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HomeCar TalkUnplugged And Ready To Rock

Unplugged And Ready To Rock

10 min read
The range of electric vehicles is coming in fast and furiously. Today, Singaporeans have a nice variety to choose from. Here are three European marques to tempt you to make the switch

POLESTAR 2

Never heard of this brand? You’re probably not alone. Polestar is the Volvo spin-off that is solely dedicated to pure electric cars. Okay, so the clean, minimalist lines, and the rear light configuration may just give hints of the brand’s pedigree.The Polestar 2 is a crossover of sorts — neither a full-fledged SUV, nor a fastback sedan. But this is arguably its strength, as the five-door vehicle provides all the benefits of both in a nicely designed package. The body is based on Volvo Cars’ CMA platform, but tweaked with features that separate the brands. A long 2,735mm wheelbase, 19-inch wheels and tyres, and a panoramic glass roof that comes as standard help to set this smart-looking car apart. The frameless side mirrors is a nice touch that not only looks great, but also reduces drag, contributing to the aerodynamic 0.278 drag coefficient.

Distinctive LED arrays around the Polestar 2 ensure that you’re always visible when on the road. The broad rear LED light bar consists of 288 LEDs, making sure the car can be seen even in the brightest daylight. In addition, the Active Bending Lights in the front automatically lights up the curve ahead by following the steering of the driver. A camera at the upper edge of the windshield detects the headlights of oncoming vehicles or the taillights of vehicles ahead, and instigates the car to automatically switch off individual pixels to remove light from the path of up to five oncoming or leading vehicles while maintaining full illumination on the surroundings.

Polestar’s Scandinavian sensibilities is apparent once you step into the cabin. The displays and controls are ergonomically designed so that it fits your eyes and hands like a glove. The 11.15-inch centre touchscreen and 12.3-inch instrument panel display all you need, providing an informative platform that ticks all the boxes without any superfluous gawkiness. The eco-conscious can rest assured that no animals were used to fashion the materials used in the Polestar 2. Of course, if you prefer your seats wrapped in leather, there is an option to have your car lined with perforated Nappa leather upholstery.

One of the key features of the Polestar 2 is that it’s the first car in the world to have its infotainment system powered by Android Automotive OS. This means that you have Google as your driving assistant, with Google Assistant, Google Maps, and Google Play built in. On top of this, the Polestar 2 also offers natural voice recognition, a Harman Kardon 600W audio system with 13 speakers, and a 15W inductive phone charger. Over-the-air software updates also make sure that your system is always current. Service connectivity for Google functions — such as Google Assistant, Google Maps, and Google Play — is included in Polestar 2 for three years.

Buyers can choose from three powertrain options in the Polestar 2, including a dual motor version (one on each axle) with a total output of 300kW and 660Nm, and a single-motor version (front axle) that puts out 170kW and 330Nm. All powertrain versions include one-pedal driving, regenerative braking, liquid-cooled motors and controller, an eight-year/160,000km battery warranty, and up to 155kW DC fast-charging.

This being a relative of Volvo, you can also expect a wide range of safety and driving assistance features, including Pilot Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic Emergency Braking, Road Sign information, Lane Keeping Aid, Oncoming Lane Mitigation, as well as Driver Alert Control.

For those who want something extra, the Polestar 2 offers an optional Performance Pack with 20-inch forged aluminium alloy wheels, Ohlins Dual Flow Valve dampers, and four-piston Brembo brakes with cross-drilled discs and gold callipers.

PRICE  FROM $217,000 WITH COE

ENGINE  AC SYNCHRONOUS, PERMANENT MAGNET VALEO-SIEMENS MOTOR

TRANSMISSION  SINGLE SPEED

POWER  300KW (DUAL MOTOR) | 170KW (SINGLE MOTOR)

TORQUE  660NM (DUAL) | 330NM (SINGLE)

RANGE  480KM (DUAL) | 540KM (LONG RANGE SINGLE) | 470KM (STANDARD RANGE SINGLE)

0–100KM/H  4.7 SECONDS (DUAL) | 7.4 SECONDS (SINGLE)

DISTRIBUTOR  POLESTAR SINGAPORE (Tel: 8266 1809)

VOLVO XC40 RECHARGE PURE ELECTRIC

It may seem a little confusing that Volvo has come up with an EV to compete with the Polestar 2, especially since the Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric is built on the same Compact Modular Architecture (CMA). The rationale may be that Volvo and its owner, Geely, consider Polestar a stand-alone brand that is more akin to a Silicon Valley start-up such as Tesla than an automotive company looking to build electric cars.

Whatever the case may be, the fact that Singapore now has even more EVs to choose from only benefits consumers. While the Polestar 2 attracts those who want something exciting and different that makes a statement, the Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric looks to target those loyal to the brand but want to move away from petrol-guzzling vehicles.

The XC40 EV offers everything you expect in a solidly built European car powered by twin electric motors. One-pedal driving mode is characteristic of many EVs, and the all-wheel drive with zero tailpipe emissions makes zooming up challenging terrain a guilt-free exercise.

At a glance, the XC40 EV looks familiar. On closer inspection, though, the car boasts some differences from its petrol counterpart. The front grille is now covered, both to set it apart and also to enhance aerodynamics. For obvious reasons, the exhaust pipes are now hidden. Other visual features include the full LED ‘Thor’s Hammer’ LED headlights with Active High Beam and Active Bending Lights, the 20-inch Double Spoke Black Diamond-cut alloy wheels, and an all-new Recharge exclusive colour in Sage Green. One unique aspect of the XC40 EV is the added front load compartment that bumps your total storage by over 30 litres. More conventionally, with the rear seats folded, the rear luggage capacity reaches 1,295 litres. There is also hidden, lockable underfloor storage.

Similar to the Polestar 2, the Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric is powered by twin electric motors that churn out 408hp and 660Nm of torque. Getting to 100km/h take just 4.9 seconds, which is impressive for a mid-size SUV. It takes just eight hours with a 11kW AC fast-charging (Type 2) three-phase 16A unit, and the car can travel over 400km before needing a top-up. The average time to charge from 10–80% with 150kW DC fast-charging is 37 minutes.

Inside the car, Volvo has upped the ante in on-board technology, if only to match the offering of the Polestar 2. Android-powered infotainment with Google Maps and Assistant offers connectivity on the go, presented beautifully on the 12.3-inch fully graphical adaptive driver display and nine-inch iPad-style infotainment touchscreen. The car also comes with voice control and access to apps on Google Play. Wireless charging, Harman Kardon sound system, and charcoal leather upholstery complete the luxurious interior package.

Being a Volvo, the car offers a full suite of driver assistance and safety features. It offers Volvo Cars’ Advanced Driver Assistance Systems sensor platform with its array of radar cameras and ultrasonic sensors, Intellisafe Surround with Blind Spot Information System, Cross Traffic Alert and rear collision warning with braking, as well as City Safety, which combines automatic braking and collision avoidance systems to prevent potential accidents.

PRICE  $256,000 WITH COE

ENGINE  ELECTRIC VEHICLE WITH TWIN MOTORS

TRANSMISSION  SINGLE SPEED

POWER  408HP (TWIN MOTOR)

TORQUE  660NM

RANGE  418KM

0–100KM/H  4.9 SECONDS (TWIN MOTOR)

DISTRIBUTOR  VOLVO SINGAPORE (Tel: 6473 1488)

BMW IX

BMW’s foray into the electrification of vehicles began in 2103 with the i3 and the i8. But the iX professes to offer the way forward as the Munich marque launched its new technology flagship in December last year. The iX combines the popularity of a Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) concept with pure electric mobility to offer a well-rounded package that should meet all the demands of today’s eco-conscious C-suite set.

At the crux of this car sits the fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology fitted with the electric motor, power electronics, and transmission built into a single housing. The two motors in the first-ever BMW iX operate under the principle of an electrically excited synchronous motor, where the power is derived from the feed-in of electrical energy rather than fixed permanent magnets. This allows the car to offer maximum torque and maintain it over a broad revolution band without the use of rare-earth metals, making it a sustainable motoring option.

The iX offers adaptive recuperation, which means that the engine is intelligent enough to manage its recuperative brake energy process depending on the road situation. For example, the car increases the degree of recuperation when approaching a junction, or when a vehicle unexpectedly cuts in front, allowing for a ‘freewheel’ effect when driving on the open road.

The high-voltage 71kW battery of the iX provides volumetric energy density at cell level that is 40% higher than the 2020 BMW i3. DC power can be used at a rate of up to 150kW, allowing the battery to be charged from 10–80% in little more than half an hour. It’s also useful to note than with a 150kW DC fast-charging station, the range can be increased by 95km in just 10 minutes with an initial battery charge of 10%.

The aesthetics of the BMW iX is immediately recognisable as the design — both outside and inside — is intentionally put together to make it stand out. The SAV proportions are bold and muscular, with the large, completely blanked-off BMW kidney grille taking centre stage when viewed head on. The interior offers a copious amount of space, made even more usable with the absence of the centre tunnel for extra legroom and storage.

BMW has gone out of its way to provide futuristic touches. The control panel has feeler bars and active haptic input, with a rocker switch for gear selection. Opening the doors from the inside require just a press of a button. Driving experience is enhanced by the BMW Curved Display, the hexagonal steering wheel, and frameless projector integration for the standard-fit Head-Up Display.

The iX offers BMW’s new Operating System 8, featuring a fully digital 12.3-inch infotainment display, and a diagonal 14.9-inch control display screen ergonomically housed together and angled towards the driver. BMW’s My Modes range of vehicle settings offers a variety of driving experiences and Remote Software Upgrades — as well as the option of purchasing vehicle functions later from the BMW ConnectedDrive Store, and having them installed over the air, help to keep your system updated.

One interesting feature is the cloud-based Augmented Reality Video element in the navigation. A live video stream from the driver’s perspective is shown on the control display and augmented by supplementary information that matches the driving situation. Animated visual cues are integrated into the video image to help drivers negotiate their planned route.

From a driver assistance perspective, the iX is a platform from which the future of automated driving can be launched. Five cameras, five radar sensors, and 12 ultrasonic sensors are used to help the car monitor the surroundings and to enhance safety and drivability.

Front collision warning, steering and lane control assistant, active cruise control with stop and go, exit warning function that alerts you to the presence of cyclists and pedestrians in the surrounding area before you open the doors are just a few of the extensive range of features that come standard. With Parking Assistant Plus including Surround View Cameras and Reversing Assistant included without additional cost, the first-ever BMW iX is equipped with the most extensive set of standard driver assistance systems ever.

PRICE  ON APPLICATION

ENGINE  FULL ELECTRIVE DRIVE WITH TWIN MOTORS

TRANSMISSION  SINGLE SPEED FIXED RATIO

POWER  240KW / 326HP

TORQUE  630NM

RANGE  425KM

0–100KM/H  6.1 SECONDS

DISTRIBUTOR  PERFORMANCE MOTORS LIMITED (Tel: 1800 225 5269)