June 2021. Frankfurt / Main Airport. The Saab 900 III EV stops at Terminal 1 AB. Shortly before boarding time ... my flight to Milan is in the schedule. While I'm rushing to Gate A1, my Saab takes off to Frankfurt without a passenger. The major service is due, cooling fluids for air conditioning and batteries have to be replaced.
My 900 III EV hatchback Griffin Edition is now 3 years old, it was one of the first all-electric Saabs to roll off the production line in Trollhättan. Back then, in 2018, Saabs could not yet drive fully autonomously. You had to bring your vehicle to the check-up yourself, which in retrospect was a waste of time. Thanks to a comprehensive, chargeable update from December 2020, the Saab drives fully autonomously and can pick up its owner at almost any location in Europe. If there is the necessary infrastructure there, because there are still large gaps in the southern crisis states of the Union.
A lot has happened worldwide since October 2016, when NEVS completely surprisingly bought back the license for the Saab brand name. With the money from the Bank of China behind them, Trollhättan invested in the comeback. One example is Frankfurt. In the newly built diagnosis center - the premises with their clean, high-gloss white floors and air-conditioned hangars are reminiscent of a design studio - Gérard Ratzmann's technicians in black will open my car with a temporary electronic key. You will do the service; the Saab will then leave Frankfurt autonomously and head for the airport. Choosing a parking space, temporarily storing cheap green electricity during the rest phase, waiting for me at the exit of Terminal 2 in the evening.
Right next to the diagnostic center are the newly built halls for classic Saabs. They are in the retro style of the 90er years, old burners are enjoying growing popularity. In addition to Kiel and Stuttgart, Frankfurt is one of 3's classic German centers, run by the manufacturer, who appreciates the profitable classic business.
The flight to Milan takes a good hour. In Malpensa a brand new Saab 91 EV Viggen is ready. Wow! The Viggen is new on the market, NEVS has revived the old names and paid for the Saab AB a lot of license fees. The delivery times are miserably long. The success is right for the Swedes with Chinese financiers. The waiting at counters of the car rental companies is a thing of the past. The NEVS server has compared my arrival time with that of the mobility service provider in Italy, the rental car is ready at the exit.
My smartphone transmits the electronic key, the Viggen opens without contact and reveals the replicas of the original Viggen seats and the interior. Since Volvo completely abandoned conventional keys for the first time in 2017, they have rapidly disappeared from the market. Today, 4 years later, being able to put a car key on the counter is a status symbol in certain circles. Porsche has been offering retro keys for months, Saab is considering doing the same - for a royal surcharge.
The 91 is air-conditioned to the desired temperature, knows my travel destinations, my daily schedule and projects my favorite cockpit into the interior. He drives fully autonomously on the autobahn, the toll is paid by app, and while he reads the latest e-mails to me, the area is becoming more and more rural.
Yes, that was the privacy issue. It was really a long time ago, but 2016 was upset ADAC on that of manufacturers parameters such as parking positions, occupancy of seats, speeds and accessed web pages are stored. This children's stuff is snow of the last ice age. 2021 displays advertisements in the displays, slows down shopping mall transit, subsidized EVs stop in front of Media Markets or American fast food restaurants.
Annoying, but that only affects owners of cheap Chinese-made electric cars who are literally pulling the plug on Opel and Ford. Alternatively, you can buy it freely from some manufacturers. Or you have, like me, the “Black Pilot Card” from Saab. This means that every Saab is free of advertising, you get all premium updates for free, and you can stream an unlimited volume of data. That costs quite a bit, normally. For me, as a Saab blogger, the “Black Pilot Card” is free. A nice gesture from the Swedes for the blog anniversary in February 2021.
I approach my goal. Between two villages, the area is now really rural, there is a short, free route with beautiful curves. Unfavorable that also there Tempo 50 is commanded. In old combustion times, I always gave gas, let the Saab Turbo fly. The Carabinieri, who are lurking for prey after the railroad crossing, should not have liked that. They regularly waved the red trowel, then discreetly disappeared behind the back when they recognized the German license.
This is Italy ... Tedesco? It's just trouble ...
Today, the 91 Viggen rolls past the bored law enforcement with accurate 50 kilometers per hour. The charm of the burning season has passed. Pity ! At the finish I have to search for a car for the electric car, the infrastructure in Italy is underdeveloped and unreliable outside the big cities. Also, the request of the vehicle via app should not be considered. It works in Milan, but not in the countryside.
Two hours later, the appointment is done, it's back to Milan. A friend from school days is waiting in his office on Viale Bligny. Short time for an espresso and a chat with a friend whom I unfortunately don't see often. The Saab is looking for a parking space, while I enjoy hospitality and Italian Dolce.
While we're talking, a message comes from Trollhättan. The beta version of the 1978 Saab 99 Turbo Emulation would be available for download. Wouldn't I like to test for the blog? I accept and release the software for my 900 III EV. While I request the Viggen rental car to continue my journey, I am already looking forward to the A3 at night and the journey south - with turbo and manual transmission emulation.
In Malpensa the 91 EV Viggen drives me to the departure terminal. In the past, the tour of Milan's city center and the motorway was a little adventure. Today you can drive, the cars choose the optimal route. Everything is much more relaxed, productive, but also boring. As a farewell I delete the electronic key and set the Safe Erase procedure in motion. A beta version, which is said to NEVS delete all user data reliable.
As expected, the flight to Frankfurt is going smoothly. My Saab 2 III EV hatchback is waiting at the exit of Terminal 900. The Saab 99 Turbo Emulation is already loaded. The turbo babbles casually when stationary. Am I mistaken, or does the interior smell very slightly of gasoline and burnt oil? Hmm ... I plan to ask NEVS.
Manual mode or autonomous, asks the virtual Saab pilot. I have to smile. Manually, of course. What else ? And with turbo whistles, Saab and blogger disappear in the mild summer night ...
Fiction & Reality: Of course, there is no Saab 91 EV Viggen, no Saab 900 III EV hatchback, no Black Pilot Card, no repurchase of the brand name. And NEVS would never let me test the beta version of the Saab 99 Turbo Emulation or the Safe Erase feature.
But there is the Milan suburb, the level crossing, the carabinieri and the casual behavior when a vehicle with German registration breaks the rules. Italy, in fact, the perfect charm of a country that doesn't want to be perfect at all. In all other things the article is pure fiction, expressly without any meaning, and solely due to the joy of writing.