The first car I ever reviewed for Gizmodo Australia was the Polestar 2 2022, which had been introduced to Australia quite late after being for sale in Europe for about two years. Despite cars from Kia, Tesla, MG, and others entering the Australian market, some at quite competitive price points, the Polestar 2 rose to the top as my favourite EV of the year. There was just no beating it, inside and out. Naturally, with such a great car, it made sense for the company to release a 2024 Polestar 2 refresh, with some upgrades to the drivetrain and battery.
I spent a week with the Polestar 2, and while I would consider it brilliant, I also encountered a very annoying bug, which I’ll tell you all about. Here are my thoughts.
The Polestar 2 2024: Sweet, Scandinavian Style
Starting with the aesthetics, moving around the car, it looks the same as last year’s model, bar the refreshed grille. Instead of having a black muscle car-like front, the Polestar 2 now looks more like its cousins at Volvo with a flat-faced panel. I really miss that muscle car front. It just looked better.
Personalisation options remain similar – Magnesium (the standard colour, others cost $1,500), Jupiter, Midnight, Space, Snow, and Thunder are the exterior colours, whereas inside, the owner gets the choice between black and grey seat and door trims.
Additionally, for Plus Pack owners (which includes the panoramic moon roof, Harman Kardon speakers, and WeaveTech seats with the same colour options), the owner gets the choice of black, grey, and white secondary internal trim options (for parts of the door and front-end). I reviewed a Snow-coloured long-range Single motor model with the Plus Pack.
On the system side, it’s mostly the same again, packed with what remains my favourite operating system in any electric car (Android Automotive, not to be confused with Android Auto, more on that below). When this car was working ideally, it was simply easy. Navigating to air conditioning controls from some menus required a few more screen presses than I would otherwise like, and admittedly I would like more physical buttons in pretty much every new car, but in a lot of ways, the Polestar 2’s infotainment system is the benchmark.
And my favourite Polestar 2 feature has returned – the behind-wheel maps. When you’re driving, Google Maps will persistently appear behind the steering wheel, along with your speedometer. When you have a destination set, it will be displayed on this screen, along with the Google Maps app on the centre screen.
However, during my time with the car, I did encounter an issue with the operating system that prevented me from using onboard Google Maps, Spotify, and other internet-dependant features.
The TCAM incident
Heading North out of Newcastle on a Saturday, something anomalous happened – my car’s signal completely dropped. I lost all internet-dependent services, like Maps and Spotify. I repeatedly tried to reset it, but alas, I was unable to resolve the issue. The issue persisted until the next day, when I contacted Polestar directly to attempt and resolve the issues, and then again until I was back in Sydney on Monday (a Polestar technician came around to attempt to fix the issue, but overnight it seemed to be resolved – classic tech fixing itself as soon as someone shows up to help).
What ended up happening was an anomaly that has affected other Polestar 2s before. In addressing the problems I encountered, the senior manager of customer service at Polestar Australia Matt McCroarey had this to say:
“We suspect there were two underlying issues with the connectivity issue experienced. First, there may have been a network disturbance at which time multiple resets were attempted [Polestars use the Optus network in Australia]. This prompted the Telematics & Connectivity Antenna Module (TCAM) to time out but was eventually restored after the vehicle was left to reset. Second, the operator had turned off mobile data which would have prevented the connection being fully restored. Upon inspection, our technician noted that the triangle was present and finding signal, but the LTE wasn’t on the centre display due to mobile data being deactivated. Once the mobile data was enabled full functionality was restored.”
Polestar 2 drivers can do several resets. The first is to hold the ‘Home’ button down (the white bar on the bottom of the screen) for an extended duration until the OS is forced to reset. The second is to hold their finger down on the forward screen demister, which will force a TCAM module-specific reset. The third is to, simply, leave the car for an extended duration and hope that it resolves itself.
In my time with this car, none of these things actually fixed the problem, and it wasn’t until I was back in Sydney, leaving the car parked overnight for a second time, that it fixed itself. The problem actually occurred again the following Wednesday, when I drove to a Polestar event, and then fixed itself again overnight.
Polestar recommends that if drivers encounter this issue, they contact the Customer Engagement Centre, which will walk users through resets.
McCroarey added that, although the TCAM module hasn’t been changed with the refresh, fixes have been applied with online updates, which have led to a decline in customer issues.
It was a strange experience to encounter, especially on the company’s newest model, and what made it even more strange was that the Polestar 2, despite being run on Android Automotive for its OS, does not have Android Auto support (for the phone-to-car system). It has Apple CarPlay support, but no Android Auto – so I couldn’t even project to the display with my Pixel 7 Pro. Hmm.
I hadn’t heard about the TCAM issue it until I came face-to-face with it, so it’s likely to be an uncommon bug, but geez it was annoying – an unfortunate weakness in Android Automotive’s great user experience on two fronts (the TCAM issues, and the lack of Android Auto support).
You can obviously use your phone and patch it through to the car’s Bluetooth speakers, which is what I did for Maps, or just use your phone with a GPS mount, but it sucks to simply not have access to features you expect to use.
Apart from the above issues, the Polestar 2 2024 has actually received some pretty big mechanical upgrades. On non-AWD models, the drivetrain has been switched from FWD to RWD, which makes the car feel more sporty and gives it a bit of a range boost. It feels much better behaved on the road than the previous model, and I didn’t have a problem at any point with it. It’s just an exceptionally well-tuned car.
Here are the four models of the Polestar 2 2024 available:
- Standard range Single motor: $61,272, 546km WLTP, 0-100km/h in 6.4 seconds
- Long range Single motor: $65,272, 655km WLTP, 0-100km/h in 6.2 seconds
- Long range Dual motor: $70,272, 593km WLTP, 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds
- Long range Dual motor + Performance pack: $79,272, 568km WLTP, 0-100km/h in 4.2 seconds.
Delivery costs about $1,500, depending on the location. Extras packs cost the following:
- Pilot pack: $3,500 (Pixel LED headlights with an adaptive high-beam, adaptive cruise control, pilot assist)
- Plus pack: $6,000 (Harman Kardon sound system, panoramic roof, WeaveTech seats)
- (Long range Dual motor exclusive) Performance pack: $9,000 (20-inch alloy wheels, performance chassis tuning)
- 20-inch wheels can be purchased separately for $1,400.
For my review, with the Long range Single motor, I found the car’s range perfect. Being the longest-range EV available in Australia at the time of writing, this car gave me peace of mind for the entire trip, even when I turned up at a charging station that wasn’t working. What’s more, is that charging speeds across the lineup have been bumped up to 220kW (was 170kW), making fast charging at public chargers even quicker (I was at 85 per cent from 10 per cent in less than 20 minutes).
The Polestar 2 2024: More of what I love, despite the hangups
It’s a shame that my experience with the Polestar 2 2024 was overshadowed by an anomalous system error. If that didn’t occur, this would have easily been my favourite driving experience of the year – it’s an exceptional car mechanically, handling brilliantly and driving like a dream.
But it’s things like that system error that mean even a car that I considered perfect, like the Polestar 2, has room for improvement.
To anybody considering buying an EV at the $60,000 – $72,000 price point, I recommend considering the Polestar 2. Among cars in this price range, it remains a highlight, especially for the range on offer – and if you encounter the TCAM module issue that I had, know that Polestar can help resolve it.
But Android Auto would have been nice to have as a backup for connectivity errors.
Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia
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