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GM Introduces 400hp, E100 BioPower Concept Saab

The front-opening canopy on the Saab Aero X E100 concept

GM is unveiling the Saab Aero X two-seater sports coupé concept at the Geneva motor show. Taking design cues from Saab’s aviation heritage, the Aero X has no door or windshield pillars; the car adopts a cockpit canopy instead.

The Aero X features a new 400 hp (298 kW), twin-turbo, BioPower V6 engine that is fueled entirely by ethanol (E100), thereby offering net zero tank-to-wheel CO2 emissions.

With carbon fiber bodywork, electronically-controlled suspension and all-wheel drive, the Saab Aero X is projected to accelerate from zero to 100 kph in just 4.9 seconds with a top (limited) speed of 250 kph (155 mph).

Although optimized for E100, the engine management system will make adjustments for any gasoline-ethanol blend.

For optimum handling, the powertrain is mounted entirely behind the front axle line, giving the Aero X a near perfect 50/50 weight distribution. All-wheel-drive, with a variable torque split between the front and rear axles, provides excellent traction and Saab Active Chassis, with continuously variable damping, gives excellent real-life driving safety and control.

The 2.8-liter V6 E100 BioPower engine delivers 400 hp maximum power at 5,000 rpm and torque of 500 Nm between 2,000 and 5,000 rpm.

Pure ethanol (E100) fuel has a higher octane rating of 106 RON compared to gasoline’s 95 RON. Using a 12:1 compression ratio and twin turbochargers running at 1.0 bar boost, the Aero X BioPower engine delivers a hefty 143hp per liter displacement. Turbocharging with E100 fuel allows the use of a higher compression ratio—giving more engine power—than is possible with gasoline because of the risk of harmful knocking (pre-detonation).

The all-aluminum, 24-valve, four-cam engine is a higher-performance version of the current engine in the Saab 9-3 range. For the Aero X, the engine is longitudinally installed and features a Spark Ignited Direct Injection system (SIDI) for optimum combustion; variable inlet and exhaust cam phasing for improved breathing, and dry-sump lubrication for a lower chassis installation and reduced oil pumping losses. Both turbochargers have variable geometry turbine (VGT) wheels to give a quick low-end response.

More durable valves and valve seats are fitted, together with ethanol-compatible materials in the fuel system, including the tank, pump, lines and connectors. The addition of the SIDI system ensures the same cold starting performance as a normal gasoline engine.

The 32-bit engine management system simultaneously controls the ignition timing, fuel injection, turbo boost pressure, air mass measurement and the throttle setting. For minimized exhaust emissions, the two close-coupled catalysts are equipped with electronically controlled, secondary air injection, which gives extremely quick light-off following cold starts.

Turbocharging and bioethanol make excellent partners. In developing this BioPower V6 engine we have been able to take the next step by using E100 fuel, pure 100% bioethanol. That means there are zero fossil CO2 emissions because we are not using any gasoline at all.

—Kjell ac Bergström, Executive Director of Saab Automobile Powertrain AB

The 2.8-liter engine is matched to a seven-speed automated manual transmission using a wet double clutch system to allow fast, full throttle, sequential gear changes via the steering wheel paddles. Power is transmitted to all four wheels through a multi-plate clutch, allowing an infinitely variable front/rear torque split.

Suspension is by double wishbones at the front and an independent multi-link layout at the rear. Continuously adjustable damping (Saab Active Chassis) is adopted for enhanced body control, ride comfort and driving safety.

Saab Active Chassis involves processing signals from a number of on-board sensors which measure the vehicle’s vertical, lateral and body-in-roll movements. These inputs are fed into a central control unit, which monitors the behavior of each wheel as often as 100 times per second. It can then calculate and make small adjustments to the valving of each relevant damper as required in just 10-30 milliseconds. Opening the valve increases oil flow to allow softer damping, while closing the valve produces firmer damping. A range of pre-settings can be selected by the driver.



ethanol has 75% less "power" than gasoline. but benefits from a greater resistance to pinging (can withstand compression greater than gasoline). A vehicle usine 100% ethanol takes better advantage of ethanol attributes rather than 85% as in E85 to allow for running 87 octane and E85.

Google Ethaonl and Indy Car. Toyota is making a 500hp ethanol engine.



Hmmm, why are you all bashing GM for this? They did quite a nice job actually. Not even all 2.8L gasoline turbo engine get close to 400hp. And its a twin turbo option. As what they said its a concept car, perhaps to showcase what do we have when combine pure ethanol with twin turbo?

The next step is to op for a 500cc E100 twin turbo minicar.


An other point I would like to make, is that young boys don't dream of, and have posters of 1000mpg subsubsubcompacts on thier walls.

They have posters of exotic supercars, and muscle cars.

To generate excitment for alternative fuels you are going to have to actually generate excitment.

Obviously not everyone is going to afford, or choose, to buy a 400hp sports car... Not everyone buys the 500hp Corvette right now.

But people like to associate thier mondane vehicle with something that is exotic and exciting. That is one of the appeals of NASCAR "Hey I've got a Monte Carlo too!"

People want to think "Hey, my car runs on Ethanol, there's a 400hp version of this motor" Even if thier's is only 150hp.

So the strawman of 1/2ing the MPG and switching to E100 is even *more* ridiculous than it might at first seem to reasonable people. It isn't an either-or scenario. There will be, and ther will HAVE to be a wide array of vehicle types and market segments.

The world's energy problems won't be fixed by cramming everyone into an ideal mold with a shoehorn of insults and rhetoric.
But rather by getting people interested in viable alternatives.


Cutting the mpg in half was not a strawman. The point is that you still need to balance mpg with whatever oil savings there are from ethanol. In any event, it is still bogus that GM's total focus is on touting their low mileage trucks and SUVs by touting largely non existant E85 ethanol.


Got the still in the garage.

Where can I buy one.

No more $ to people that are trying to kill us.


You have to remember that we are indeed taking babysteps. Producing the E100 to fuel this car undoubtedly uses fossil fuels - right now. As E100 engines become more and more efficient and more diversified, the farm machinery and distillation process which may burn fossil fuels will be replaced and burn E100 themselves. Since gas prices may actually drop if E100 becomes the dominant energy source, farms and such will probably continue using gasoline for a longer time than the consumer - though overall, this isn't a problem.

E100 is a step in the right direction without a doubt. It gives us a renewable source of energy and will give us more time to develop better sources of energy. E100 will act as a stepping stone so that one day we do not have to rely on any type of liquid fuel.

Even if MPG is cut in half, like has been discussed, does it matter? E100 prices will remain steady, not increasing in price every month like gasoline does. E100 is also renewable, so that we can CREATE twice as much ethanol to make up for a halved mpg ratio. Though, realistically, we won't do this, it's still an option if companies see a higher profit in it.

Oh, as CJ pointed out, some of us may be able to brew our own gasoline at home as well.

Jack Murphy

ben said " Net zero co2 emissions? Not."

Try reading moron, the specs said "Zero tank to wheel C02 emissions." what that means is the car does not factor the C02 emissions during the creation of the ethanol in its testing results.

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Don't be so skeptical. It is easier to be skeptical than participate in environment that supports ideas. We should be applauding scientists in their efforts. Every step is a positive one. Stop being so negative.

making biodiesel

I totally agree! gr, remcowoudstra

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