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

Now it starts again! In the Swedish press they talk about the electric Saab from China, which can now be ordered. It's hard to take for true friends of the brand. Pure rubbish, as one would say in Bavaria. Because the NEVS EV has nothing to do with Saab. 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 apparently fixed things. I remember my Saab 9-5 station wagon. He was also an aging diva, the chrome glasses were optically a touch too heavily made up. But the technology more than made up for it. A biopower engine that could be driven with ethanol. Which brought more torque and horsepower with vegetable fuel than with fossil energy. Environmentally friendly refueling rewarded with more driving pleasure. Only Saab did that. I liked the concept and laid out my routes so that E85 could be refueled 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

Compared to Saab conditions, the NEVS electric car has become a very conventional thing. More than 6 years of maturity to fix batteries to the underbody and to slightly revise the cockpit is a lot. You look in vain for innovations and lateral thinking. The NEVS 9-3 EV stands for a conventional design that can be found in countless startups in China. So, if it really should be an electric car, I prefer to buy the original. It says Tesla and the number 3 on it, and it's coming to Europe soon.

The NEVS 9-3 EV is neither better nor more innovative due to the fact that the manufacturer speaks of a Phoenix platform. NEVS is of course free to stick any label on its product. In truth, under the electric car is the heavily modified base of the Saab 9-3 from 2003. Saab and Phoenix, however, stood for modularity and innovation. A concept for the future, the basic idea of ​​which wandered with the development team from Trollhättan to Gothenburg. There it became a reality. Today it bears the name CMA Platform and forms the basis for new models from Volvo, Lynk & Co, and maybe soon 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 meets an aging platform from which something can be conjured up. You know that from Saab, wherever improvised. A typical child of this need is the Saab 90. A Saab 900 at the back, a Saab 99 at the front. Born of lack - and because a cheap entry-level solution was needed for the Scandinavian market. Not state-of-the-art because the short stem did not meet American safety guidelines. 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 the presses existed and the investments were manageable, the Saab 90 was born ... like this electric car from NEVS. It's 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 on "No, that's not Saab! Or is it?"

  • 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.

  • 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 😉

  • The photos of the NEVS electric vehicle show that the ladies and gentlemen “designers” did not understand the function of certain components on the 9-3 and “painted” something that should now be tinkered ... Example: Front bumper with huge “lip ”, Which will surely have frequent contact with the ground. No it has nothing to do with SAAB ...

    • Why the 'huge lip' should now have more ground contact than the counterpart of the 9-3 does not reveal to me, since it apparently does not really sit deeper. My assumption is rather that it is due to pedestrian protection in order to get rotation in the test body early in the event of a leg impact and to keep the knee deformation within the permitted range. If so, it is more likely a toad that the ladies and gentlemen designers had to swallow grudgingly ...

      • Touching the ground or even with high curbs and curbs when parking. Does not matter. I can understand the argument that vehicle overhangs at the level of the floor pan can be critical ...

        Your argument, however, too. It would be exciting to know whether “only” a toad was swallowed here or whether the NEVZ designers 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 descends further and extends to twice its length. The rear spoiler is added from 30 km / h. Better safe than sorry! After all, it's a light and fast car. Form follows function ...

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

      • Don't you worry Mr. T. ...

        NEVZ will not ship to Europe. Once production has and if production gets started, you will have all the NEVZ you want to yourself. I hope your comment (and thumbs) are payed well. Otherwise you couldn't afford just a single one of them ...

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

  • Dear Saabgemeinde.

    After a few - well researched and well written - contributions to NEVS, I can't help but 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 the holy name on revised Rextons, Korrandos etc ......?
    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

  • Written very well! And entertaining too. I recognize myself immediately when planning a route for a BioPower. In view of the thin network of E85, my actions and actions were not always rational, but as long as one believed in the future viability of E85, the ratio was replaced by idealism ...

    Otherwise, I notice how far Tom had to page back in the model history of SAAB to find and create an analogy to NEVZ ...

    The 96 was in production until 1980 and still powered by “foreign” engines. Produced 34 years ago (from 1984), the SAAB 90 almost falls into the category of children's shoes. And after a completely atypical short production time 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • In summary, NEVZ's information policy consists of few words and astonishingly much hot air ...

      In one point, however, NEVZ has been refreshingly open and honest in recent years: The car is built in and for China. And just for China plus maybe the "breakaway 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 doesn't matter whether we express ourselves “incompetently” about a Chinese EV or competently speak of a “stable” SAAB 20.0000-9 EV available in Germany for € 3 ...

      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 tried to get the brand name SAAB - and in vain. The sentence Franken Trolls, “NEVZ would certainly be very happy if you were SAAB”, cannot be so wrong that you have to accuse him of 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, in the midst of the Trabant, MZ, IFA and Wartburg, one saw again and again cars that seemed strangely familiar ...

          They were derivatives and license builds from old and small Fiats and Renault. People didn't turn to these cars because they thought they'd just met the spearhead of automotive engineering, but because they were irritated by minor visual changes and the “wrong” brand names on old and well-known 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 the Tesla crash don't always look encouraging either, I have the Model S with the roof torn off in front of my eyes ... ... the 9-5NG looked better under the truck, even my 9-7x Crash with two horses. With the three-in-a-row we have to wait and see how things develop.

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

      Fortunately, they all have a timeless design and can run for a long time, that's why I wait for the development, take care of my SAABe and am happy about the question of whether SAAB is producing again,…. when I show up with the 9-5NG 😉

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


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