GM has brought UK-sourced Saab 9-5 BioPower flex-fuel vehicles to Australia to gauge interest in ethanol-powered vehicles in Australia in a trial that began this week.
Saab Australia is placing the vehicles with the fleets of the Queensland Government and ethanol producers such as the Manildra Group, as well as with the media. E85 is not available widely in Australia, but the Manildra Group is providing the 85% ethanol blend fuel for the trial.
(The Manildra Group is also testing internally a bi-fuel converter for E85 applications.)
Anecdotally we have had extremely positive feedback to our plans to sell BioPower in Australia. Visitors to our stand at the Australian International Motor Show expressed a willingness to invest in BioPower despite E85 not being available yet and we have been contacted by a number of ethanol producers who can’t wait to get their hands on the vehicles.—Parveen Batish, Director Saab Australia and New Zealand
A best-seller in Sweden, BioPower has also been launched across Europe, including the UK, Ireland, Germany, France and Norway, and will be introduced to Spain this year. (Earlier post.)
Saab currently offers BioPower versions of its turbocharged four-cylinder 2.3 and 2.0 liter engines. (Earlier post.) The vehicles being used for the Australian trial are BioPower 2.0t vehicles.
Saab has also just introduced its diesels to Australia with the addition of the 9-3 1.9-liter TiD vehicles. The common rail 1.9-liter turbo diesel engine will initially appear in the 9-3 Sport Sedan and SportCombi, but Saab says it is also considering the introduction of a diesel version of its 9-3 Convertible. (Earlier post.)