A few weeks ago Polestar added two new versions of its Polestar 2 EV, an entry-level version of the dual-motor model, and a new, single-motor version. At the time a Polestar official told Autoweek the Launch Edition would probably go by the wayside after the 2021 model year. Polestar also said at the launch that its Digital Key would be integrated into the new Polestar app, allowing vehicle controls at the touch of the driver’s smartphone. Polestar said it would release free software upgrades over the air (OTA) and that the new app and Digital Key will begin rolling out to Polestar 2 owners OTA.
That day has arrived. Starting today, May 3, Polestar 2’s new digital key technology allows owners to use their connected smartphone as a supplement to the traditional key fob. In addition, the latest OTA update includes the activation of new integrated vehicle functionality in the Polestar app (the updated app will be pushed automatically to customers who already have the app installed on their smartphones).
“The Polestar Digital Key is one of our most anticipated features, because the convenience of not having to carry a physical key is invaluable,” said Polestar boss Thomas Ingenlath. “Being able to use your phone as the key makes sense especially in an age where our phones take care of most of our daily needs already, and it’s the one device you always carry with you.”
Polestar says security has been “the highest priority” in developing the digital key. There are 18 Bluetooth sensors in and around the Polestar 2, communicating with the paired device to “support accuracy, secure authentication and ease of use when accessing and starting the car.” The sensors detect the paired device approaching. When it gets within an arm’s length the sensors allow the doors, tailgate or charging lock button to be opened. Starting the car requires the paired device to be positioned inside the car to “safeguard against unintentional starting,” the company said.
“We focused on high accuracy and ease of use,” continued Ingenlath. “It’s really as easy and integrated as a traditional key fob, with no need to tap the phone against any sensors or open the app before use.”
The digital key itself is encrypted within the Polestar app on the paired device, and following extensive testing is deemed far safer than a traditional key fob. Polestar says the digital key is also immune to so-called relay attacks because it’s not operating on radio frequency, and the encrypted Bluetooth signal is reliant on the paired device being within physical range of the sensors.
With the latest OTA update, the app now includes vehicle functionality such as battery status, remote climate start and remote locking.
“The updated app now brings extra convenience to owning a Polestar 2,” Ingenlath said. “The simple action of being able to preheat or cool the cabin remotely is something we know adds huge value to the everyday experience and we know Polestar 2 owners have been eagerly awaiting this functionality. Of course, more functionality will be released in the future and we see great potential for the continued digital experience in Polestar 2.”
A Polestar source told Autoweek that when Ingenlath refers to “more functionality,” some upcoming examples would be battery preheating/preconditioning or self-parking functionality. “No guarantees there, but those are good examples of the types of things that might come,” the source told us.
In addition to the digital key and the updated app the latest OTA update includes new battery pre-heating measures to improve range, a revision to the way distance to empty (DTE) is shown, and an adaptation to the wireless phone charger for newer phones with additional magnetic elements – amongst other bug fixes.
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