Polestar’s Journey to Sustainability

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Polestar aims to make climate-neutral cars long before they hit the road. Photo Polestar

Polestar is constantly searching for new and better ways to build cars in a sustainable manner.

It requires a restructuring of manufacturing processes, from beginning to end. Their cars begin with raw materials, so that is where Polestar must start on their journey towards true sustainability.

Sustainable design

When asked about Polestar’s approach to sustainability and how they can improve, Head of Color and Material Maria Uggla and Colour and Material Designer Komal Singh had a clear answer. Rather than bending materials to fit the designs, they must design to make use of and incorporate sustainable materials. “We need to start the design by looking at the material, instead of applying a material on top of a design,” says Uggla.

Achieving sustainable design means developing products whose materials can be reused repeatedly. This requires Polestar to design a system where the materials are borrowed and returned within the same system at the product’s end of life. In essence, sustainability is about creating products that mirror natural life cycles.

Usually, the design stage is focused on functionality, quality, and costs for meeting customer requirements. Historically, these concerns have outweighed the importance of sustainability from production to end-of-life. With the importance of the product design stage in determining future sustainability, Polestar must establish a design process where sustainability is central. Rather than figuring out how to recycle a product at end-of-life, designers must adopt a proactive approach where circularity is a main concern at the design stage. “You have to think of the entire loop,” stresses Uggla.

Quality and durability

Although sustainability comes first, we cannot ignore the importance of quality and durability in material selection. When asked about balancing the value of sustainability against premium and durability, both Uggla and Singh were confident that one does not necessarily exclude the other. “I think that question comes from this traditional outlook on what premium material is” Singh notes.

Designers are charged with the task of creating new premium products where the feelings of luxury and quality go hand in hand with sustainability. Not an easy task by any means, but one that motivates and inspires our designers. “Treating everything as raw material and a blank slate is what makes the designer’s job that much more interesting” enthuses Singh.



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