Saab 9-5 to get hybrid assist?

It’s kind of an open secret that Saab have been studying hybrid technology alongside certain Swedish institutes of higher learning. I’d not heard that any hybid systems were ready for extremely near-term release, but perhaps Autocar have heard differently:

Saab is planning to introduce a hybrid assist system on its new 9-5, using a small petrol engine backed up by an electric motor in a bid to cut fuel consumption and emissions.
The Swedish company is developing a 9-5 with a turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine. This unit will be assisted during periods of acceleration by an electric motor sandwiched between the engine and transmission…..
….The big advantage of an electric motor is that it offers high levels of torque from idle. In the Saab the electric motor will come on stream when the driver is pulling away or accelerating.
However, when the car is cruising the 120bhp 1.4-litre engine has more than adequate power on its own.

Saab’ previous release information about the 2010 Saab 9-5 did not include any information about this, nor even a hint that it might be coming. It may be something that they’re either keeping up their sleeve in order to make a bigger splash in Frankfurt, or it may be something for 2011 or 2012.
My own brief enquiries made prior to this posting received a brief “closer than you think” but that’s no definite timeframe either. Autocar give no time frame for their revelation, so I guess it’ll be a matter of wait and see.
I guess the good news about this is that it’s just a small indication of what Saab might be capable of doing once the clamps come off the engineering department. For so long, they were tied to GM projects that in Saab terms, possibly could be considered as ending up inconsequential.
With the shackles off and in partnerships with other lean organisations, I have a feeling they’ll be able to do much more significant things.

Thanks to ‘None’ for the link!

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