Saab 9-3 EV test drive

In the trouble of the past few days, we had completely lost sight of the Saab 9-3 EV. Because there is a question: how does the electric car prototype drive? The magazine “Ebilen i Sverige” had the opportunity to explore this.

Saab 9-3 EV prototype © 2014 NEVS
Saab 9-3 EV prototype © 2014 NEVS

The reporter arrived in the Tesla S in line with the standards, which allowed him to make a direct comparison between the American standard of all things and the Swedish prototype. Exciting ... Here is the story:

Trollhättan September 3rd, 2014. Late summer weather, 21 degrees. The Saab 9-3 EV - a black beauty, as the journalist from Ebilen i Sverige writes - is still at the charging station. NEVS press officer Mikael Östlund and Anders Björnberg, EV project manager, welcome the guest.

Before the test drive Anders Björnberg explains the technique. The powertrain is supplied by American AC Propulsion, as well as the engine, inverter and the complete electronics package. The engine has 150 KW (204 PS), but is currently limited to 100 KW (136 PS). The adaptation of the vehicle to higher power is being worked on.

A different drive train will be used in series production; the batteries in the prototype are air-cooled. You will get water cooling later in the series. Work is still being carried out on recuperation, the recovery of energy during braking.

The Saab 9-3 EV prototype includes an 37 kWh battery, in the later series version a stronger battery will be used. The batteries will have the same dimensions as the component now used, but will have a higher energy density. The batteries are to be delivered from China, from a factory owned by NEVS founder Kai Johan Jiang. The range of the Saab 9-3 EV will then be 300 kilometers.

The gear selection is made using buttons in the familiar PRND scheme. The use of the gear lever from the 9-3 Aero did not work as desired. The keys that we saw in the prototype will not go into production either. There is supposed to be another solution, the dashboard will also be adapted to the requirements of an electric car.

Orio AB works with NEVS; Documentation, diagnostic tool, service technician training will be supplied by Nyköping in the future.

Now it's off to the test drive, on the 2.3 kilometers long course at the factory, the visitors can not see. The course begins with two sharp turns, limited to 70 Km / h, followed by a long straight, followed by the Velodrome. You could drive this passage with 120 Km / h.

The launch of the Saab 9-3 EV prototype is undramatic and a bit tough. In other words: the start-up mode is not finished yet. On the straight it goes with 120 Km / h, in Velodrom in the first pass not yet quite in this speed, but almost. The second passage then runs faster.

The car is very quiet, here the author can draw a direct comparison to the Tesla S. In the Saab it is quieter at any speed than in the Tesla, there is no driving noise to hear, only a slight noise. The Tesla develops significantly more noise, even because of the high-speed tires. The Saab rolls on the usual tires, only with the series will use low-friction tires.

The brakes are very well adjusted and the deceleration is quick. After the first few laps and a somewhat “tough” start, it's really fun to drive the car. 0-100 is done in 1.800 seconds by the 10 kilogram car. The goal is 8.5 seconds if the cooling of the motor and battery are modified accordingly.

The Saab 9-3 EV, writes “Ebilen i Sverige”, still has a long way to go. But it could become something “really big”. Despite the shortage of money and the stoppage of production, development was pushed ahead. The car feels solid, responds well to all maneuvers, brakes well. A serial production, not this year, but is conceivable in the near future, writes the author and hopes that it is not wishful thinking. And: "We are keeping our fingers crossed that the economic problems will be solved as soon as possible".

Our Swedish readers can read the original article on “Ebilen i Sverige”. Following the test drive, Mikael Östlund confirmed that the series version with improved batteries will have a range of 300 km.

The Saab 9-3 EV can be recharged on a fast charger to European CCS standard, and NEVS promises a reasonable price for the first electric car from Trollhättan.

Two thoughts from me - in conclusion: an electric car is more than batteries, software and an electric motor. The old-fashioned art of building a body and a good chassis is underestimated. Trollhättan has experience in these matters, how else could it be explained that the Saab 9-3 EV rolls more quietly than the Tesla S?

And there's potential in the Saab 9-3 EV prototype. The premiere a few weeks ago was certainly not completely happy, but it depends on the inner values. Everything seems to be in the green zone. With air up. It would be nice if the electrical options were not just dreams. But soon reality.

Source: ebile i sverige / Pictures: nevs

Translation and notes:

10 thoughts on "Saab 9-3 EV test drive"

  • Brave from NEVS to compete publicly with Tesla!
    That a body that is “getting on in years” is not necessarily a disadvantage: BRAVO SAAB! The “inner values” still have potential upwards! And then it shows IF there should be an EL-SAAB that this will still take .... I think it's remarkable that the development is still taking place despite financial bottlenecks! NEVS doesn't want to give up / go under.
    But it also shows what immense financial needs are needed !!! May the present sessions be crowned with SAAB's survival of long-term success!

  • I have to take my hat off to NEVS, to do press work in this difficult situation and to develop it further. Absolutely - hats off, for me this is a strong signal of a strong will to survive. Thanks again to Tom, who is definitely not a NEVS fan, and who has the time and is so fair to translate the article for us 🙂

    • Hats off to NEVS’s press work ... but the spirits split 😉

  • Nice
    I want one!

  • Thank you for the Translation. Even if it is just a prototype, I now understand the NEVS field presentation even less.
    “… A different drive train will be used in series production… batteries… later in series production will be water-cooled. Work is still being carried out on recuperation, the recovery of energy during braking. ...
    ... a more powerful battery will be used in the later series version. ...
    ... the dashboard is also adapted to the requirements of an electric car. ...
    ... In other words: the approach mode is not yet fully developed. … ”
    All this sounds to me rather after a very long way, before whoever under whatever name could always incorporate the results in a production wherever.

    • The article transports two important messages for NEVS. You have to know them to understand the motivation. A few days ago, the Swedish press that NEVS had stopped all development work in December 2013. Where the message came from is unclear. That is not true, NEVS continues to develop, despite a shortage of money. See article.
      And of course the reference to Tesla. If the prototype is quieter than the highly acclaimed Tesla S, with an “old” body shape, then look - we have potential for a lot more.

      • Ah ok. The first point passed me by, thank you.

      • So this logic is not completely open to me now. Just because the Tesla is louder (which I would like to have otherwise proved with readings) as the Saab prototype, the production version will then be better in all respects or equal to?
        Maybe he is only quieter and in the chapter "el. Drive "worse than the Tesla. But what is more important for an e-vehicle?

        After all, the 8,5s and 300km are already almost at Tesla level

  • Tuning and roadholding seem good, I call that good news

  • Well, there are various kits for e-cars even for the Beetle. The results don't seem worse ... take a chassis and add something electrical ... I hope Mahindra has other ideas 🙂

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