Polestar is launching a new digital key system for Polestar 2, touching drivers’ smartphones for authentication, while the OTA update also brings further range improvements to the EV. In addition, the new car software will allow Polestar 2 drivers to pre-condition the vehicle’s cabin remotely, using the smartphone app.
Polestar had an application for EV from the beginning, a free download for iOS and Android devices. What is being added, however, is the ability to use this app as the key to the electric fastback, instead of the regular keychain.
For the owners, it must be quite simple: very similar, in fact, to the experience with the existing key. Walk to Polestar 2 and it will be unlocked as you approach the door; go to the trunk in the meantime and it will open. If you approach the loading door, however, it will be the one that is unlocked.
As you can imagine, then, there is a fair amount of things going on in the background. In the app, the digital version of the key is encrypted and then uses an encrypted Bluetooth connection with the EV.
Polestar installed 18 Bluetooth sensors in and around Polestar 2 in the meantime. When you reach arm’s reach, therefore, they can triangulate exactly where you are in relation to the doors, trunk or loading door and open whatever is appropriate based on that. There is no need to touch the phone at the door or hold it close.
To actually start Polestar 2, however, the phone used as a digital key must be inside the cabin. Polestar uses a pressure sensor built into the driver’s seat to turn on the EV, which means that all it takes is to put the car in the Drive.
It is not the only new functionality found in the Polestar application. It is now possible to check the battery status of the EV, remotely control the cabin’s HVAC to cool it or heat it from a distance and lock it remotely. More resources, says Polestar, will be added in due course.
Meanwhile, within Polestar 2’s Android Automotive OS infotainment system, there’s a new way to show the distance to empty (DTE) to the battery, in addition to new battery preheating measures that the automaker says should improve the reach. The charging behavior of the cordless phone has also been adjusted, says Polestar, “for newer phones with additional magnetic elements”. No specific device is verified by name, although it looks a lot like a reference to Apple’s MagSafe system in the iPhone 12 series.
The rest of the new firmware will be a mix of bug fixes and stability improvements. Polestar says the OTA update will begin rolling out to Polestar 2 cars starting today, although, since it is being distributed in batches, you may not see it on your EV right away. You will also need the latest version of the Polestar application installed on your phone, which the automaker says should be sent automatically.