Now's a good time to mute your nearby google home devices
I've noticed many people (including me) wanting to know more about the Polestar 2's Android Infotainment system. Unfortunately most journalists only focus a small amount of time reviewing the car's system even though I believe this is a standout feature. So here's a compilation I've gathered of some journalists talking about the system. Enjoy!
1. Carwow ~ 04:20 (time code)
2. Autogefühl ~ 11:50 (Note a cool feature at 13:20 where it tells you in the top right corner if your phone is currently being wirelessly charged)
3. Driving Electric ~ 03:07
And here's my opinion:
I think this is one of (if not) best infotainment screens currently out there. And yes, I think it dethrones the Model 3 in this respect. Polestar 2 edges out rivals in several aspects.
1. Large touch buttons
Hear me out. When going over those videos, one thing that you can see common between all the different pages visited is the absence of clutter. Each page/menu layout is organised in a large tile-like manner with huge buttons. This allows text to be larger, so you can see more clearly, and provide a larger touch point so you'll less likely miss the button you intended on pressing.
2. The drivers instrument cluster
This is where I think most people might prefer the Polestar 2 over Model 3. An instrument cluster screen means you have a dedicated area (closer to your line of sight) for your driving information without taking your centre screen's real estate.
3. Google Maps
I think this is pretty self explanatory :)
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying Tesla cars have bad headlights. It's just that there are other brands out there that continue to push what's possible and I'd like to see Tesla in the race.
What does Tesla use for their headlights?
Oh good question, me. Standard for all models, they use an LED setup that reacts to your steering input and switches between high/low beams whenever a car is spotted in the distance (essentially auto-high beam). They also have fog lamps which are handy during junction turns and parking. But sadly, that's it.
Now this is totally acceptable for the Model 3. Because the 3 is meant to be an affordable car and fancy headlamps cost! What I find slightly unacceptable is when it comes to the Model S and X. These cars are undoubtedly 'premium' vehicles because that's what it's priced as. So it's sad to see that they're left behind by other brands in this department because in other departments, Teslas can be a real competitor (if not leading the pack).
So how do other brands stack up?
Well let's look at Audi shall we? Arguably the gods and pioneers of fancy headlights. Obviously other brands may not have similar technologies but we'll look at Audi as a comparison. On top of what's used by Tesla, Audi provides Matrix headlamps (aka adaptive headlights or some other names but let's just call them matrix yeah). Matrix headlights is special because instead of using a few powerful LED 'bulbs', they get segregated into pixels (smaller bulbs). These pixels allow higher resolution so more specific shadows can be casted. The higher the pixel count, the better shadows these lights can produce.
In practice then, these shadows are created for oncoming traffic so you can enjoy high beam continuously without blinding other people. Most brands (Audi, Merc, Polestar, etc) use matrix lights with 84 pixels however the trend indicates that that number will go up.
Why does this matter?
Honestly speaking, It's mostly for convenience, a splash of safety, and a dash of fancy gimmick. Heck it could probably improve Autopilot's vision in night time since a larger part of the road will be lit at times. But the bottom line is there's no reason why Tesla shouldn't put 'premium' headlights in their premium cars. Buyers should expect this. After all this is essentially a tech item, and we all know how good Teslas are in tech. So here's to hoping for better headlights on a Tesla.
P.s. Let's talk about laser lights in a future post okay? :)
Driving a rental? Borrowing your mum's car? All that matters is that you need to refuel now? And life would be a hell a lot easier if you just knew which side of the car the fuel cap is on. But wait, you do know!
See that little arrow beside the fuel pump icon - yep that's an arrow indicating which side to put fuel on.
That's it, no frills. And if you didn't know about this then join the club!
We've all been here. Dummy or not, humans have generally always been a rather indecisive species don't you think? It gets worse when more options are presented, and the case holds at petrol stations. So much fuel at so many prices. With fuel prices plummeting as a result of the pandemic, indecisiveness congruently has skyrocketed. So what should you be putting in? The short answer - whatever your car recommends and in most cases its regular unleaded fuel.
But let's delve into it a bit further shall we. The main separations between each fuel has to do with its RON number. RON stands for random octane number and generally speaking, the higher the number, the less likely it is to prematurely combust and produce engine knock. Different cars have different engines, working at its optimum by varying levels. Which is why we have different types of fuel to cater to these engines. High performance engines tend to require fuel with higher RON. That said, some regular cars such as my sister's Golf recommends min. RON95 so you really have to check for yourself to be conclusive. This can be can be checked by looking for a recommendation at the fuel filler flap.
Now, note that this is only a recommendation. A car that's supposed to be running RON95 but filled with RON91 (or vice versa) isn't going to stop working all of a sudden. It's kinda like giving normal milk to a person that's slightly lactose intolerant. He's not going to die, but its better he gets lactose free milk right? The same goes for filling your car with a higher than recommended RON fuel. It doesn't need it and benefits little to none from it.
Tyres are the only thing keeping you in contact with the ground on a car. So please, please, treat them well with the respect they deserve.
Tyres are probably one of the most factors in determining the safety of a car. They are subject to really harsh environments, which makes them prone to wearing. We all know that at some point we'll have to change our tyres. But when is that exactly?
Well there's a few factors that will contribute and indicate when it's time for a change. Here's some:
Car care goes a long way to keeping your car in good shape. Maintaining your tyre pressures can be done by even the biggest car dummy. As time passes, your car's tyre pressure may go down and cause the tyre to be under-inflated. A few problems may arise. First, under-inflation leads to a larger (than needed) contact area between the road and tyre. This produces excess drag and thus, higher fuel consumption. Another problem which is more prominent on older cars is that you'll start to feel that the steering becomes more heavy; but this isn't a very noticeable trait. So yes, a regular check up on your tyres could save you a lot on money in the long run. How regular? Experts suggest at least one month. Putting too much air isn't good too! Over-inflation may cause the ride of your car to feel more 'crashy' and in the long run gives your tyres excessive wear and suspension problems. So fill them just right!
Now already know the why. Here comes the How?. First off you need to know how much pressure you should be putting in your tyres. Open your drivers door and look for a placard that's similar to the picture above. All the numbers and figures look daunting, I know because I have a sister to explain this to. kPa and psi are units of measurement, something that you'll have to keep in mind when you're at the pumping station. As you can see each row corresponds to your usual usage of the car. If you usually drive alone, best to choose the first row of pressures. Change the pressures when you bring your mates for the next road trip. Now you know how much to put, you're pretty much ready.
When you're at the pump, first choose the correct unit of measurement, then select the correct pressure. Once that's done, unscrew the cap and press the nozzle in. You'll start to feel air rushing into your tyres and you'll usually hear a beep from the machine to know when its done. And there you go! Three more wheels to go :)
It may be tedious for some, but its a cost-effective way of maintaining your car, and one thing that I think every driver should know how to do.
From time to time we get spyshots that give a glimpse or hint of what a next generation car may ought to look like. Then there are rarer instances like this. Well folks, here we have a the W223 Mercedes Benz S-Class fully undisguised, exterior and interior. Looking from the front we can see redesigned headlamps that are more in-line with Merc's more current models in the line up. We also see a larger (because of course it does) front grille that from the looks of it incorporates a larger shielding to accomodate what can only be an enhanced ADAS (Mercedes aims to have this car certified as Level 3 Autonomous Driving capable).
Moving towards the back, it can be seen that the next generation S-Class will adopt design cues similar that of from the current gen CLS. It's refreshing to see that Mercedes hasn't jumped on the 'light-bar' wagon like most German manufacturers (Porsche, Audi, BMW). What isn't refreshing is if/when we find out that those exhaust tips are fake.
The interior is where the business really happens. Apart from the steering wheel, the dashboard receives a complete redesign reminiscent of the Mercedes EQS Concept shown last year. There's no doubt that the word 'Tesla' was used during the design process of this interior. This generation sees most functions moved towards the display, including the car's HVAC system. And as being touch centric as it is, the S-Class now comes without a touchpad that usually resides at the centre console on other Merc models. Gone too is the volume rocker, now in place a capacitive volume switch that's arguably less intuitive. But I'll leave that for you to decide.
Yes, ahead of the that drivers instrument panel is a heads up display. And yes, it looks like the perfect place for a cat to sleep in. This massive HUD is needed however for Merc's plans to introduce proper augmented reality to display information overlaying the driver's line of sight.
The next generation S-Class' screen and touch centric design is going to pave a new way for other models to follow suit, just like how the current gen's dual screen layout was adopted by the rest of the lineup. Like it or not, this seems to be the path that future Mercedes' will take. We can't fully judge until reviewers get ahold of it, nor can we critique its design to the full extent until officially unveiled. That said, I think its criminal to have that much gloss in a car (we don't live in dustless, aseptic voids). Being the tech focused website this is, I am intrigued to see how well the centre screen stacks up to Tesla's and the like.
Edit: Images were retrieved from a post by @mercamg0 on Instagram. Though that post is now no longer available and deleted
First unveiled in 2019, the Polestar 2 showed the company's path towards electrification. It is a compact sedan meant to compete with the Tesla Model 3. It has a 79kWh battery pack estimated to go for 275 miles and produces over 400hp (300kw). 0-60 takes roughly 4.7 seconds and deliveries are slated to be in 2020 (with everything going around, we'll see about that).
There are many electric cars that come close to Teslas nowadays. Cars like Kia's E-Niro shows us how much range you can get for your buck; and some other cars like Audi's E-tron shows us what true build quality from a luxury car should be.
But there's always been one area where Tesla trumps, its infotainment screen. A startup company from Silicon Valley leading the war on in-car tech, who knew?
We all know what Tesla is capable of, so let's turn towards Polestar. Like most brands, they're going for the 'minimalist' approach on their dashboard. In other words, take away as much buttons as you can and fit a giant touchscreen front and centre. At least they didn't 'digitised' their airvents.
Lets talk screen
The system is based off of a version of Android that Google has tweaked for it to be suitable for cars. Not many cars have adopted it yet, in fact Polestar (and Volvo) is among the first to implement this system for their cars but expect more companies to follow. That said, as more manufacturers use this OS, don't expect them to all look alike. This is because the companies will design it in the way they'd like. Think Samsung and OnePlus - both running Android but different in look and feel.
So how does it stack up?
It seems to hit all the right spots. This system has a lot of potential. Like other cars, Tesla creates and uses their own apps. With Polestar, they're able to use native Google apps and that's a huge win. Google Maps will deal with navigation, Google Assistant handles voice input and there's even a Google Play Store for you to download third-party apps such as Waze, Spotify and other services. More apps will be available as developers begin to support Android Automotive and it really starts to become a tablet on wheels.
It all seems to be well and jolly, but like the car itself, it'll still be some time before we are able to get our hands on it. It seems that Polestar (and Volvo) could bring a real contender, and competition is only an upside for the consumers.
I really do. Rarely do I ever root for success on a new car company. Cynical, yes?
I argued that Teslas didn't understand what a car meant - that giving only two screens in an otherwise empty interior was not enough to make your car feel like home (I was wrong).
When I saw startup electric car companies popping up in the past decade, I thought to myself, huh what a bunch of over ambitious people with bad financial planning (I'm looking at you, Faraday Future).
But then, somehow Rivian manages to capture my heart.
I guess it's the fact that their trucks show a glimmer of hope in adventuring into the wild in a zero emissions car, and those two aspects seem to go hand in hand if you get what I mean.
All I can say is this, one day I hope I'm able to hurl down a meadow in New Zealand (officially my dream country to move to) with a Rivian.
I wish you all the best in your succession, Rivian!
And it's not the ludicrosity or sustainability of the Taycan's power
What I actually think is amazing is its 800v architecture. Sounds boring, yes? But it has so much potential going for it. Here's why:
Being the first production car to be equipped with this architecture, not only does it allow for thinner cables, it also allows for a higher theoretical charge rate. And that's important because charging times is one of the biggest beef consumers have with electric cars. If car manufacturers solve the issue of charge time, people wouldn't really mind with a slightly dismal driving range especially when fast charging stations begin to pop up everywhere. Think about it, why do we rarely hear about complaints of a small fuel tank? Because it's fast and easy to refuel, duh.
Porsche claims that with the new 800v architecture, the Taycan is currently capable of accepting charge at a rate of up to 270kw. At that speed, 5 - 80 percent of charge can be done in 22.5 minutes. Not quite 5 minute refuelling fast but its definitely faster than other makes (with the exception of Tesla rolling out V3 supercharging of course).
But this is Porsche we're talking about. Perfect ain't perfect enough. This is why they're currently testing charge rates of 400-500kw. They claim that just 3 minutes will give you 100km of added range; now that sounds more like it.
Not only is this good news for the future of electric cars, it also tells us that maybe we need a rethink on how charging stations should be laid out. Here's the current problem, EVs are a growing market and to cope with that growth we need to build more charging stations with more stalls. Imagine you're third in line to a charge point, if each car takes 30 minutes to charge you're looking at waiting there for 1.5hours just to complete charging your car.
Tesla gets around this problem by simply increasing the number of stalls in an often crowded station like this station which has 40 superchargers! When have you seen a gas station with 40 gas pumps or bowsers?
The other way which Porsche seems to be betting on is by increasing the charge speeds. Instead of each car spending 30 minutes they only need to spend 5-10. This means less time spent on charging, more cars coming and going, negating the need to install double digit amounts of chargers in each station. It also means stations take up less space and can be placed in denser cities, costs of making these stations are less because they require fewer chargers which allows more stations which allow further travel.
There will come a time when charging an EV will be very similar to refuelling a car ironically, albeit you can make phone calls.
With great change comes great problems
Imagine this, you get up one morning to start your phone up. It roars into life. You wish to you use, but wait - to use it to its fullest potential you need to let it warm up, so you use it for a few minutes gently only to be able to give it the beans after. All while it emits a toxic smell and greases up your hands. Now this isn't how our phones work don't they? They don't have an engine, they have a battery! We pull the plugs off our phones and use it. Period.
Cars deserve this such seamless operation.
Now I know, our phones shouldn't be put to the same regard as our cars. But here's some hard truth, most car users use cars as a mean to bring them from point A to B - the less frills the better. You get up every morning with a full tank. You don't need to do any engine warmups, decide when to visit the next gas station or check which station offers cheaper fuel. Heck you can even heat up your car's interior to a toasty level all without worrying about harmful gases plaguing in your front porch.
And when you do drive off, its whisper quiet so you can listen to your music or your podcasts better. You don't need to raise your voice when you're in the car with your mates. It’s not to say that electric cars are all perfect and all (nothing is really). Yes, range, price and charging times are still an issue even though they have been drastically improving from the EVs of yesteryear. But, if you can make do with those issues, or you’re living in a cbd with a deep pocket and not travel too far, then an EV might start to become a convenience.
And that’s the key takeaway here, EVs will be a convenience.
Not just yet, but it will.
The Volvo XC90. The car that began a new chapter and revolutionised the way we think what Volvos represent. I take Volvo quite close to heart, because prior to this I had always resented its brand image. Why does being safe need to look so dull?
Well, not this Volvo.
As part of our (my family and I) long holiday, we've decided on doing a 10 day long road trip across NZ's South Island. It was quite a surprise to find out that the rental company we booked with provided us with an XC90 in Inscription guise and packed with a heck of a long specification list. So with 4 occupants strapped in and 4 large suitcases stuffed in its back, we got cracking.
Here are my thoughts:
Where do I start? The centre infotainment screen is simply brilliant. And mind you that this infotainment software first debuted in 2015. Yes its that old, and I believe that just shows how advanced the system was at its time.
The infotainment screen meets you in first sight with its portrait orientation spanning 9 inches. That's how it should be, because ask yourselves, when was the last time you used your phone navigation in landscape. It also has a simple yet useful home page segmented into four sections - essential to a good system. Customers are going to spend most of their times on the home screen because you don't really need to go anywhere else around the system to change most of the things that needs changes. Nearly all changes only require 2 actions. Want to change the radio? Tap the radio section to expand and tap your chosen station. Want to enter a destination on the gps? Tap to expand, tap to enter destination. You see where I'm going?
Hi there, if you're reading this then you are one of the first few (if any) readers in this site. I'm not sure how you ended up at my site but for that, I thank you.
For long I have rooted myself in interest with cars. But one pet peeve that I have on automotive journalism is their lack of well documenting the screens in cars, often only giving a brief mention on size and positioning. And I believe this to be a let down, because a car is no longer just a machine (although I could argue that it is more soul than machine but that's for another post), cars are also now a piece of tech and I wish more attention is given to that later part.
So with that in mind, I now present Reviews by Adam, a blog geared towards reviews and opinions on cars with the emphasis on their ever evolving screens.
Stay tuned :)