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Opel, Saab developing hybrids; system could arrive

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By JASON STEIN | AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

GENEVA -- Saab and Opel are developing hybrid systems that will appear on a range of mainstream vehicles before 2010.

Hans Demant, Opel's managing director, did not say which vehicle is best suited for Opel's first hybrid -- but a car with a gasoline-electric powertrain is not far off.

"Before the end of the decade, you will see a hybrid application in an Opel," said Demant, during an interview at the Geneva auto show.

Saab Managing Director Jan-Ake Jonsson said a hybrid will likely appear on the next generation of its 9-3 and 9-5 vehicles.

"We are part of the development process," Jonsson said. "Eventually hybrids will be in Saab vehicles."

Jonsson said the development of a hybrid system, which Saab is currently working on at its research and development center in Sweden, makes sense for a brand that continually wants to separate itself as a leader in technology.

"It fits into the image of the brand," Jonsson said.

Although Jonsson would not give a timetable for a hybrid version of either vehicle, a Saab insider said a hybrid likely will arrive in Europe before the end of the decade.

The 9-5 is due to be replaced in 2007 and the next-generation 9-3 would arrive a year later.

"It makes sense on the 9-3 and a 9-5," Jonsson said. "We want to put it on something new that comes out; that way we can maximize the potential of the technology."

General Motors, which owns Saab and Opel, is developing a range of hybrid vehicles, which will be rolled out globally over the course of the next three years.

Demant also said it would be "absolutely no problem" for GM to equip a range of GM products with an ethanol-gasoline powertrain like the one used on Saab's 9-5 Bio-Power E85 vehicle.

http://autoweek.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?...001/1041/WEBLOG

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By JASON STEIN | AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

Demant also said it would be "absolutely no problem" for GM to equip a range of GM products with an ethanol-gasoline powertrain like the one used on Saab's 9-5 Bio-Power E85 vehicle.

http://autoweek.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?...001/1041/WEBLOG

Well, I watched an interesting show on oil on CNN, and apperantly Brazil is a few years away from being TOTALLY independant on any outside source of oil through their E100 program (through sugar cane). Now, hybrids are nice, but given the fact that the US government has to PAY farmers to not grow corn, well..........................

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The 9-5 is due to be replaced in 2007 and the next-generation 9-3 would arrive a year later.

That's way too optimistic.

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With the next gen Saturn Vue being based on an Opel (I forget the name of it), and with Saturn having the Greenline version, would Opel potentially get their own version of the Greenline? I assume the hybrids this article is referring to would be full hybrids, but still, I would think with the cost of fuel, even a mild hybrid setup like the Greenline would be valuable in Europe.

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