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Before Capgemini Invent, I had some brand awareness about Polestar, but not much. I categorized it as one of the many new EV comers. The BEVs, as they say. It wasn’t long after I joined the company in June that I had to get real familiar real quick with our global automotive set of case studies and capabilities. Polestar was on the list, under the rubric of “mobility strategy & services”. It was both interesting and intriguing. No better training than on the job.
At IAA in late summer, I had been escorted around the Capgemini Munich office by an Invent colleague working on the account. Shout out to Alican, hi! We had made a plan to meet at the Polestar exhibit later in the week. He was working the event alongside client-side colleagues. No better training than in the market.
A few days later, on a sunny and hot day, I took a tour of the large Polestar stand in the open air space at Königsplatz. Cool music, slick looking cars, lots of energy and information overload. I sat back with Alican during his break. He shared that the IAA audience had a lot of very detailed questions about the Polestar 2’s engineering and design specifics. Natürlich. “You can go to the blue lane to test drive it!”, he encouraged me. The line was long and the traffic was thick. And I had dinner plans. It wasn’t my time. But I somehow felt like my time would come.
Back in the US, some 5 or 6 weeks later, I get away from my desk on a day where my schedule isn’t packed to the gills. 30 minute marathon meeting anyone? Ugh. I had to get out: I’m gonna run some errands before it gets dark.
After parking my truck in my secret parking lot at Tyson’s Corner Mall (uh huh, it’s still there!), I aggressively head towards my destination on foot. Let’s get this done. As I turn the corner around the one of the anchor department stores, I see the sign. And I recognized the logo. I stop in my tracks: is this what I think it is?!
Polestar 2, on Tour.
I’d heard about the sustainability-led brand’s go-to-market approach while in Munich. And here they were: a gang of enthusiastic individual inviting passers-by to test drive the all-electric child of Volvo in exchange for a $10 Starbucks card. I had to.
Stop. Now. This is my time.
So I did.
See the thing about an EV is: you gotta drive one to get it. I encourage everyone I know to try it. To feel what it’s like. Get in a car, experience the driving, the agility of its new soon-to-be mainstream power source, the shift that is happening in the industry, and the lack of shifting while driving. So smooth. And in the name of being better to our environment. Of no longer participating in the shortness of care of the 1900s and its planet-littering industrialization practices. And in the name of a much needed boost to the centurion tradition that is the auto-making business and its distribution model.
The radical relooking at everything we do. Through the lens of renewal.
I had already heard the pitch, but my product expert, Nick, an actor from LA, was so into it, and so good at delivering it, I didn’t dare interrupt him. We then talked performance, design, cargo, roof, safety, all the things. And we spent a lot of our time exploring the in-car digital screen experience. It’s Google y’all… Right before I took “Midnight” out of park, I asked him: “Could we go to one of these charging station we found around here so I can experience that?”
“Oh, we don’t normally do that no.”
I insisted: “But on the verge the largest energy transition the world has ever seen, isn’t range anxiety one of the biggest customer pain point we must help address? And isn’t demystifying the charging experience necessary to educating an apprehensive society and help accelerate the change?
Nick gave me a look; he had just discovered I wasn’t exactly new to the EV game. And I can be persuasive.
“Turn right at the next light. Let’s visit that charging station.” Sweet surprise, Nick!
Right in the Tyson’s Corner movie theater parking garage, we stop at an Electrify America station.
It was super easy, y’all. “Don’t coach me. Let me see if I can figure it out. I’m an experiential learner.” He even let me use his phone to explore the app (because apparently it’s “better than the pump UI” – Electrify America friends, call me!). He watched me pick up, plug and replace the nozzle (is that even what it’s called?) while sharing details about how charging actually works with me. “It’ll take 34 minutes to a full charge from a 20% battery” he informed me.
In that moment, I realized: I can charge anywhere! At the mall, at Target, in many parking garages, in the community!
And it hit me like a ton of bricks: I actually don’t need a charging station at home to make a more sustainable choice when I drive.
My next vehicle is electric. What about yours?
PS. Next pain point exploration: range anxiety. Can I road trip 525 miles to Lexington, KY at Christmas time, from Reston, VA? 😳