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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It happened.

Today I was driving about 25 mph and experienced the dreaded Propulsion System Failure. The car immediately started stuttering—not in a comforting way—and abruptly slowed to a complete stop. In the middle of a busy intersection.

“Stop safely.” (Like I had a choice.)
“The vehicle will stop.” (Tell me something I don’t already know.)
“Propulsion system failure.” (You don’t say.)

This was the message on the dash display.

The car would barely move at this point. And I’m stuck in the middle of a busy intersection. At rush hour.

It took me 10-15 mins to CRAWL the vehicle onto a side street. And when I say crawl, I mean I was moving about an inch per hour (new acronym alert: IPH). And even that dreadfully slow crawl was very stressful because the car would only move (and really, it was more of a staccato stutter) if I pressed down almost completely on the accelerator. This really stressed me out because the car was obviously having a complete meltdown. And what if the car all of a sudden decided to accelerate? Very dangerous.

When I finally got the car safely onto a side street, it then stopped moving entirely. Literally wouldn’t move forward. Except— it would crawl and stutter backwards. Again— very, very slowly. And with terrible mechanical pulsing noises coming from the car. The car was obviously having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Once I was in a safe location I called Polestar support. And after a few minutes they dispatched a tow truck to my location. And promised me I’d get a loaner or rental in the morning.

When the tow truck finally arrived (after 90 minutes), the car would no longer shift into any gear. The only thing that was happening when I tried to shift the gear lever was a series of sequential warning messages that would rotate on the dash display. I tried everything. Getting out. Locking the car. Rebooting the infotainment. Etc. Nothing would work. The car would not shift into any gear.

After about 10 minutes of the tow truck driver and I brainstorming what to do—and him about to winch the vehicle onto the flatbed on wheel dollys—we had a thought that the car must have a ‘Tow Mode’ or something like that. So I fumbled around the settings and eventually found it. We followed the directions and thankfully we got the car into neutral, so it could be winched onto the flatbed.

The car is currently being towed to the nearest service location—150 miles away.

Interestingly, it was about a week ago that I upgraded to 2.2. And ever since that time—in fact, it was immediately after I got into the car after the upgrade—I began receiving parking sensor and brake warnings. I could tell nothing mechanically was different in the car. But these error messages were consistently random. And then today—BOOM!—total propulsion system failure.

I’ve had my car for a year. I’ve been patient with a lot of the software issues because I truly enjoy the car. But tonight, wow, things really changed for me. Putting all the inconveniences aside, this is a major safety issue that Polestar needs to address.

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Needless to say, it would make me furious. I feel for you, really do.

It’s hard to believe that 2.2 update could launch the avalanche of misgivings, but at the same time, I totally now believe that it is possible ( reading about all the weirdness caused to some other cars). I will really think long and hard before I hit the download button the next time.
 

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That must have been so insane - glad the other drivers were paying attention and nice job figuring out a way to get out of the road.

This reminded me of an old scare from @JPC from a year and a half ago, but in their case the car reset itself after 5 mins and was able to be driven off. Yours sounds far worse and I look forward to learning more on the root cause :(

I'm curious what VIN range your car is in if you'd be willing to share?
 
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Wow, I know how stressful that situation is!
The same staccatto occured to my polestar 2 when pressing the accelerator pedal, only option was roll backwards to a safe place.
Shutting down the polestar 2 completely for approximately 20 mins and restarting gave power back.
The car was towed 500km to autonexus (Australia) for repairs.
Polestar Australia's diagnoses was a 12 volt battery low on charge and they replaced the 3.6v back up battery.
The car has been fine since.
I hope yours is only a couple of flat batteries!
 

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For what it's worth I had a similar problem on my XC40. I had about 15 seconds warning before the car just stopped in the middle of the road. I had to "bunny hop" the car off to the side. The problem for me was the BECM (Battery Energy Control Module) inside the main battery pack. I'm at 12 weeks now waiting for the repair to be finished but I "should" get the car back this week.
 

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It’s never nice when things like this happen, but would urge caution to assume it’s a software issue rather than a mechanical one, or 12v battery issue. Glad that your ok, but would advise in future if any car just stops in a busy intersection and won’t move put the hazards on and get the hell out of the car and get to a safe place.

I’ve seen and witnessed many incidents happen where muppets are not concentrating and plough into a stranded vehicle causing serious injury to themselves and the occupant in the car. Cars are replaceable and people aren’t, I’m glad you didn’t get hurt whilst trying to put the car in a safe location.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That must have been so insane - glad the other drivers were paying attention and nice job figuring out a way to get out of the road.

This reminded me of an old scare from @JPC from a year and a half ago, but in their case the car reset itself after 5 mins and was able to be driven off. Yours sounds far worse and I look forward to learning more on the root cause :(

I'm curious what VIN range your car is in if you'd be willing to share?
I’m not sure which part of the VIN I can share without giving too much info, but can confirm the car was built in 2021.

Glad you were able to drive off after a few minutes. I tried—but the car was definitely and completely borked.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It’s never nice when things like this happen, but would urge caution to assume it’s a software issue rather than a mechanical one, or 12v battery issue. Glad that your ok, but would advise in future if any car just stops in a busy intersection and won’t move put the hazards on and get the hell out of the car and get to a safe place.

I’ve seen and witnessed many incidents happen where muppets are not concentrating and plough into a stranded vehicle causing serious injury to themselves and the occupant in the car. Cars are replaceable and people aren’t, I’m glad you didn’t get hurt whilst trying to put the car in a safe location.
Good point. I definitely evaluated the situation and considered my options. Fortunately, while it was a busy intersection, it was small enough that people weren’t traveling too fast. And where I live, people are generally good and alert drivers.

I continue to think, ‘What if this happened on a major interstate?’
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
For what it's worth I had a similar problem on my XC40. I had about 15 seconds warning before the car just stopped in the middle of the road. I had to "bunny hop" the car off to the side. The problem for me was the BECM (Battery Energy Control Module) inside the main battery pack. I'm at 12 weeks now waiting for the repair to be finished but I "should" get the car back this week.
Bunny hop is a great description for what the car was doing. That herky-jerky experience. Except it was more like a hybrid turtle/bunny. 😆

12 weeks?!! Are you serious? What did you do for a vehicle in the meantime? Is Polestar somehow crediting you?

I’m on a lease (one year in) so I’ll be curious how Polestar handles my situation.
 

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Bunny hop is a great description for what the car was doing. That herky-jerky experience. Except it was more like a hybrid turtle/bunny. 😆

12 weeks?!! Are you serious? What did you do for a vehicle in the meantime? Is Polestar somehow crediting you?

I’m on a lease (one year in) so I’ll be curious how Polestar handles my situation.
So I've got a Volvo XC40 Pure Electric, but as you probably know it's the same drivetrain and battery system as the Polestar 2. I took delivery of my car on May 6th and it was on a tow truck back to the dealership on May 8th. My issues were very similar to yours - just a series of propulsion system service, propulsion system critical, 12v battery critical errors before the car basically just parked itself right in the middle of the road. Very lucky for me I was on a suburban street.

The car really didn't want to go anywhere but managed to keep jerking it till I got out of the main traffic.

The reason for the long repair time for my vehicle was because nobody had the specific training (yet) at the dealership where I bought the car. So that wasted the first 4 weeks. The car was then towed to another dealership (a direct competitor to where I purchased the car), and they started troubleshooting from the start again. It was at this point I got Volvo Australia involved and it wasn't until the 10 week mark they actually identified the specific part that was fried out.

The BECM is inside the main battery compartment and the whole battery has to be dropped out of the car which is not "hard", but it's just a big job to do.

The "Propulsion System Critical" error is more or less some generic error that could really be anything. Sometimes it's a software issue, sometimes it's related to the motors or the battery cooling system, or the inverter. In my case it was related to the BECM. I've been following this error for a while on the internet (that's how I ended up in this thread today). For those who have the error due to software, they were able to keep driving. Or they parked the car overnight and it was good the next day.

For those of us who had the same experience of the car just shutting down and stopping - it seems to be related to inside the main battery and one of the parts frying out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So I've got a Volvo XC40 Pure Electric, but as you probably know it's the same drivetrain and battery system as the Polestar 2. I took delivery of my car on May 6th and it was on a tow truck back to the dealership on May 8th. My issues were very similar to yours - just a series of propulsion system service, propulsion system critical, 12v battery critical errors before the car basically just parked itself right in the middle of the road. Very lucky for me I was on a suburban street.

The car really didn't want to go anywhere but managed to keep jerking it till I got out of the main traffic.

The reason for the long repair time for my vehicle was because nobody had the specific training (yet) at the dealership where I bought the car. So that wasted the first 4 weeks. The car was then towed to another dealership (a direct competitor to where I purchased the car), and they started troubleshooting from the start again. It was at this point I got Volvo Australia involved and it wasn't until the 10 week mark they actually identified the specific part that was fried out.

The BECM is inside the main battery compartment and the whole battery has to be dropped out of the car which is not "hard", but it's just a big job to do.

The "Propulsion System Critical" error is more or less some generic error that could really be anything. Sometimes it's a software issue, sometimes it's related to the motors or the battery cooling system, or the inverter. In my case it was related to the BECM. I've been following this error for a while on the internet (that's how I ended up in this thread today). For those who have the error due to software, they were able to keep driving. Or they parked the car overnight and it was good the next day.

For those of us who had the same experience of the car just shutting down and stopping - it seems to be related to inside the main battery and one of the parts frying out.
Yikes. Two days after you took delivery. That must have been a real bummer.

My error messages were always around parking sensors and braking, and then came the propulsion issue. So my error messages were somewhat different from yours, but our propulsion issues sound exactly the same.

The craziest experience in all of this: While I was broken down in the middle of the road, inching my way to safety, people were gawking at the car, coming up to me asking "What kind of car is that?" My response? "One that currently doesn't work very well." 😆
 

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I had this last year after the 12V battery recall. See original post. Was quite terrifying and thankfully road was wide enough for me to get out the way into a bus lane. They took the car away for about 4-5 days for a full diagnostics with a polestar engineer. Now this sounds bad but ever since I never had any problems. This includes the 2.2 update, I think mine was the only car that didn't go from miles into km.

Post Recall - Abrupt Stop breakdown | Polestar Forum (polestar-forum.com)
 
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Same thing happened to me today; propulsion system warning and then it just locked up the wheels and started to stutter violently and loudly. Delivered in March, 4300km on the odometer. Both the tow truck driver and the technician told me they'd seen a lot of P2's since the 2.2 update.

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There definitely does seem to be a huge spike of this issue surfacing on this forum since 2.2. It seemed to be a very rare occurrence before 2.2 but now, though still rare, is MUCH more frequent. This is something serious that better be fixed soon.

To all of those unfortunate enough to have this happen, you hopefully will keep us updated on the diagnosis.
 

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The shop informed me the inverter is fried and needs to be replaced. They should have the part by the middle of next week, but to install it they need to drop the whole battery pack so it might take some time.
I had the exact same problem, and they also replaced the inverter. I hope it fixes your problem.
 
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