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?
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.
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.
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.