The cars we drive will look very different within five years, with major changes coming as more vehicles go electric.
That’s the prediction of one of Polestar’s leading designers, who says new vehicle technology, with its slimmer profile and different demands, will allow automakers to change the way cars look and drive as well as remove some elements entirely.
Some of those features include a car’s rear window, which will disappear in a future Polestar model, and the front grille on others which is already being scrapped.
The design changes are expected to deliver multiple bonuses, including more efficient vehicles with better handling and more space for both occupants and cargo.
Polestar exterior design manager Nahum Escobedo, who recently visited Sydney to show off a prototype of the company’s first SUV, the Polestar 3, said electric cars have given designers fresh challenges and opportunities.
As electric vehicles no longer have to incorporate or accommodate features such as engines or front air vents, designers have “a very creative outlet”.
“With electrification, it allows you to play with all of these elements,” Mr Escobedo said.
“We can try to experiment and come up with ideas that we couldn’t do before.”
The Polestar 3, due in 2024, will include a lower wheelbase, larger interior space, and a minimalist facade.
But the Polestar 4, due later next year, will offer a more radical redesign. The rear window will be removed – a decision Mr Escobedo says will lessen the weight of the vehicle and boost its range.
“I hardly ever look back when the camera and sensors are so helpful,” he said.
“On the Polestar 4 … you won’t have a rear window but also the camera system we have is very well integrated so we thought it was good to get rid of it.”
Other big changes seen in electric vehicles include storage space under the bonnet known as a “frunk” or a “froot”, seat-detection ignition, regenerative braking, bigger interiors due to flat, skateboard-like platforms and more touchscreen controls, similar to the redesigned Tesla Model 3 which has a screen for back-seat passengers.
Many EVs also lack space for a spare tyre, however, due to weight considerations.
Australian Electric Vehicle Association national president Chris Jones said the new technology had also inspired a greater focus on aerodynamics throughout the automotive industry to reduce drag and improve efficiency.
“A low centre of gravity is also a pretty unique feature of every EV and it makes for better handling dynamics,” he said.
“I do hope we see more smaller, lighter, more aerodynamic electric vehicles in future that are more efficient rather than just adding an oversized battery.”
Australian motorists purchased more than 56,000 electric vehicles in the year to August, according to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, up from more than 14,000 during the same period in 2022.