NEVS showed its prototype electric car last week. Were we surprised or were we disappointed? The NEVS - Saab - EV is representative of all the trouble in which the brand has been stuck since 2011. Because Saab could do better!
The article may not be light fare, but it does show through a review of the year 2010, where the brand ever stood. And where she stands now.
Paris 2010. An electric Saab is born.
Let's fade back! The Paris Motor Show 2010: Saab shows the 9-3 e-Power Concept. A Saab electric car with a range of 200 kilometers, an electric motor with 184 hp (NEVS 136 PS), a battery with 35.5 kilowatt hours (NEVS 37 kilowatt hours), and a maximum speed of 150 kilometers per hour (NEVS 120 Km / h).
The 0 100 sprint returns the sprint in 8.5 seconds (NEVS 10,0 seconds). The batteries are integrated in the center tunnel and underbody, where previously the tank and drive train had their place. Nevertheless, the 9-3 station wagon, which will later be on the road with a test fleet of 70 vehicles in Sweden, does not look like a high-legged vehicle like the NEVS prototype, but rather like a normal sports car.
The interior has few surprises to offer. The Elektrosa could actually go into series production from 2010. The gears, forward, reverse, neutral and parking, are engaged via an automatic selector lever. Instead of revs, fuel and turbo displays, the battery status, power consumption and remaining range are now displayed. For the first time in the 9-3, power steering is now electric instead of hydraulic.
If Saab builds an electric car, then the Swedish engineers like to go their own way. The batteries of an electric car need cooling. The Fisker Karma used cooling circuits with liters of coolants and fans to keep the batteries in comfortable areas. It will not be different with a Tesla. Such a cooling circuit consumes energy, it brings additional weight, it is susceptible to interference.
Air does not freeze, air cools.
We do not know how NEVS will cool the batteries, the batteries in the Saab 9-3 e-Power were in any case air-cooled by air conditioning, which saved a lot of weight and space. Battery management has been described as particularly effective by Saab employees. A further development of the legendary Saab Trionic, realized with a Swedish partner, should watch over state of charge and consumption. Cold is an enemy of every battery. The winter and the electric car do not like each other unless you drive Saab. The full battery performance of the Saab e-Power concept was available at -30 degrees and was thus 10 better than its competitor.
Since Saab is Saab, environmental protection was an important factor. The super flat batteries of a Swedish manufacturer became, as the first of its category, with the Nordic Ecolabel excellent. A recognition for safety, environmental protection and sustainability, even during production. With 10 years of life, and three to six hours of charging at the regular power outlet, the e-Power concept would have become an interesting product.
NEVS, on the other hand, uses batteries made in China, the batteries should not be as compact as those of the e-Power concept. And anyway - NEVS has a hard time. Cooperation and development partners from the e-power era are no longer available, much has to be reconsidered and developed. There is still some knowledge available in Trollhättan - the Innovatum is an excellent think tank in the electromobility segment. But many clever minds have also migrated. As a result, last week we saw the NEVS Saab electric car prototype.
While Saab has prepared its own production line for the pre-series 2011, NEVS 2014 is taking off normal Saab 9-3 Aero sedans and converting them to electric mode. That also says a lot about the way that NEVS would still have to go to mass production.
Four years of progress, where have they gone? While we were served a long-legged prototype and some were disappointed like me, a “drömbil” was within reach years ago. The electric, open Saab!
The dream of the Saab 9-3 EV Cabriolet
In the summer of 2011, the pre-series production should start, which was also partially realized. The Saab electric car would have gone into series production the following year. Sports suit, sedan and convertible. A test fleet was already on the way, and at least one Saab 9-3 EV Cabriolet is credibly guaranteed on German soil. That landed in a convoy with other pre-production vehicles on the way to Trollhättan in the workshop of a well-known Hamburg Saab partner. At that time no pictures were allowed to be taken, but the dream of silent “topless driving” was within reach.
The Saab electric car of the pre-NEVS era would have had a great, international future. If things had gone a little differently in Trollhättan ... It would have been ahead of its time and the project was already well advanced. While NEVS seems to be reinventing the wheel on many things, there was an almost finished product at Saab Automobile AB in 2010/11.
More about Trollhättan's electric dreams, which would certainly have been a success, I'll tell tomorrow.