Watch the carbon-fiber-bodied Polestar 1 crash into a wall

We’ve all been conditioned to think Volvo and safety go hand-in-hand. That’s why the first crash test of the Polestar 1 is such an event, because Volvo is trying out an entirely different kind of body with this car. It’s made out of a carbon fiber polymer, but still has an underlying steel body structure. Volvo is branching into the unknown here, still, so it decided to make a dramatic crash-test video to go along with its first test.

We all love watching crash tests, and Volvo said this one took an entire week to prepare for. Polestar knew this test was an important step to ensure the materials used in the car provided results good enough for its rigorous standards. Carbon fiber reacts a great bit differently than steel does when it’s subjected to a crash. Instead of bending in the crumple zones, carbon fiber dissipates energy by cracking and shattering. Check any Formula 1 crash out, and you’ll see what we mean. Tiny shards of carbon fiber fly everywhere in those crashes, and the cars are unbelievably safe.

This frontal collision test took place at 35 mph into a stationary barrier. Polestar says most of the energy was absorbed by the car’s crash structure, while the remaining energy was transferred into the carbon fiber body panels and body structure. The body structure itself remained rigid and didn’t show any signs of bending or misalignment after the crash, according to Polestar.

Volvo’s conclusion here? The carbon fiber is fine. Using something other than steel or aluminum still allows Polestar to be comfortable with the safety of its car. What’s even more fine is the 600 horsepower and 737 pound-feet of torque the Polestar 1 will have when it comes out. Polestar branching out separately from Volvo seems like a pretty good thing for enthusiasts thus far.

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