With Saab genes. The Jaguar I Pace

Techno Classica 2019. The Jaguar-Land Rover appearance is more modest than usual this year. The company has to save, the party in the auto industry seems to be coming to an end. There are only two vehicles on display. The all-electric I-Pace and a classic.

Jaguar i pace
Jaguar I pace. Picture: JLR

"Your neighbor?" Asks a Jaguar employee as I look at the I-Pace. I refuse, however, friendly. "Then the classic? "As I fight back, he looks at me thoughtfully. And I have to tell him the story of the Saab DNA in the i pace. And that goes like this:

Saab and all-wheel, that has always been a special connection. Starting in early years with differential systems that should make Rally Saabs faster. About Sigvard Johansson, also known as Saab-Sigge, who dropped out of Stallbacka to found IPU AB. From the later became the all-wheel specialist Haldex.

It continued with the 9000 CS 4WDwhich unfortunately never came in series. To the incomparable Turbo X with the then brand new Haldex 4 systemPeter Johansson, son of Saab-Sigge, 2008 presented to the public.

In the spring of 2004, the topic of all-wheel drive came to Saab's attention. In addition to conventional four-wheel drive systems, electrical solutions were also researched at the latest from the year 2005. Even after the sale to Spyker, the development continued and peaked in September 2010. Saab founded American Axle Manufacturing (AAM) a joint venture for the development of electric all-wheel systems for electric and hybrid vehicles. Also on board at E-AAM was Peter Johansson.

As the first vehicle worldwide announced for 2013 Saab 9-3 successor should have an electric rear axle. For the well known reasons it never came, in December 2011 closed in the Saab factory the gates. As it looks forever. In 2012, AAM took over Saab's share in the joint venture, and E-AAM moved into the Innovatum with some 70 former Saab engineers. In its environment, in the Gunnar W. Andersson's Passage 25, the company is still at home today.

Saab Gene for Jaguar

The development of electrical 4 × 4 systems continued, in the year 2014 Jaguar Land Rover contacted AAM. The British manufacturer was looking for an electric four-wheel drive system for its first battery-electric vehicle - the Jaguar I-Pace. What the Swedes had in their portfolio was of interest to the British. Together with the former Saab engineers, they developed a compact drive unit ready for series production, which drives the front and rear wheels of the i Pace.

Jaguar is the first manufacturer in the world to use this technology originally designed by Saab. A second, European manufacturer will follow in the coming year. Its electric four-wheel drive system is based on the technology of E-AAM from Trollhättan. Jaguar has sold more than 2018 pieces of its first electric car worldwide since its premiere in the summer of 8.000. And in each one drives a small piece of Saab DNA.

Of course, JLR's friendly staff at Techno Classica did not know this story. And although he listened attentively, I doubt that she was interested in him. Why? Saab is a Swedish saga, the car industry has other worries.

Finally, the question remains as to what Peter Johansson, the son of Saab Sigge, is doing today. He remained 2014 at E-AAM until June. Then he moved back to the stablebacka. Like his father and his father-in-law before. He has been developing electric drives at NEVS ever since. Some sagas go on and on.

10 thoughts too "With Saab genes. The Jaguar I Pace"

  • This is a really nice and interesting story! I did not know that either.

  • I would never have suspected. It makes you a bit sad.

  • Besides Saab, Jaguar was the only brand that ever interested me. Initially, Saab was my company vehicle, later only Jaguar, while the Saab Cabrio is now private pleasure. My first Jaguar had a four-wheel drive and two failed transfer cases, the first damage also hit the main gear; That scared me off a bit, although I would have expected four-wheel competence due to its proximity to Land Rover. That was a development still from the Ford days of JLR; Saab could certainly help here 🙂

    I had even considered switching the XJ into a 9-5 NG, but the many miles on top of it and the danger of missing body parts in case of damage have deterred me so far.

    Nice that there is now even a starting point 🙂

    • There would have been almost another point of contact. Trollhättan was used as a location for production Jaguar talking.

  • It's great to see how the solutions that SAAB has developed today are more and more used in the big series (unfortunately) with other manufacturers.

    Thank you for the informative article!

  • The longer the end of SAAB, the more amazing I always find out how much technology and know-how of SAAB has been left over and developed further. It's one of those many stories where, in the end, you think you have to pick up all those companies and try, or should, try a re-launch of SAAB. Because these engineers are still on the market with SAAB's past.


    ... this post. Offensive in the positive sense of one or more thought-provoking ...

    It is astonishing that a single engineer can still create something of relevance today (Haldex).
    Great that Trollhättan is still a location for advanced automotive development and technology (including AAM & E-AAM).

    The world has become complex and complicated. The automotive industry is in transition. Hectic new ways are taken and some question mark at the side of the road or at the supposed finish line is thereby ignored by some manufacturers (or politicians) and hidden. At the same time, new niches are opening up for engineers, developers and visionaries. A domain in which Sweden is already traditionally comfortable ...

    Let's see what the future brings. In the meantime many thanks for the article and the food for thought.

  • I find it strong and admirable how Saab fought, worked and developed until the last day. Not you the production of the last Saabs, also they have been researching all-wheel-drive technology.

  • Krass, this story!
    Impressive that "a few engineers" from Sweden have pushed the all-wheel technology so ... and are still up to date today! And again and again the trail leads to SAAB ...

  • Always impressive - this insider knowledge. Thanks for that.
    A pleasure to read here almost every day.

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