No, that's not Saab! Or is it?

Now it starts again! In the Swedish press they are fabulizing about the Electro-Saab from China, which can now be ordered. For real friends of the brand, this is hard to bear. Reiner Schmarrn, as one would say in Bavaria. Because with Saab the NEVS EV has nothing to do. Or maybe yes?

NEVS 9-3 EV in Hangzhou
NEVS 9-3 EV in Hangzhou. Picture: NEVS

The EV may remind the viewer of an aging diva that has had its best moments long ago. For her appearance in front of a large audience, she is again heavily made up. And that's how the design affects me. It just does not fit, all a mélange of old and new. But that's not what it's all about. The assessment of a design is inevitably subjective. And you can argue about that endlessly.

A Swedish journalist wrote a few days ago that he misses Saab. And that he wonders what would have occurred to the developers in Trollhättan on autonomous driving. I feel the same way. Because I wonder what an electric car from Saab would have looked like.

The art of lateral thinking

Saab was always different. Lateral thinkers who were not afraid to redefine seemingly fixed things. I remember my Saab 9-5 station wagon. He, too, was an aging diva, the chrome-rimmed glasses visually a touch too heavily made up. But technology more than made up for that. A Biopower engine that you could drive with ethanol. He brought more torque and horsepower with plant spirit than with fossil energy. Environmentally friendly refueling rewarded with more driving pleasure. That was only possible with Saab. I liked the concept and laid out my routes so that E85 could be fueled as often as possible.

Saab 9-3 e-Power 2011. The real Saab electric car
Saab 9-3 e-Power 2011. The real Saab electric car. Image: Saab Automobile AB / Archive

The genuine Saab 9-3 electric car, which was made as a small fleet of handmade 2010 and 11, was also in the tradition of lateral thinking. The batteries in the center tunnel were cooled by the air conditioning. An idea that is as simple as it is ingenious. No additional cooling system, less energy consumption, reduced weight. Achieve more range with smaller batteries. I have no prognosis as to whether the concept would prevail on the market. We will never know either, because the project ended with the end of Saab. The developers of the real electric car from Saab had never had anything to do with NEVS. They did not leave Stallbacka in the best of terms.

A phoenix that is not a phoenix

Measured by Saab ratios, the NEVS electric car has become a very conventional thing. More than 6 years of maturation to fix batteries to the underbody and lightly overwork the cockpit are plenty. Innovations, lateral thinking are sought in vain. The NEVS 9-3 EV stands for a conventional design that can be found in countless startups in China. Since I buy, if it should necessarily be an electric car, but rather the original. There is Tesla and the number 3 on it, and soon it comes to Europe.

Neither better nor more innovative is the NEVS 9-3 EV by the fact that the manufacturer speaks of a Phoenix platform. Of course, NEVS is free to stick any label to its product. In fact, under the electric car is the heavily modified base of the Saab 9-3 2003. But Saab and Phoenix stood for modularity and innovation. A concept for the future, the basic idea of ​​which went with the development team from Trollhättan to Gothenburg. It became reality there. It carries the name CMA platform today and forms the basis for new models from Volvo, Lynk & Co and soon perhaps also from Lotus.

Maybe it's typical Saab

If you are honest with yourself, then the NEVS electric car was born out of necessity. Too little money hits an aging platform that makes you magic. This is known from Saab, where it was always improvised. A typical child of this need is the Saab 90. Behind a Saab 900, in front a Saab 99. Born of the lack - and because you needed a cheap entry-level solution for the Scandinavian market. Not state-of-the-art because the short stem did not meet American safety standards. But workable for Europe.

Saab 90. A compromise born of necessity
Saab 90. A compromise born of necessity. Image: Saab Automobile AB / Archive:

And because the tools and presses existed and the investments were manageable, the Saab 90 was born ... like this electric car from NEVS. This is cheap because you can use up tools. A hybrid of an old Saab 9-3 and an electric car. But maybe a building block that could become something.

23 thoughts too "No, that's not Saab! Or is it?"

  • NEVZ would be very happy if you were SAAB. Then you would at least be someone. That's the way nobody is.

  • Such comments like this are just incompetent. NEVS got the license for e-car construction in China. This is worth gold. Once the factory in China is ready and the first 9-3 roll off the line, you should judge the final product. Everything else is coffee grounds reading.
    I prefer a stably built NEVS 9-3 as an e-car rather than the many small unsafe electric minis that are currently being shown everywhere. Do you want to have a crash in those times? Tesla plays in my opinion in another price league.

    • NEVZ's information policy consists of a few words and a surprisingly high amount of hot air ...

      In one point, NEVZ has been refreshingly open and honest in recent years: the car is being built in and for China. And only for China plus maybe the "renegade provinces" ...

      If NEVZ ever says something and there is no good reason to assume the opposite, why not take NEVZ by the word?

      Against this background, it does not matter if we express ourselves "incompetently" to a Chinese EV or if we are competent in describing a "stably built" SAAB 20.0000-9 EV available for 3 € in Germany ...

      NEVZ has long since made it clear and honest that we are not part of the target group at all and are not part of the desired market. So why should SAAB drivers continue to worry about NEVZ?

      • It's not about the fortune or the fact that we can not buy this NEVS 9-3 in Germany anyway.
        It is important to note that NEVS will manage to launch the 9-3 e-car. Although only in China, but this market is the most important at the moment.

        And I am already pleased that our good old 2003er model from SAAB had such good genes to be in 2019 basis for a current e-car. A SAAB is just timeless.

        • So well and nicely explained, I can even sympathize with your satisfaction.

          But I also understand when you are less frugal and less enthusiastic. We all know that NEVZ has endeavored to achieve the brand name SAAB - in vain. So wrong can the sentence Trolls Franc, "NEVZ would certainly be quite happy if you SAAB would be," so not be that you would accuse him incompetence.

          The now 4. or 5. 9-3's life, its Chinese reincarnation as EV (which has not yet taken place but whose birth now seems to have begun) reminds me of the times of the cold war and the bloc states.
          In the German transit traffic one saw in the middle of Trabant, MZ, IFA and Wartburg again and again cars, which seemed strangely familiar ...

          It was derivatives and licensed buildings of old and small Fiat and Renault. It was not because of this that one turned around to these cars, because one believed that one had just met the spearhead of the automobile industry, but because one was irritated by small optical changes and the "wrong" brand name on old and well-believed boxes.

          I feel no satisfaction there and find it rather sad that the SAAB DNA follows this historical example. Of course, you are welcome to see it differently and more positively.

    • ... and the pictures of Tesla-Crash are not always encouraging either, the model S with torn roof is in my eyes ... .., because the 9-5NG looked better under the truck, even my 9-7x after Crash with two horses. We have to wait for the development in the threes.

      But in principle, criticism is justified ... .We see no innovation at NEVS, and also unjustified ... .., the "real" SAABs were often just zusammengefrickelt.

      Luckily they all have a one-time design and can deliver a long mileage, so I'm waiting for the development, taking care of my SAABe and looking forward to the question of whether SAAB is producing again .... when I show up with the 9-5NG 😉

  • The NEVS E-car is only the final use of a Saab. That's not all. If there's anything left we have to look. I do not believe that. Are they building cars or not? I do not think so.

  • Exactly, it is the final exploitation of a SAAB though from the year of the year 2002. But that's a very safe car. Unfortunately, this vehicle will not be available in Europe for now. Construction is expected to begin early 2019. Look for information on the page which also offer a lot of information.
    Of course, thanks to Tom and Mark, this blog is doing just as good a job as fresh information.

  • Very well written! And also entertaining. In the route planning for a BioPower I recognize myself immediately. Although my actions and actions were not always rational given the thin web of E85, so long as one believed in the future viability of E85, the ratio was replaced by idealism ...

    Apart from that, I notice how far Tom had to go back in the history of SAAB to find and produce an analogy to NEVZ ...

    The 96 was until after all 1980 in production and still driven by "foreign" engines. Produced before 34 years ago (starting at 1984), the SAAB 90 falls almost into the category of children's shoes. And after a production time that was uncharacteristically short for SAAB, it was history again.

    If the compromise formulas and its atypically short production period realized in the SAAB 90 represent the best or only possible analogy between NEVZ and SAAB, then this is not exactly flattering for NEVZ, is it?

    And I do not want to say anything against the SAAB 90. But it is not the case that a NEVZ EV will never come to Europe and its production period would be over already after 3 to 4 years, if the history of the 90 could prophetically be transferred to NEVZ. It has never been exported (to America), but was only for the domestic European market a short-lived interim solution.

  • Dear Saabgemeinde.

    After some - well researched and great written - contributions to NEVS I can not help but to share a few thoughts with you ... ..
    Would we have dealt so much with the subject, if SsangYong had bought the Saab trademark rights, and stuck to revised Rextons, Korrandos etc the holy name ......?
    Not at all.

    What NEVS does or does not have, I do not have anything to do with the Saab mind at all.
    Bad enough for NEVS to exploit the remnants of the 9-3 design. I wish that was nothing like that, then we would not have to experience the "Saabsterben" again and again.

    The brand is gone. Unfortunately forever. And it's up to us, them with our vehicles and activities
    to keep alive.

    After a pleasurable ride in 9000 CSE greet you

    The Lizi

  • It has saab dna and developed by Thn engineeers what more can you ask for?
    Long live nevs

    • "(...) what more can you ask for?"

      For a little more dignity and respect. Perhaps?

    • Yes I agree, they can buy other EVs, so there will NEVS.

      • Do not you worry Mr T. ...

        NEVZ does not want ship to Europe. Once production has started, you want to have all the NEVZ you want to yourself. I hope your comment (and thumbs) are paid well. Otherwise you just could not afford a single one of them ...

        • good, then we can get them from thn instead. I want one, too bad you will not.

  • If we take care of the rest of SAAB, then we have much to do. The Saab blog gives the necessary support .. What more do we want.

  • would be nice if NEVS could finally make something out of it

  • It can be seen from the photos of the NEVS electric vehicle that the ladies and gentlemen "designers" did not understand the function of certain components on the 9-3 and "painted" something to be tinkered with ... Example: front bumper with a huge "lip ", Which will certainly have frequent ground contact. No, it has nothing to do with SAAB ...

    • Why the 'mighty lip' should now have more ground touches than the equivalent of the 9-3 does not open up to me, since it evidently not really deeper. My guess is rather that it is due to pedestrian protection to get early in the leg impact rotation in the specimen and to keep the knee deformation within the permitted range. If so, it is more likely to be a toad that the ladies and gentlemen designers had to swallow with a grunt.

      • Ground contact or just with high board and curb stones when parking. Does not matter. I can understand the argument that vehicle overhangs at floor level can be critical ...

        Your argument, however, too. It would be exciting to know whether "only" a toad was swallowed or whether the NEVZ designer made concessions to the Chinese taste.

    • The photos show the car in park mode. In ride he looks much better.

      From 15 Km / h, the lip continues to lower and extends to twice the length. From 30 Km / h comes the rear spoiler. Better safe than sorry! It's finally a light and fast car. Form follows function ...

  • If price and specifications (range, performance, features, warranty, etc) are correct, I would buy the NEVS immediately! I just like the design because memories of SAAB are awakened 😉

  • you can probably assume that the car has been developed by acquired Saab engineers in Trollhättan, right? Whether it is built in China, and that for the Chinese market, is not so important, the main thing, something still takes place in Trollhättan. If the car sells well, something will eventually come to Europe.

    What causes me more abdominal pain is the use of a combustion platform for an electric car. That smells very bad to me, not enough, or not great, after a strong freak with batteries here and there, even in the trunk. Because a place for a few hundred kg of batteries, the car has not so easy.

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