Saab will specialize in producing electric vehicles

Article by Christian A., on June 15, 2012

Saab will specialize in producing electric vehicles, according to the Japanese-Chinese conglomerate that purchased the automaker out of receivership. The newly created National Electric Vehicle Sweden announced that the first new model from Saab would be a battery-powered version of the existing 9-3, which will be produced by the renewed Trollhattan production lines at the end of next year.

The top officials at NEVS said that Saab will make use of both Swedish expertise in manufacturing and design and Japanese EV technology. NEVS is targeted at the growing market EV market in China.

NEVS is in talks with Scania and the defense and security firm Saab over using the name and badge. During a recent press conference, NEVS said that it acquired the rights of the present 9-3 as well as the new Phoenix platform, which was being developed when Saab collapsed in 2011.

It doesn’t own the rights fo the 9-5 or 9-4x SUV. The new generation of electric vehicles would use the Phoenix platform, which will have to be completed.

It’s likely that NEVS will introduce a production version of the Saab 9-3 ePower, which came out almost two years ago. It is equipped with a 184bhp electric motor and a 35.5kWh lithium-Ion battery placed under the floor.

The car is able to accelerate from zero to 62mph in 8.4 seconds. Saab said that the battery would provide full power even at -30Cdeg. Kai Johan Jiang, one of those who founded NEVS, can speak Swedish fluently. He is the owner of Hong-Kong based National Modern Energy Holdings Ltd, a major shareholder in State Power Group that operates 28 biomass power plants in China.

Saab Automobile is telling the world that it is venturing into electrified vehicles by unveiling an electric prototype at the 2010 Paris Motor Show – the new Saab 9-3 ePower. The new Saab 9-3 ePower provides a glimpse at how the carmaker from Sweden is working and progressing towards creating its own electric vehicle.

Using the prototype as the basis, the carmaker would build 70 examples of the Saab 9-3 ePower to serve as a test fleet that will be extensively assessed in Sweden in early 2010. Evaluation of these electric prototypes will be done is a manner that would involve a variety of real world driving conditions. These evaluations would help the carmaker’s engineers to develop a dependable electric vehicle that is purely Saab. For instance, the tests should allow Saab to confirm whether the Saab 9-3 ePower is able to reach its expected driving range. Saab is expecting the 9-3 ePower – which gets its juice from high density lithium-ion battery cells – to be able to reach 200 kilometers in a single full charge.

Saab touts the new 9-3 ePower as the first electric car that offers the size as well as the comfort of a wagon. Using a regular Saab 9-3 SportCombi as a base, the 9-3 ePower has been engineered to feature an electric platform that includes an electric motor that develops 135 kW (184 hp). This power is sent through the front wheels via a single-speed transmission. Thanks to its electric motors that provide instant torque, the Saab 9-3 ePower could sprint from zero to 100 km/h in just 8.5 seconds and achieve a top speed of 150 km/h.

Regarded as the carmaker’s first electric vehicle, the Saab 9-3 ePower is a product of the collaboration between Saab Automobile and a number of suppliers. For instance, the Saab 9-3 ePower sourced its batteries from Boston Power and electric power trains from Sweden AB’s Electroengine. Also involved in the project is Innovatum and Power Circle, Sweden's electric power industry trade organization.

Topics: saab, electric car

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