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Saab to Introduce E100 Flex-Fuel Hybrid Prototype

Saab will introduce a prototype of a flexible-fuel hybrid version of its 9-3 sedan at the Stockholm auto show next week according to a report in Sweden’s Dagens Industri.

Saab has been developing the hybrid—which can run on pure ethanol (E100) as well as blends—in conjunction with Lund Technical University in southern Sweden. The hybrid reportedly uses a 14kW motor for the front axle, and a 30kW motor on rear.

When running on E85, the hybrid will emit an estimated 15-20 grams net of COw, according to Saab.

Saab chief executive Jan-Ake Jonsson confirmed that the vehicle is in Saab’s production plan, but declined to specify a start date.

At the recent Geneva autoshow, Saab introduced the Aero X concept, a 400 hp (298 kW), twin-turbo, flexible-fuel sports car that can run on E100 as well as blends. (Earlier post.)


Rafael Seidl

Scroll down a little on this link for a pic. This is a compound hybrid AWD (parallel hybrid front axle, electric-only rear axle).

Note that GM's German subsidiary, Opel, is working on diesel hybrids. However, I suspect there is a much bigger market for its "monovalentplus" CNG offerings, because the German finance minister has guaranteed very low tax rate on the fuel through at least 2016. Opel optimizes for CNG but includes an emergency gasoline tank just in case - the distribution network is currently built up in Europe. Since the geometric compression ration is 12.5, switching to gasoline requires detuning the intake valve to avoid knocking, at the expense of power.


The professor at Lund university, Mats Alaküla, who created this car for Saab is currently working on plug-in hybrids.

He says: "The key to to this [plug-in hybrids] is battery technology and it is ready now."

Link (in Swedish):

In English:

Paul Berg

Why do i have a feeling that the really big car makers are dragging out the develepment of inviromentaly friendly wihecles....Whay do i find great similaraties with for exampele the high tech tv and audio biz, where they really are dragging the development just for making as much money as possible from each model and then start working on the next level of their tech speciality...I´m not critical of that way of working, thats smart buisniss...but in this field the situation on earth is critical and the latest technology must be released to the consumers as fast as possible. Therefore i give SAAB and VOLVO a big applause for suddenly becoming in the forefront in this great challenge. Reguards, Paul Berg, Västerås, Sweden

Rafael Seidl

I don't think it's fair to say that the big car makers don't want to produce environmentally friendly cars - it's just that many customers are still not willing to pay the neccessary premium for them. Note how GM spent a lot of money on the EV-1, only to have it bomb in the market. Same for the Audi's all-aluminium A2 etc.

Add to that excess production capacity worldwide and government regulations that favor specific technologies for political reasons and, you can see why a lot of apparently good ideas are never implemented in large series vehicles. Often you just have to wait for the right market conditions and/or innovations in supporting technology. Examples: hybrid powertrains, dual clutch transmissions, diesel particulate filters.

Meanwhile, incremental improvements to fuel economy are made in every generation of every engine family of every car manufacturer - typically in spite of increased torque and power. Over time, that small fry adds up.

In the US, improving fuel economy used to be on the back burner because the fuel is much cheaper there than in Europe or Japan. US consumers are individuals who like to brag about being early adopters. That's why it's all about sexy hybrids and E85 now, not strategies for improving the collective result.


>Note how GM spent a lot of money on
>the EV-1, only to have it bomb in the market.
EV-1 did not have Li Ion batteries. How about
pulling it out of storage and sticking some Li Ion
batteries in it?



In the US, improving fuel economy used to be on the back burner because the fuel is much cheaper there than in Europe or Japan.

Bad news for SUV making US auto makers. Toyota cant make enough Prius and GM is having another big sale. I think its about US corporate stupidity. Lets face it sales men run the companies. Sales men have no clue but can lie cheat and steal to take your money.
That is going to make the US a follower not a leader in the world. Go figure we used to be proud of our inovation. Now Japan can be proud they are leading the way in auto's. Toyota is going to be the number 1 car maker how is that going to feel and where does that leave the U.S.


The only way you get the automaker's attention (except Toyota and Honda, apparently), is to change the regulatory framework in which they operate. They are what they are and wishing they would become more "enlightened" get us nowhere.

GM thinks it is going to save itself with its "go yellow" campaign, which is completely focused on montster trucks. You can fool all the people some of the time, but they are only hastening their own demise. Wait until consumers find they're actually paying more money per mile because of the decreased gas mileage.

We have a corrupt and stupid American auto industry governed by a corrupt and stupid government. So what did we expect? Oh, and I almost forgot. Bush is going to save us all with hydrogen.

Toyota started their hybrid program before anyone was thinking about gas mileage. It's called planning ahead, not just planning for the next quarterly report. Ironically, their stock is en fuego, and GM is a favorite short.

Rafael Seild

I'm not familiar enough with Japanese legislation to say if Honda and Toyota really embarked on their respective hybrid programs voluntarily or not. California's ZEV legislation surely was a factor, as hybrids have not garnered significant market share in Japan proper.

What is probably fair to say is that GM and Ford underinvested in innovation for the smaller vehicle segments, because their historical obligations force them to operate as banks that also happen to build cars and trucks. GM just signed an expensive deal with the UAW and sold the real estate bit of GMAC for ~$9bn. That gives GM some breathing room, but it is becoming increasingly hard to come by.

Even Bob Lutz (VP Product Development) recently acknowledged that GM needs to better leverage the expertise of Daewoo and Opel in the US and China markets. As for Saab, Jerry York (a powerful new board member) reportedly wants it axed along with Hummer.

I hope the engineers involved in Saab's ethanol hybrid project well be kept on, though.



GM at a certain point looks more like a defunct car company than one that's competing in the global market. GM reminds me of British Rover: the now dead company slowly shed assets to pay liabilities, depleted capital and finally ended up closing its doors. GM thus far has sold its stake in Subaru, Suzuki, recently sold a stake in its GMAC crown jewel, restated the massive $ 10bn loss, and is now evaluating ways to shed its bloated workforce. The problem with the auto industry is that its a mature commodified industry; car makers end up looking like PC assemblers who have to live with the fact that they're selling branded clones that all run microsoft software and connect to a standadized internet.

As companies age (eg IBM) at a certain point they transform into dinosours that can hardly adapt to new trends. US politicians are more worried about jobs that GM preserves even when it doesn't make economic logic than GM's and the auto industry's future.


For all those praising SAAB for this concept and booing GM for not having something simular...

GM owns SAAB.

As for Toyota and Honda's development of hybrids, that was a push by Japan's government, not the oggdness of Toyota and Honda "thinking ahead". The Japanese government subsidized Honda and Toyotas hybrid research to a great degree, if I recall thier push started in 1991.


The comparing GM to IBM is striking. After seeing the its hardware business suffer from fierce competition at the hands of Dell and its ilk, IBM re-invented itself as a software, consulting and IT management firm. It even sold off its remaining hardware lines (laptop computers) to Lenovo, a Chinese firm.

If GM can leverage its engineering talents, overseas assets, brand-recognition and distribution network, by radically reorganizing its business model, it might stand a chance. Its massive retiree and UAW costs, however, may make that very difficult to achieve. I've long sold off all my GM stock.


THe EV-1 worked, I drove one. They did not die, they were killed by the right hand of GM while the left hand was trying to sell them. After the "proved" no one wanted them, the laid off workers in the program told all. THere were lists of people wanting them. I tried like crazy to get one. The salesman discouraged you at the dealers. They had home visits to ensure you would be a good parent, I was not adopting a child...
It took forever to get one. It was only sold in certain areas. If it was advertized 10% as well as the SUV's it would have sold just fine.
The reason you can not have one is they forcibly took them All back and then crushed them. They did sue some people for scratches on the cars when the leased units were turned it...
Owners offered the buyout valve on the lease of 24K and it was turned down. SOme offered the original price of 40Kplus.
Some people including a Baywatch actress were arrested trying to stop the cars from being sent to the crusher.
An EV-1 with a smaler battery and a small engine is a plug in hybrid electric vehicle, PHEV. It would be FAR more advanced then anything Toyota has like the prius.
GM refused money and arrested their customers let a 10 year jump on the Japanese go away. They deserve to go bankrupt.
There is a movie coming out in June or July, "who killed the electric car", it should be popular with our troops, if only they could be here to see it.


I just hope for the sake of our planet and humanity these cars, and hopefully something even better in the future, will be the norm. Better yet, be mandatory. I have little faith in policiticians and the population in general. I believe it is a positive that people can now see global warming actually happening with the melting of the glaciers, etc. Maybe there will be some real change when NYC starts getting flooded. Maybe this will scare the crap out of them (I'm already scared) as to the potential horrors that might, and probably do, still lie ahead. I just hope it is not too late. And, unbelievable as it is, no one seems to even know about global dimming which is masking the the true impact of global warming (link below). I also hope gas prices continue to go up, up, up since that is apparently the only thing that seems to initiate change and AS IF gas shouldn't be expensive! People in this country feel so entitled it make me sick sometimes. (I am a USA native myself, just an exception!) Fossil fuels are not only running out, but their emissions are killing our only planetary home, killing our troops in Iraq and elsewhere, the source of much corruption, and on and on and on...but it should stay cheap forever. Oh, but I forgot, the warming is just a 'natural cycling of the climate' and has nothing to do with humanity! Our gargantuan state of denial, apathy and ignorance is going to kill us all. Have a wonderful day! Save the humans!!!

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