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Safety-focused Polestar 2 EV emits a heartbeat-like warning sound

Polestar’s parent company is Volvo, which is a pioneer in auto safety. The company is using the Polestar 2 EV to showcase the group’s latest safety tech. That includes the first use of new front-inner-side airbags and a new Acoustic Vehicle Alert System that warns pedestrians with a soundtrack similar to a heartbeat.

Other EV makers try to make their pedestrian warning sound super-high-tech like the VW ID3. On the other hand, Fiat hired an orchestra, and BMW commissioned famed Hollywood composer Hans Zimmer.

But Polestar, thankfully, showed restraint. Thomas Ingenlath, chief executive of Polestar, said:

We deliberately did not want Polestar 2 to sound like a robot or symphonic spaceship. We wanted very natural, subtle sounds that simply let pedestrians know the car is moving. At the same time, we wanted Polestar 2 to sound slightly unique and become identifiable as a Polestar while remaining relatively simple.

The Polestar 2 will deploy two different sound files that were “engineered according to very specific parameters with a pending patent.” The quieter one is like a hush, and the more urgent one sounds like a beating heart. Give them a listen:


Compare that to VW’s approach with the ID3:


The Harley-Davidson LiveWire all-electric motorcycle, introduced in 2019, uses a heartbeat-like pulsing sensation in the seat and handlebars to remind riders that it’s on.

An EV with Volvo levels of safety

The acoustic alert system is arguably the least important of the Polestar 2’s safety features.

The battery pack is enclosed in an aluminum case, and it’s fully housed within the CMA platform’s floor structure. This reduces the risk of damage, stiffens the body structure, and protects occupants by keeping the battery intact in the event of a collision. In a crash, the battery pack is automatically disconnected from the rest of the vehicle to ensure there is no live connection.

Polestar explains:

Polestar 2 features the ‘SPOC block’ (Severe Partial Offset Crash) — a deflective solid aluminum block housed on the bottom edge of the front firewall on either side of the car, designed to minimize intrusion of the wheel and other objects into the cabin and toward the battery pack during partially offset frontal collisions. Increasing protection in the absence of an internal combustion engine, Polestar 2 also features a new Front Lower Load Path (FLLP) that protects occupants and the battery pack from more direct frontal impacts, for example, with a pole.

Other Polestar 2 safety features include:

  • Inner-side airbags fitted to the front seats to protect the inner limbs of the front occupants who are individually protected from both sides, as well as from the front.
  • A new generation of driver-assist technology, including Pilot Assist, which provides acceleration, braking, and steering assistance up to 81 mph.
  • Detection systems for other vehicles in front, behind and in the blind spots of the car, as well as pedestrians and cyclists ahead of the car. They are coupled to steering assistance and autonomous emergency braking.
  • Headlights using 84 individually controlled pixel LEDs. These automatically shade out approaching vehicles, maximize visibility, and provide the best possible illumination under all conditions.

CEO Ingenlath said:

We are directly linked to Volvo Cars, and with that comes their famous reputation for outstanding safety technology. So, of course, Polestar cars are designed to be among the safest in the world.

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Avatar for Bradley Berman Bradley Berman

Bradley writes about electric cars, autonomous vehicles, smart homes, and other tech that’s transforming society. He contributes to The New York Times, SAE International, Via magazine, Popular Mechanics, MIT Technology Review, and others.