course electric propulsion is right for that. Why would you like to enjoy the fresh breeze, but then a meter behind you there is an exhaust poisoning that breeze," said Thomas Ingelath, CEO of Polestar Cars.

Since concept cars almost always need a gimmick, this one has a drone that launches from the rear deck. But other than that, the concept looks ready for the showroom.

"It is a concept which is not dreamy technology. That car we could produce. The technology exists," added Ingelath.

Obviously, cars are going to look and drive very differently in the future. And throughout the auto industry, engineers and designers are hard at work creating that future.

Over at General Motors' clandestine Advanced Design Studio in North Hollywood, future Cadillacs are being dreamed up. With an electric drive system mainly underneath the body, stylists can think outside the box.

"It's given us some design freedom," said Frank Saucedo, director of GM Advanced Design California.

But several concepts under the umbrella name "Halo" aren't just electric. They're previewing self-driving, or autonomous vehicles. Like the InnerSpace where two people can relax and enjoy some pampering, plus sights (via a huge wrap-around display screen), sounds, and even fragrances.

"The EV (electric vehicle) is one side of it. But really the AV (autonomous vehicle) is going to give you a lot more freedom. And so you'll look at things differently, because you're not focused on the task at hand. This is a very effortless way to travel. And that's what we're saying luxury looks like in the future," said Saucedo, a GM design veteran.

Another Halo Cadillac concept is something for the whole gang or the whole family, called SocialSpace. It's so much like a futuristic home den, it even has a virtual fireplace at the very front.

Concepts like the SocialSpace and InnerSpace are pretty far out there, both figuratively and timeframe-wise. Perhaps 2030 or beyond before they might be ready to hit the road.

But others, like the Polestar O seem almost ready to go, and promise a much nearer future of electric power. Something that has many industry insiders excited.

"It's clear to everybody that the future of mobility is based on electrification," said Polestar's Thomas Ingelath.