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Saab Adds BioPower To Entire 9-3 Range; Engine Optimized for E85

2 March 2007

Bp93
Power and torque curves for the new BioPower 1.8t. Click to enlarge.

Saab will introduce flex-fuel options to its entire 9-3 range, including Sport Sedan, SportCombi and Convertible bodystyles, at the Geneva auto show. With this introduction, Saab will offer BioPower variants throughout its core product line-up.

The new 9-3 BioPower turbocharged 1.8t engine delivers 17% more maximum power (175 hp/129 kW v 150 hp/111 kW) and 10% more torque (265 v 240 Nm) running on E85 than on gasoline. In the 9-3 Sport Sedan, that translates to projected zero to 100 kph acceleration in 8.4 sec and 80 to 120 kph in fifth gear in 13.9 sec, compared to 9.5 sec and 15.0 sec, respectively, on gasoline.

E85 has a higher octane rating (104 RON) than gasoline (95 RON), and turbocharging with Saab BioPower allows the use of a higher boost pressure and more advanced ignition timing than is possible with gasoline.

This gives more engine power, without risk of pre-detonation (knocking). A naturally-aspirated flex-fuel engine has only a fixed compression ratio and cannot realize the true performance potential of bioethanol fuel.

Saab’s 32-bit Trionic 8 engine management system controls the throttle setting, ignition timing, fuel injection, air mass and turbo boost pressure. It is a platform that has facilitated software re-programming to accommodate the different ignition timing and fuel/air mixture requirements of E85. The only hardware modifications necessary to the all-aluminum Saab 9-3 engine are the fitment of more durable valves and valve seats.

9-3 BioPower
GasolineE85
Power 150 hp (111 kW)
@ 5,500 rpm
175 hp (129 kW)
@5,500 rpm
Peak torque 240 Nm (177 lb-ft)
@2,000-3,500 rpm
265 Nm (195 lb-ft)
@2,500-4,000 rpm
Max boost pressure 0.48 bar 0.55 bar
Fuel consumption (combined) 7.7 l/100km (man.)
8.5 l/100km (auto)
No certification figures available.

Saab is the biggest seller of flex-fuel cars in Europe. In Sweden, a growing network of more than 650 E85 fuel pumps is already established and a total of 800 pumps, covering 25% of the country’s filling stations, is targeted by the end of 2008.

E85 has already entered the market in Germany, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Switzerland, Holland and Belgium, with other countries expected to follow. And in France, the government has targeted the establishment of 500 pumps this year throughout the country.

March 2, 2007 in Ethanol | Permalink | Comments (27) | TrackBack (0)

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No gas mileage figures are given. One key question is, does this optimized E85 engine make up for the mpg penalty from using E85. On a 2007 Silverado 1500 2wd vehicle, the EPA penalty in gas mileage is 23.5%.

Also, the gas only SAAB 9-3 Sport Sedan 2.0T is rated at 210 hp. So, it appears this article fails to point out that you still may have a power penalty with an optimized E85 vs a gasoline E85. To just point out that an optimized E85 using E85 is better than the same engine using gasoline seems pretty meaningless.

While interesting, this article appears to have been written in such a way as to hide the performance and mpg penalties associated with E85, even if optimized.
Now, of course, the figures I have given for the 9-3 could be for the American version and the European version would paint a different picture. If so, I stand corrected.

E-85 having less energy per gallon or Liter should also give less mpg (or L/100Km) than gasoline. That's probably why it was intentionally left out.

Comparing MPG numbers across fuel types is totally meaningless, except wrt operating range on a full tank of the same volume.

Numerical comparisons of volumetric fuel consumption across different fuel types is totally misleading. There are meaningful ways to compare fuels, based on gravimetric energy density (for thermodynamic efficiency), on CO2 emissions (for global warming impact) or on $/mi (for cost of operation).

Comparing the performance of one and the same engine on gasoline vs. E85 does make sense for anyone interested in buying it. Saab's optimization means that filling this variant up on E85 makes it more fun to drive, which in addition to the warm fuzzies on how green you are, may compensate for the higher purchase price, the higher fuel cost per unit of energy and the shorter operating range.

If raw power is all you care about, a single fuel vehicles will likely give you better value for money.

I don't see how mpg is meaningless if one is comparing the per mile costs of gasoline vs e85. If I have to pay more for e85 and, on top of that, my miles per gallon of that fuel is less, then my cost per mile goes up. Do you really think the average consumer is going to be using your socalled meaningful ways to compare fuels when he/she is filling up at the gas station.

tom,

If they took the same engine and optimized it for Gasoline it would have less power than the E85 optimized engine. There is no performance penalty (only the mpg penalty).

Even if you took a car NOT optimized for E85 but turbocharged and you calibrated the fuel settings yourself (ignoring the ignition timing changes) you could still put down more horsepower than with the same engine running on gasoline.

Tom,

I think Rafael's point is that you need to know both the MPG of each fuel and the $/gal cost of each fuel in order to come up with the more meaningful $/mi measure. Just stating the MPG figure leaves the second half of the calculation to the imagination.

I know in a general sense that Sweden is heavily promoting E85, with the intent of producing it in large volumes from their relatively abundant forest biomass. This may lead to government policies which result in a significantly lower $/gal cost for E85 over gasoline... but since neither I nor the article have any specific information on this point, we are all left in the air. The point is that listing MPG without addressing the $/gal issue is incomplete and possibly misleading, if the audience has potential misconceptions regarding the relevant prices of each fuel (i.e. "If I have to pay more for e85," which may be very much not the case in Sweden).

"Also, the gas only SAAB 9-3 Sport Sedan 2.0T is rated at 210 hp. So, it appears this article fails to point out that you still may have a power penalty with an optimized E85 vs a gasoline E85"

Not a good comparison. The Euro spec 1.8 is more comperable to the 2003-2005 2.0t, which only had 175HP, due to it's lower boost pressure.


Hi All,

Sounds like they are probably putting on a electronically controlable variable waste gate pressure regulator. Then by ramp up the turbo pressure until the ping sensors go off, and then back down a little. Can easily know when to do this if they have an re-fuel sensor. Either a gas cap opening sensor, or a electronic fuel gauge.

Its unfortunate they do not give any BSFC curves for the two fuels.


BSFC is always lower on a turbocharged engine.

So undoubtedly, running higher boost with E85 which it's self has a horrible BSFC... the BSFC is probably pretty wreched, I'd wager near .8 or worse.

Checking Saab.com the "1.8L" motor is actually ~2L. I have a 03 93 2t, its mileage varies between 24&34(28 avg) on the usual E10. Mileage is better with higher octane. Ive heard E85s get 20-25. Although the 7.7L/Ckm mentioned is about 35 mpg.
Btw also have a 03 TiD that gets 34-46(40avg)mpg on the usual B~10.

Hi everybody,
no doubt that ethanol has less energy content per litre, but since most of the energy is converted in heat and not necessarily in power for the engine. Still, fuel consumption is higher. In addition to environmental reasons, a higher fuel consumption from renewable sources is still better than burning oil - even for local industries. To catch consumer interest you must compensate the higher fuel consumption with lower prices at the gas station which means lower taxes. Example Sweden: Gas sell for 97p while E85 is 53p. Regardless of the exchange rate you talk a discount of 40%. You can easily compensate the extra consumption.

Michael

There is a 1.8
There is no "official test cycle" for E85 fuel economy.
That is why it is not quoted.
For what its worth, this is great performance for a 1.8 liter engine running only .5 bar of boost. The classic 2.0 liter engine made 160hp at about 1 bar.

From the saab global site: (http://www.saab.com/main/GLOBAL/en/dyc/93_S/step2.shtml)
Linear 1.8i 122hp Learn more...
Linear 1.8i 122hp Anniversary Learn more...
Linear 1.8t 150hp Learn more...
Linear 1.8t 150hp Anniversary Learn more...
Linear 1.8t BioPower 175hp Learn more...
Linear 1.9 TiD 120hp Learn more...
Linear 1.9 TiD 120hp Anniversary Learn more...
Linear 1.9 TiD 150hp Learn more...
Linear 1.9 TiD 150hp Anniversary Learn more...
Linear 2.0t 175hp Learn more...
Linear 2.0t 175hp Anniversary Learn more...
E85/Petrol engine: Four-cylinder in-line, Aluminium cylinder head and block. Turbocharger, intercooled. DOHC, 16-valve. Balancer shafts

Ignition/Fuel injection: Saab Trionic 8 engine management. Direct ignition. Multi-point fuel injection.
Displacement (dm3): 1,998
Bore/Stroke (mm): 86 / 86
Compression ratio: 9.5:1
Max boost pressure (bar): 0.5
Max. Power (E85): 129 kW (175 hp) at 5500 r/min
Max. Torque (E85): 265 Nm @ 2000 - 3500 r/min
Recommended fuel: E85 or Petrol octane 95 (min. 91)
Top speed (km/h) (E85): Manual 5-speed (M5) 220; Automatic 5-speed (A5) 220
0-100 km/h (E85): M5 8.4; A5 9.4
60-100 km/h fourth gear (E85): M5 8.9
80-120 km/h fifth gear (E85): M5 13.9
Fuel consumption (l/100 km)*: M5 10.5/6.0/7.7; A5 11.9/6.5/8.5
CO2 emissions (g/km): M5 246/144/183; A5 285/157/205

*City/highway/Combined driving cycle, according to the 1999/100 EC directive. There are no official fuel certification for E85. Therefore the figures is based on petrol consumption. E85 consumes around 30% more fuel than petrol. Regarding CO2 emissions, E85 reduces fossil carbon dioxide up to 80%.

Ash -

it is true that a turbocharged gasoline engine has to designed with a slightly lower internal compression ratio (e.g. 9.5-10 instead of 11-11.5) to avoid engine knock. Since the thermodynamic efficiency of the Otto cycle is related to this ratio, this is undesirable. Moreover, near rated power the mixture has to be enriched to avoid damaging the turbocharger.

However, that is not the whole story, for three reasons:

First, boosting an engine means you can deliver the required power with a lighter power plant featuring lower displacement (aka downsizing). There are secondary weight savings in the engine points, suspension, firewall etc. Reducing vehicle weight improves performance or fuel consumption, depending on the design priority.

Second, the fuel economy of a *vehicle* depends not only on the BSFC map of the engine but critically on its duty cycle as well. Passenger cars are almost never operated at rated power, so one with a t/c gasoline engine almost never has to be run rich. Diesels run lean even at nominal power so their exhaust gas is cooler, permitting the use of efficient variable geometry turbos without a water jacket and made from non-exotic materials.

Third, any real drivetrain will not get close to the theoretical efficiency anyhow because of fluid dynamic losses during gas exchange, imperfect combustion, heat transfer to the coolant, friction in the crank train and its peripherals and friction in the transmission.

If the engine and turbocharger are designed primarily to deliver low-end torque rather than increase rated power, all of these losses can be reduced by letting the engine run at lower RPM by using longer gear ratios (aka downspeeding).

The sum total of these advantages overcompensates for the lower theoretical efficiency discussed above, so a vehicle with a turbocharged engine *should* feature better fuel economy than one with a naturally aspirated one. Indeed, this is the case with many recent European designs.

In the US, turbochargers are apparently still thought of primarily as a way to increase rated engine power.

"E85 reduces fossil carbon dioxide up to 80%." John Schreiber

Do you have a reference or an analysis that would demonstrate this. Assuming an EROEI of 1.3 to 1, which is the consensus figure usually given, how is it that we get an 80% reduction in fossil carbon dioxide? What is the more likely reduction in the real world, not the maximum reduction based on best case scenarios which may or may not occur in the future?

One also needs to consider that many of the ethnanol plants being planned will use coal for ethanol. processing.

"E85 reduces fossil carbon dioxide up to 80%." John Schreiber

Making ethanol from grass (grass being much more productive per acre than corn, BTW) will remove last year's CO2 emissions from the air within one growing season. So, the only CO2 added to the atmosphere would be from fossil fuels used in transport, production and processing of ethanol. Crude oil, BTW, also uses intensive transport, production and processing infrastructure that uses fossil fuels. Doh!

"All else being equal", E85 would cut CO2 emissions by 85% when measured over 12 months time. When measured at the end of a 5 month growing season, CO2 will appear to have dropped about 204%. This means that global warming will be reduced most dramatically in late Summer and early Autumn (or whenever the second half of the growing season occurs).

This depends on the added miles people drive during Summer. That figure of 204% might drop to something a little less amazing, like 180%.

But, every number here is way better than burning 500 million years worth of fossil fuels in 500 years time.

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