Perhaps the most paradigm-shifting element of electric vehicles—other than their owners being able to wake up every morning to a car with a full battery—is the way automakers are improving the cars over time via over-the-air (OTA) updates.
Cynics might point out that the approach is borrowed from the tech industry’s practice of releasing a “minimally viable product” and then rolling out new features when they’re ready rather than completing everything first and then selling the product. But the practice proved popular enough when Tesla started doing it that it’s now expected in the EV market.
Earlier this summer, Polestar bumped the range of its dual-motor Polestar 2s, increasing the EPA rating from 233 miles (375 km) to 249 miles (400 km). The Polestar 2 can now also precondition its battery if you set a charger as a navigation destination, and Sirius XM satellite radio was added via an OTA update.
On Wednesday, the company announced its latest update was beginning to roll out. Now, Polestar 2 owners will be able to schedule charging times (to take advantage of cheaper electricity rates, for example). Polestar says it has also improved how the suite of advanced driver assistance systems performs.
Across the industry, OTA updates are mostly free—or are tied to a subscription with several years included with a new car purchase—but some upgrades are more like downloadable content in a video game. That’s the case for Polestar’s performance upgrade for the dual-motor Polestar 2, which boosts power by more than 16 percent to 355 kW (476 hp). We’ll have to wait until closer to that upgrade’s arrival before Polestar will tell us how much it will cost.