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Chasing the sun from sunrise to sunset in the Polestar 2

The sun has been worshipped since the early civilisations playing a crucial role in ancient mythology, from the Greeks to Romans, Egyptians to Pagans.

And today it remains the centre of our existence, bringing light and life and heralding the start and end of each day.

Its warmth during the summer months brings happiness and with it sun tans, beer gardens and BBQs. But it also carries danger and warning (remember what happened to Icarus?).

The UK has just recorded its hottest June with temperatures some 2.5oC warmer than the month’s normal average. A stark reminder of how close we are to exceeding the 1.5oC global temperature limit.


While the climate crisis is perilous, it’s not irreversible. And at GRIDSERVE, we’re once more looking to the heavens for a solution. Not for divine intervention but for the power of the sun.

By harnessing its rays with our solar farms, we can create energy to charge zero-emission electric cars across the country via the GRIDSERVE Electric Highway. Together this is decarbonising the nation’s transport.

We call it Sun-to-Wheel.

It’s also why we’re standing in the dark along a coastal boardwalk at the most easterly tip of the UK…

4.32am: Ness Point, Lowestoft

The early alarm call is a shock to the system but it’s necessary to be at the coast for sunrise. Around the summer solstice that’s as early as 4.30am on the east coast – the start of our journey.

With just a few seagulls for company, we watch the sun come up (or at least watch daylight appear over a cloudy horizon).

Taking inspiration from Helios, the Greek god of sun, who drove a chariot from east to west each day, we’ll now aim to race the sun across the UK before it sets in the west at just 9.42pm.

Our chariot will be the Polestar 2 Long Range – a hatchback with a hint of SUV and coupe. A 78kWh battery will give us almost 300 miles of range on a full charge, while the 11-inch Android-powered touchscreen will help us navigate to the next stop on the GRIDSERVE Electric Highway and avoid any traffic hold-ups (not something our pal Helios had to worry about).

With the Polestar 2 trip computer reading zero and the 405-litre boot loaded up with some snacks, we set off.


6.08am: Norwich Electric Forecourt®

Our first stop is the Norwich Electric Forecourt®, just 30 miles from Ness Point.

Arriving just after 6am opening, we’re first in line for a much-needed coffee and croissant while the Polestar 2, which is capable of 205kW charging power, is topped up on one of the 350kW-capable High Power chargers. The Polestar’s reversing cameras and park assist help our tired brain avoid bumping into the barriers.

It takes longer for us to recharge our batteries after the early start than it does the Polestar 2 but with the caffeine coursing through our cells, it’s time to set off on the A11.

9.18am: Clayhill Solar Farm

Next up it’s time to pay a visit to one of GRIDSERVE’s solar farms. The Clayhill site is the UK’s first solar farm built without government subsidy. It combines solar panels and a battery storage system to help balance the grid and meet demand, reducing the need for fossil-fuelled power stations.

The 10MWp site generates enough energy for electric vehicles to drive 40 million miles a year, saving around 4,500 tonnes of carbon annually.

During June and July, it’ll be exposed to sunlight for almost 17 hours a day. And when you consider just one acre of solar panels in the UK, or half a football pitch, is all it takes to provide one million miles of EV driving year, our trip from east to west is powered in a fraction of the time it takes to drive the miles.


11.14am: Moto Reading Electric Super Hub

After a quick spin on the M1 and round the M25, we’ve clocked up 202 miles – but it feels like a fraction of that thanks to the minimalist comfort of the Polestar 2 interior, with fully-adjustable electric seats helping us find the ideal seating position and cruise control taking the strain.

It’s now time to dip into some of those sun reserves and charge the Polestar 2. It’s the Sun-to-Wheel ecosystem brought to life.

Reading, located at junction 11/12 on the M4, is just one of many Electric Super Hubs across the country, with banks of six or more 350kW High Power chargers available to use. During our visit, which includes a quick 20 minute power nap, we see a steady stream of cars come and go as well as a GRIDSERVE engineer checking in on the status of the chargers.

During our 40 winks, we’re delighted to see we’ve nudged the Polestar 2’s battery back to over 80% so it’s time to hit the road again – not before we’ve dealt with a few enquiries from admiring passers-by keen to know more about the Polestar and what it has to offer (the Magnesium paint job is also a crowd pleaser).

It’s clear that despite being such a young brand, it’s grabbed the imagination in a way that few newcomers have done since Tesla.

13.06pm: GRIDSERVE Technologies

It’s only a short hop to our next stop in Swindon (just as well, as it’s lunchtime).

The reason for our stop here is to visit the team at GRIDSERVE Technologies – the R&D division where the latest charging, energy and data innovation is taking place.

We’re getting a quick behind-the-scenes look at what the engineers are testing, as well as visiting the soon-to-be-opened GRIDSERVE Innovation and Operations Centre (GIOC).

Currently in construction, the GIOC will feature an indoor EV charging laboratory where the team will be able to test dozens of vehicles and combine with real-time data collected from across the GRIDSERVE Electric Highway.

The engineers will also investigate how to optimise battery health using machine-learning – all designed to deliver the very best customer experience. Watch this space.

Fed, watered and reinvigorated… it’s off to Wales.


18.24pm: Moto Swansea Electric Super Hub

Across the Severn Bridge, through the sun-drenched Brecon Beacons and along the remainder of the M4 and the Polestar 2 has effortlessly cruised through another 150 miles – the dulcet tones of Test Match Special describing England’s impending Ashes defeat giving the Harmon Kardon sound system workout.

It’s on this leg where we could also put the Polestar performance to the test, with the 231bhp electric motor in Sport mode giving us confidence to weave between the tight hairpins, stone bridges and extremely carefree sheep who wander across the asphalt.

Thanks to the regenerative braking on the Polestar 2 we’ve also managed to earn back some mileage on the twisty downhill sections so at Moto Swansea we only need a small charge at the 350kW-capable High Power chargers before the final dash to the coast.

21.04pm: Whitesands Bay, Pembrokeshire

As shadows lengthen and the clock ticks down, we carve our way through the glorious Welsh countryside on the way to the coastline. The Polestar 2 once again excelling on the open road – it’s been a superb companion for our coast-to-coast quest.

The final destination is Whitesands Bay near St Davids – one of the most westerly points of the UK with an unbroken view of the horizon. And as St David was renowned for encouraging his followers to care for the natural world, we can’t think of a more apt place to end our journey.

After 16 hours 45 minutes and 469 miles, we’re rewarded with an epic sunset across the bay. Mission accomplished and we’re sure Helios would be proud.

On a more serious note, the trip is a glorious reminder of the beauty of our world and why it’s important that we each do our bit to protect it for future generations.