Saab electric car (Part1)

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!

Saab 9-3 e-Power © Saab Automobile
Saab 9-3 e-Power © Saab Automobile

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!

Saab 9-3 EV Cabriolet from True Electric
Saab 9-3 EV Cabriolet from True Electric

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.




24 thoughts on "Saab electric car (Part1)"

  • The article really gets you in the mood for SAAB - SAAB and SAAB cars as SAAB used to be.

    It is a pity that NEVS does not seem to have brought with it the financial background, nor any other conditions to fully live up to this claim and to revive all this.

    Maybe the times are just over when a SAAB spirit and brand could survive? When I think of SAAB, I think more and more of the pre-globalized age of automobiles. The 1920s and 30s with their countless small factories that vied for buyers with diverse innovations, primarily on national markets, and how the flies died.

  • This whole discussion "... has nothing to do with the previous SAAB ..." I can no longer hear somehow!
    You have to go with the times to survive. Constant innovations must be!
    If SAAB were to stick to the two-stroke engine today, nobody would buy it anymore!

  • Yes, the “old” SAABians obviously had what it takes! To be ahead of the times! As usual…. 😉 A good article at a time when dark clouds are stubbornly lingering over Trollhättan ... May be. new donors handle the (former) jewel well!

  • The fact that GM finally left SAAB as a bloodless shell is a fact - then one was even afraid of this “shell” and immediately blocked the licenses of the younger models so that the buyer (Spyker) couldn't make any big leaps.

    This restriction caused by GM naturally also affects the current owners. Nevertheless, efforts are being made to get good investors on board - I assume that NEVS can still do something here despite the setback in China and that they are always more skilful than Viktor Muller.

  • Well Daniel, I can only reproduce what I'm told as objectively as possible. No more - no less. In addition, I would certainly not compare NEVS with VM. The respective starting position is different.

  • The Victor Muller always sounded very positive ... right to the end.
    The plug should have been pulled long ago. With Saab from the past, this has not had anything in common except for the four letters for years.

  • Please don't forget that GM was de facto bankrupt at the time. The shutdown of SAAB was an emergency measure, but unfortunately - like so much with the Americans - not thought through to the end! In the short term, losses were reduced, but billions in value were also destroyed. I think that SAAB would have been worth EUR 1,0-1,5 billion at that time - despite losses. GM tinkered with its balance sheets so much that in the end no one knew what the costs were and how they were billed internally. So SAAB was gone, the losses at OPEL increased - why ...? As we all already know, a successful company depends on good management. GM couldn't do that, and neither could NEVS. It is possible that the Swedish government then wanted to have only one vehicle manufacturer in the country and found a way to solve the problem by awarding it to NEVS ...

  • This conspiracy theory is rather unlikely. If the technology had been so revolutionary that the other manufacturer had to worry about its sales, GM would not have been able to dictate that it would not let its products out of their hands, but would like to have loads of Saabs, Opels and Chevrolets sold the technique. But even today, no e-car manufacturer will rip his product out of his hands, because an e-car will certainly remain a niche product in the medium term because it is just too expensive for the masses and not suitable for everyday use (keyword: charging time / range). Tesla has now made all his patents available for free use. From there came a true saying: Our competitors are not other electric car manufacturers but our worst competitor is any new car that is still sold with an internal combustion engine.

  • Very interesting thoughts! Unfortunately we can only speculate about this, but I don't think we will ever be certain. At least not for the foreseeable future!

  • I would even like to look at the whole topic from another perspective:
    At that time, SAAB was already very far with its electric drive and could have brought sedan, convertible and station wagon to the market as an e-car in a short time. At that time, 2012 / early 2013, that would have been a jolt throughout the auto industry!
    E-mobility might then have developed quite differently and much faster.

    Was SAAB perhaps deliberately cornered then?

    Was GM being put under such pressure by other manufacturers that they should / should have missed SAAB?

    In view of the current state of the SAAB technology and the current state of the competitors, one should perhaps think about this theory again!

  • All I can do is cry and pray that my 9.3 Bj. 2002 will serve me well for a long time to come

  • kopfschüttel

  • It is too early to “pull the plug”. Just watch what happens next. I had contact with Mikael Östlund on Friday, who sounded very positive.

  • At that time, did not you team up with AAM (e-machine) and A123 (battery manufacturer) and have these components manufactured in jointly founded subsidiaries, from which the licenses were then transferred to the partners?

    Sure ... even if you could win back one or two employees from those subsidiaries, you will have to cut back. Even components for which AAM or whoever has licenses cannot simply be copied. And if you then have to rely on a different selection of suppliers, the result is a reduced level of development.

    Really a shame ... the revolutionary electric car will probably not be, but rather another average car - if it becomes anything at all.

  • NEVS just pull the plug, sounds really cool - but then most likely no useful new investors / shareholders would come on board!

    Should any other dilettante insolvency lawyers provide fresh wind?

    I think the plug shouldn't be pulled for now and NEVS should strive to get a few good investors on board -
    As you know, it works according to your own admission.

    With more “coal” things can only get better - technical developments in particular (not only in the case of electric vehicles) are likely to win successful negotiations with new investors.

  • The mishap has increased with NEVS because the insolvency administrators have probably selected the worst of the applicants with NEVS. The mishap started much earlier, however, in the reluctance and indifference that the Swedish state showed when it was still possible to save the Saa at that time. As you can read in the last article, it worked for Saab Parts. Here in Germany, Opel was temporarily taken into financial state custody, with the consequence for GM that the German state could have a say in the future of Opel and so GM was also keen to get rid of the German state as a partner as quickly as possible . We saw it at PSA in France. The Chinese now have a say in this, but the French state has also interfered financially there in order to retain as much influence as possible in France. Unfortunately, it is the way it is and would have been if nothing helped. The Swedish government would have had the opportunity to get involved and raise its profile, especially if Sweden were to vote soon. But they still don't seem to need it. With NEVS it will be nothing.

  • Great technology - unfortunately the 4 years in the freezer - what idiot buy a company and then develop everything again? I will soon get a thick neck when I hear that the Chinese are buying something - everything seems to go wrong (except for Volvo Cars). Thanks for the report! Let's see what the Indians do with SAAB ... (maybe nothing).

  • Probably the problem is that you really want to block China technology instead of being manufactured in Sweden. We can see what happens and because it did not work with the full bags, only the sale to someone who can do it, or to turn the bowl in the lock.

  • Most of the licenses were not with Saab, but with development partners and are now spread all over the world. The electric rear axle will soon be found in another Swedish car as an example. NEVS does not seem to want to cooperate with some former partners, or vice versa. The location is not easy.

  • Let's not kid ourselves: NEVS should pull the plug - A brand that has been artificially kept alive and has no prospect of a successful future.
    Viewed quite rationally: with the resources available no serial automobile production works in 21. Century.

  • 2010 / 2011 after GM. Where did the rights and licenses remain with this technology? Or is that also technology where GM has the finger on it? For such stupid and dilletant I do not even think NEVS that they would not use this template if they were allowed. Although after this field presentation of this craft, who knows?

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