The Precept Concept previews an all-electric competitor for the Porsche Taycan

The 2020 Polestar Precept is a concept car developed and built by Volvo’s high-performance division. Unveiled ahead of the 2020 Geneva Motor Show, the 2020 Precept is Polestar’s first concept car since it became more than a sub-brand that tuned performance-oriented Volvos.

The 2020 Precept is also the first Polestar concept that’s based on a Volvo. Created to preview the brand’s future direction and "a clear expression of intent," the 2020 Precept takes a new approach design-wise when compared to production models like the Polestar 1 and Polestar 2. The Swedish company says that the name Precept was chosen "to emphasize the vehicle’s role in setting out Polestar’s intent as the contemporary electric performance brand." Let’s find out more about that in the review below.

2020 Polestar Precept Concept Exterior

  • Unique Polestar design
  • Sporty looks
  • New Thor’s hammer headlamps
  • Pointy nose
  • Sunken engine hood
  • High-tech panel instead of grille
  • LED lights
  • All-glass roof
  • No rear window
  • Sculpted profile features
  • Thin taillights
  • No exhaust pipes
2020 Polestar Precept Concept Exterior
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While the Polestar 1 and 2 are unique in their own right, they’re still heavily based on Volvo vehicles. The Polestar 1 draws inspiration from the Concept Coupe, essentially a sleeker, two-door version of the S90, while the Polestar 2 is somewhat based on the XC40. The Precept Concept breaks this link with a unique design that doesn’t share design cues with existing production cars or concepts from Volvo. It basically marks the beginning of a new era for the Swedish brand.

The headlamps are clearly inspired by Volvo's Thor's hammer units, but they're now split into two individual sections.

The front fascia is rather unconventional, even for a concept car. The front hood features a striking design with the center section sunken well below the front fenders and the front section. The headlamps are clearly inspired by Volvo’s Thor’s hammer units, but they’re now split into two individual sections. There’s an upper part that extends toward the upper fender and a lower section that extends toward the corner of the bumper. The upper section includes two smaller lights on top of the LED stripe.

The Precept doesn’t have a proper front grille. This isn’t surprising given that the drivetrain is probably electric, but Polestar took advantage of this feature and developed a slim area that houses technology for the safety sensors and driver assistance functions. This panel includes a transparent area in the center with two radar sensors and a high-definition camera.

The bumper is also devoid of the side vents seen on regular cars. However, the side panels are scalloped to mimic vents for a sportier look. We can finally see a vent in the lower apron, part of a black element that also includes a splitter that stretches over the entire width of the front fascia.

2020 Polestar Precept Concept Exterior
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The wheelbase is longer than the production Volvo S90 sedan.

The profile of the Precept is low and sleek, especially the cabin. The roof extends all the way to the rear fascia, so the Precept is far from being a conventional sedan. It’s more like a four-door grand tourer, one that sounds very comfortable inside the cabin thanks to its 122 inches long wheelbase. That’s 6.2 inches longer than the Volvo S90 sedan. This wheelbase is also 2.5 inches longer than the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and only 2.6 inches shorter than the same model with the extended wheelbase. Mighty impressive!

Beyond that, the Precept boasts a highly-sculpted profile. The side skirts seem inspired by modern supercars with scalloped center sections and protruding, splitter-style elements at the bottom. The rear haunches are impressively muscular, while the wide fender flares accommodate big wheels wrapped in wide tires. The regular side mirrors were replaced by cameras, while the door handles sit flush with the body. The layout of the handles also suggests that the concept features reverse-hinged rear doors for better access inside the cabin.

2020 Polestar Precept Concept Exterior
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The roof is made entirely out of glass and extends from the A-pillar to where the rear window should be. I say should because the Precept doesn’t have a rear window. The pod you see at the front is a LIDAR unit that handles driving assist operations.

2020 Polestar Precept Concept Exterior
- image 888374

The rear fascia is surprisingly simple given the muscular profile. Lighting comes from a wide blade that spans the entire width of the car and extends into vertical wings toward the corners of the bumper. It runs around the edges of the fascia, giving the rear end a boxy shape. You’ll also notice the lack of a rear window, replaced by a sculpted panel that runs into the glass roof. This design includes high-mounted hinges, which translates into a larger opening for the tailgate.

Down below we can see a sporty bumper that simulates a race-inspired diffuser and exhaust pipes onto the sides. But none of these features actually exist and the diffuser section is closed off by a splitter at the bottom. Needless to say, the rear end looks kinda cool and reminds me of sports cars from the 1970s.

2020 Polestar Precept Concept Exterior
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2020 Polestar Precept Concept Interior

  • Simple and clean
  • Flat dashboard
  • Camera projections on the door panels
  • Digital instrument cluster
  • 15-inch portrait display
  • Sustainable materials
  • Four-seat layout
  • No leather and wood
  • Next-gen Android system
  • Plenty of tech
2020 Polestar Precept Concept Interior
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The seats feature heavy side bolstering and integrated headrests, just like in full-fledged sports cars.

Like most modern concept cars, the Precept features a very simple and clean interior. There are no buttons, no sharp corners, and no controls on the dashboard or the door panels. The dashboard is surprisingly thin, leaving plenty of knee room underneath, while the top section is almost flat. The center area is pushed inside and houses wide A/C vents. The dashboard corners "flow" into the door panels through displays that project images from the cameras mounted on the outside. The steering wheel is also as simple as they get with fewer buttons compared to existing units.]

2020 Polestar Precept Concept Interior
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The instrument cluster is just a small screen attached to the dashboard, but the infotainment display is much larger and features a portrait-style orientation like in some Volvo and Tesla models. The door panels share the simple design of the dashboard with just an armrest in the center and almost unnoticeable trim. The seats, on the other hand, feature heavy side bolstering and integrated headrests, just like in full-fledged sports cars. The rear section features a two-seat layout instead of the more traditional three-passenger bench.

There’s plenty of legroom here, while headroom seems ample as well despite the coupe-like shape of the roof. The glass panel that extends all the way to the rear headrests allow natural light to every corner of the cabin.

2020 Polestar Precept Concept Interior
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The seat surfaces are 3D-knitted from recycled plastic bottles.

Although it looks premium, the Precept’s cabin actually doesn’t feature the usual leather and wood veneer found in luxury cars. The cabin was designed using a wide array of sustainable materials, starting with the flax-based composites on the door panels and seat backs. These are 50 percent lighter than the usual plastic and also reduce waste by 80 percent. The seat surfaces are 3D-knitted from recycled plastic bottles, while the bolsters and headrests are made from recycled cork vinyl. The carpets are made from reclaimed fishing nets.

This is an interesting approach in which luxury surpasses the conventions of leather, wood, and chrome, but it remains to be seen if customers dig the idea with so many German premium cars fitted with these traditional materials.

2020 Polestar Precept Concept Interior
- image 888368

Moving over to technology, the 15-inch display features a next-generation system powered by Android. Developed in cooperation with Google, this infotainment system will probably debut in production models sometime next year. There’s also an illuminated blade across the dashboard, while the crystal between the rear-seat headrests features a Polestar emblem that floats holographically.

Just like the front grille, the dashboard hosts an array of smart sensors. There’s eye tracking that monitors the driver’s eye position and adjusts the content of the screens accordingly, while proximity sensors enhance the usability of the center display when driving.

2020 Polestar Precept Concept Drivetrain

  • All-electric drivetrain
  • Batteries in the floor
  • No official info
  • Should be two-motor
  • More than 400 horsepower
  • More than 250 miles of range
  • Competitor for Porsche Taycan
2020 Polestar Precept Concept Exterior
- image 888375
Powered by a 78-kWh battery pack, the motors in the Polestar 2 generate a total of 408 horsepower.

Polestar had nothing to say about the drivetrain, but mentioned that the long wheelbase is packed with batteries. There are no exhaust pipes either, so we know that the Precept is all-electric. But what lies under the shell beyond the battery pack?

Well, this concept car might not have a motor yet. Not all concepts are fully functional, so it would be unsurprising. Polestar could also be working on a new-generation electric motor and didn’t have the time to finish the project for this concept car.

We don’t know when this concept car might go into production, but Polestar already has an electric drivetrain. It’s available in the Polestar 2, which was unveiled at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show with two electric motors.

2020 Polestar Precept Concept Exterior
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Powered by a 78-kWh battery pack, the motors generate a total of 408 horsepower. This is enough to push the Polestar 2 from 0 to 60 mph in only five seconds.

Polestar claims that the drivetrain returns up to 275 miles per charge.

Needless to say, this drivetrain is more than suitable for the Precept, although a bit more power would be advisable given the options available on the market. Based on its design, the Precept would spawn a competitor for the Porsche Taycan and the Tesla Model S, both available with impressively capable drivetrains in range-topping trim. But for now, the Precept is about a new design language and technology, not mechanics.

2020 Polestar 2 specifications
Motor two e motors with 300 kW of power
Horsepower 408 HP
Drive AWD
Battery 78 kWh
Range 275 miles
Charging 150 kW charging available
0-60 mph 5.0 seconds

Conclusion

2020 Polestar Precept Concept Exterior
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The Precept is definitely a cool concept car and I predict it will become the coolest vehicle launched in 2020. It looks very appealing on the outside and places Polestar in a new position compared to Volvo. It’s no longer a sub-brand that revises existing Volvos, but a nameplate that designs its very own vehicles with a focus on sportiness and performance. The interior isn’t exactly spectacular design-wise, but it proves that you automakers can build appealing and premium interior using recycled materials.

And it points out to a green direction that both Polestar and Volvo are about to take really soon. And it should serve as an example for other manufacturers. Finally, the Precept could very well preview a competitor for the Porsche Taycan and that’s exactly the type of vehicle we need right now.

  • Leave it
    • Almost identical to regular Touareg on the outside
    • It could be too expensive
    • Strong competition
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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