"It creates a cocoon."
No Rear Window
EV maker Polestar just showed off its fourth passenger vehicle, the Polestar 4, a compact SUV that literally has no rear windshield.
Instead of letting drives physically see out of the back of the car — who would possibly want to do that? — the Swedish brand opted for a high-definition rearview camera to give the driver a detailed look at its surroundings.
It's a notable omission, even when considering cars in other parts of the world are increasingly losing their side view mirrors in favor of cameras and driver-facing screens in the vehicle's interior, often in the name of improved aerodynamics and EV range.
The big question, though: do drivers ultimately want a reality check in the form of an actual window?
In the case of the Polestar 4, replacing the rear windshield with an extended chassis and a roof-mounted rear camera allowed the car designers to maximize the vehicle's aerodynamic properties, as Wired reports.
Rather than just improving range, Polestar claims the lack of a rear windshield serves a different purpose as well.
"In the past, we’ve always had to provide an opening at the rear for a physical mirror," Polestar’s head of design Maximilian Missoni told Wired. "Camera tech now is very high resolution, it works well at night time, and the software is constantly being upgraded so we can add value into the system over time."
In fact, the brand is willing to go even further in its quest to block out the outside world.
"We could remove the rear window and move the whole structure further back," Missoni added. "It creates a cocoon."
Not everybody was impressed with the designer's reasoning. What if a software glitch caused the system to shut down?
"Your touchscreen or trip computer or climate system bugging out is one thing," Kotaku's Luke Plunkett argued, "but losing the rear view out of the car — and it's going to happen — seems bad!"