Polestar Is Secretly Crushing Mercedes, BMW and Audi in Terms of EV Design, and Here’s Why

Polestar 2 13 photos
Photo: Polestar
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There is a systematic problem with the car industry as a whole regarding the way they design fully electric vehicles. It didn’t start immediately after Tesla introduced the Model S back in June of 2012, but it was, nevertheless, the Model S that forced everybody to eventually freak out and overreact.
Let me back up. Here’s my issue with electric vehicles right now. Most of them look ridiculous. There, I’ve said it. If you want to use the term ‘quirky’ that’s fine, but it’s more like overly quirky, if you ask me.

Now, what I think happened is that various decision-makers saw how successful Tesla was getting over the years and realized how different the Model S and Model X (this was before the Model 3 and Y) were from your run of the mill Toyotas, Hondas, Caddys, you name it – in terms of design. Teslas looked fresh, they looked electric (pun intended), and many probably believed that looking “unlike an internal combustion engine-powered car” was part of Tesla’s success.

It’s probably true, to some extent. However, Tesla cars don’t look different because they are electric, they look different because they are newborns. They were designed from scratch, without any legacy models serving as inspiration. This is something that titans such as Mercedes and BMW are clearly not understanding. Their new EVs look like they belong in the dictionary next to the term ‘quirky’ and it’s totally uncalled for.

Let’s start with Mercedes. You’ve got the EQA, EQB and EQC trio which are sort of conventional-looking, but then there’s the EQE and the EQS, both of which look weird. BMW meanwhile has the i3, the X3-based iX3, the 4 Series Gran Coupe-based i4, and the iX. The latter is their most prized possession, and it’s probably among the ugliest cars currently in production – objectively speaking.

Photo: BMW
Among German brands, Audi are the only ones that haven’t gone over the top, bothering themselves with drawing up something that clearly looks different just so people understand it’s an EV. I like almost all e-tron models, except for the Q4 and Q4 Sportback e-tron, both of which look bloated and... unusual.

What about all the others, you ask? Tesla models are based on a decade-old design (visually), VW’s ID models also look “overly electric” (just made that up), the Cadillac Lyriq, while elegant, is also kind of quirky, and then you’ve got the likes of the Kia EV6 (weird), Hyundai IONIQ 5 (weird but kind of cool), the upcoming Faraday Future FF91 (just threw up in my mouth), Lucid Air (weird looks, weird proportions), Nissan Ariya (quirky), plus the Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra duo, which to be honest are both fine.

Come to think of it, the only mass-production EVs with designs I genuinely like and consider both stylish and futuristic are the Porsche Taycan, Audi e-tron GT, the IONIQ 5 to some extent, and my absolute favorite right now, the Polestar 2.

Let me talk to you about the Polestar 2 for a second. It was brought to life by Volvo design boss Maximilian Missoni and by Thomas Ingenlath, who stepped down as senior VP of design at Volvo in order to serve as Polestar CEO.

Polestar 2
Photo: Polestar
The ‘2’ clearly benefits from the way Volvo views its current and future models. They’re all about displaying that ice cold vibe that is often seen in non-apocalyptic sci-fi movies, depicting a more modern than avant-garde society, with a touch of sophistication and dynamism.

The Polestar 2 embodies all these elements in a way that no other electric vehicle is doing right now. It doesn’t look like it’s trying too hard to grab your attention, and it certainly doesn’t scream “look at me, I’m electric!” straight to your face. It’s just a car that doesn’t sip any gasoline and yet still manages to stand out even when compared to traditional Volvo models like the S90 or the S60, for example.

It’s the best type of “different” there is. Created by minds unburdened by a feeling of hopelessness in the face of obliteration (at the hands of Tesla). Daimler, BMW, the VW Group and all the others probably think we can’t tell how scared they are, but they are terrified. They’re suddenly worth a fraction of what these new EV startups are worth and it’s forcing them to overthink and overdesign their cars. Polestar, however, didn’t take the bait and did a masterful job in following up the Polestar 1 with the exquisitely designed Polestar 2.
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About the author: Sergiu Tudose
Sergiu Tudose profile photo

Sergiu got to experience both American and European car "scenes" at an early age (his father drove a Ford Fiesta XR2 supermini in the 80s). After spending over 15 years at local and international auto publications, he's starting to appreciate comfort behind the wheel more than raw power and acceleration.
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