We all know that no matter how cool or expensive a car is, they must be crash tested if the manufacturer wants them to be street legal in the US. Polestar has announced that it has conducted the first crash test of its carbon fiber Polestar 1 car. This marks the first time that the Volvo Car Group has assessed the strength of a carbon fiber reinforced polymer in a real crash situation.
Steel bodied cars utilize bending motions in crumple zones to reduce the amount of crash energy transferred to the occupants inside the vehicle. Carbon fiber dissipates crash energy in an entirely different manner, it does this by cracking and shattering. The Polestar team paid very close attention to the way the carbon fiber reacted in the impact.
The team also paid attention to the underlying steel body structure and carbon fiber “dragonfly” that strengthens that steel body structure. This first crash test flung the car into a stationary barrier at 56 km/h simulating a frontal collision. The team found that most of the crash energy was absorbed by the car’s crash structure.
Some remaining energy was mitigated by the carbon fiber body panels into the body structure. That body structure remained rigid and didn’t show signs of bending or misalignment from the crash. This crash test was conducted at the Volvo Cars Safety Centre in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Polestar’s Zef van der Putten is the person responsible for carbon fiber at Polestar, he noted that this crash test confirms that carbon fiber meets the highest safety standards. Van der Putten also says that this confirmed the decision at Polestar to build the Polestar 1 body out of carbon fiber.