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All-electric Saab 9-3 test fleet reportedly to launch in early 2011

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All-electric Saab 9-3 test fleet reportedly to launch in early 2011

by Autoblog Staff (RSS feed) on Aug 2nd 2010 at 6:32PM

During a media launch for the 2011 Saab 9-5, company executives revealed plans to introduce a test fleet of electric vehicles based on the upcoming 9-3. As Inside Line reports, Saab execs confirmed that the test fleet of EVs will roll out in early 2011 and will be deployed at various locations across the globe, including Saab's hometown of Trollhattan, Sweden.

Saab's "100 percent electric vehicle" test fleet is a joint effort between the automaker, lithium ion battery producer Boston-Power, electric propulsion systems manufacturer Electroengine and the Swedish Energy Authority. Saab Automobile AB managing director Jan Ake Jonsson said:

The main purpose is to draw technology from this test fleet, technology that we can then incorporate quickly. The key target short-term is to drive fuel consumption down. You can electrify certain portions of the vehicle.

When prodded about a target release date for a mass-production EV, Jonsson ducked out by stating:

Everybody is looking at that question. Nobody has an answer. It will take some time.

Without official word from Jonsson, we'll have to fall back on the previous comments of Saab's chief executive officer Victor Muller, who suggested that 2016 is the year the company will go for electrification.



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Saab Readies EV Test Fleet Based on Next 9-3

Published Jul 27, 2010

Just the Facts:

Saab will launch a test fleet of what it calls "100 percent electric vehicles" in the first quarter of 2011.

They will be based on the next Saab 9-3.

The EV fleet will roll out in various global locations.

NEW YORK — Saab's new management is getting ready to launch a test fleet of "100 percent electric vehicles" based on the next 9-3 in the first quarter of 2011, its top executives said during the media launch of the 2011 Saab 9-5 here on Tuesday. The EV fleet will be deployed at various global locations, including the company's headquarters in Trollhattan, Sweden.

The new 9-5 goes on sale in August.

The Saab EV test fleet will be launched in partnership with Massachusetts-based Boston-Power, a producer of lithium-ion batteries, and Electroengine, a Swedish company that says it has developed a new electric propulsion system that can adapt standard vehicles with internal-combustion engines to high-performance electric vehicles. Another partner is the Swedish Energy Authority.

"The main purpose is to draw technology from this test fleet, technology that we can then incorporate quickly" said Jan Ake Jonsson, CEO of Saab Automobile AB. "The key target short-term is to drive fuel consumption down. You can electrify certain portions of the vehicle."

When asked if 2016 is the target date for a Saab EV, as previously reported in Inside Line, Jonsson ducked the question.

"Everybody is looking at that question," he responded. "Nobody has an answer."

He said "it will take some time" because of the parameters, including "infrastructure and mindset of the consumer."

Jonsson indicated that Saab has made a commitment to alt-fuel vehicles, in part because of the demands of its lenders, including the European Investment Bank and the Swedish government. "All the vehicles that we develop in the future will have capability to utilize E85," he said. "They [will be] available for any market throughout the world."

When asked about biodiesel and diesel Saabs, he said: "That will also come."

Jonsson also said that "smaller-displacement, turbocharged engines will be the key as we go into the future."

He confirmed the launch plans for upcoming Saab vehicles during the press conference. The face-lifted 9-3 will launch in late 2010, followed by the 9-4X in April 2011. In July 2011, a wagon version of the 9-5 will launch. In 2012, a new 9-3 will hit the market. Saab aims at producing 120,000-125,000 vehicles per year globally. The U.S. will continue to be the biggest market for the Swedish automaker, accounting for 20-25 percent of total volume.

The acquisition of Saab by Spyker Cars also means a larger global dealer network for Spyker, said Victor Muller, chairman of Saab Automobile AB and CEO of Spyker Cars. "Saab will give tremendous impetus to the development of Spyker Cars," Muller said. "Spyker now taps into 1,100 dealers worldwide. If 5 percent of them would [sell Spyker vehicles], it would triple the Spyker dealer base. We will see 90 dealers based on the back of the cross-fertilization of Saab and Spyker. [but] there will never been a Saab Spyker or a Spyker Saab."

Muller said he is "proud to see Saab coming out of the ashes."

"We [built] 250 cars in one day last Friday," he noted. [but] we have no crazy projections for the future. We should become profitable by 2012. We should come back to the levels of the pre-crisis. We'll regain the hearts of consumers by demonstrating that Saab as an independent company can deliver on its promises.

Muller said a smaller Saab 92 is "the missing link in our product portfolio."

"We have a design, we have specifications," he said. "The only missing link is making the contract with a potential partner and how we are going to fund it. It's currently not in our business plan, but it has a compelling business case.

When Jonsson was asked about a Saab 9-5 coupe variant, he said it was not in the immediate future. "Our top priority is to see if we can incorporate the Saab 92 before any other variant," he said.



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By Mark Kleis

Top-level executives from Saab have confirmed that the Swedish automaker is in the process of finishing the final preparations for launching a fleet of electric vehicles during the first quarter of 2011.

The fleet of electric vehicles will be built on the platform for the upcoming redesigned Saab 9-3, and according to Inside Line, the electric 9-3 fleet will be deployed in various markets around the world.

Saab’s new electric vehicle testing fleet is being jointly developed with Boston-Power, which produces lithium-ion batteries in Boston, Massachusetts, as well as with Electroengine, a Swedish firm that is known for developing a unique electric propulsion system which can be adapted to combustion-powered vehicles and the Swedish Energy Authority.

Saab CEO, Jan Ake Jonsson, did not give any indication as to when the Swedish automaker hopes to bring an electric vehicle to market, but suggest only that it will take time. Jonsson also reiterated that Saab intends to continue utilizing small displacement engines combined with turbocharging technology in order to provide a sporty driving dynamic while offering competitive fuel economy.



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