Is the world getting CO₂ crazy??

All of a sudden the car industry is able to deliver cars that are fun to drive and have an incredible low CO2 emission. Who is behind this incredible improvement, the engineering department or the marketing department?

I can’t speak for every new ultra-low emissions sports car being build in the future, but at least one. I don’t know how Mr. Wüst came to this information (German original article), but If I were one of the committees that decide how the consumption of a car has to be measured, I would try to change the current standard as fast as I could to reflect the real consumption of hybrid cars.

Mr. Wüst in his article talks about the Porsche 918 Spyder. This car will have a 500hp V8 engine + 218hp from the e-motor, a high speed of 325 kph and a 0-100 value of 3,2 s but only emit 70g of CO2 in the european mixed cycle.

Is that possible? Yes it is, because Porsche (and anybody else) is allowed to run the test only on battery power, the car can run for 25 km on battery power. Afterwards the consumed current is transformed inequivalent petrol consumption.

And what is the relation to Saab, you may ask? Well there is no direct link, as there isn’t much information leaked about the next 9-3, but it made me think about the latest Volvo announcement, and the fact, that rumors say that Saab is targeting similar Specs as the Volvo made me think about it.

Volvo is presenting its new V60 hybrid at Geneva. The car combines the current D5 engine (Diesel; 205hp;420Nm) with an electrified rear axle with 70electric hp, getting the current 142g/km to an almost impossible 50 g/km. This car will hit the showrooms in 2012.

Is Volvo using the same trick as Porsche, to be frankly I think yes, they do, the car can run twice as long as the Porsche on battery power. Will Saab have to use the same trick to get the planned 9-3 hybrid (with a similar configuration to the V60). Yes, I also think they will have to.

My point is, that Saab may present the <120g 9-3 SC at Geneva, but this big achievement from the Saab engineers will be seen like a joke one year later when Volvo gets the V60 hybrid on the road.At least the supremacy from Volvo won't last too long (I hope), and the Germans (the A4 for instance), won't be able to show something similar till 2013/14.

16 thoughts on “Is the world getting CO₂ crazy??

    • I don´t agree, have you read his book about Saab? I have and do not think he is negative in a way that many other journalists are. So maybee I look at his work in a slightly different way than you do. His tone is not that good and possitive this time but he´s telling the truth even if you and I would bend it to a more positive outcome.

      • He is playing the FUD card.

        I’ve yet to see any journalist spell out what will happen in case the Saab factory sinks in a mudhole tomorrow. Will my Saabs suddenly have no access to spare parts? Will all the garages be unable to service Saabs? What?

        I strongly suspect that life will continue even for those of us owning Saab cars. (in case the worst happens)

        If we have to read his book in order to end up with a different interpretation of his words, then he is not doing his job as a journalist.

  1. Great post Red J. What I’m interested in is who controls all this intellectual property? GM, Chrysler and BMW were all jointly working together on mild hybrid design, and now they all seem to be going off in their own direction. Renault, Volvo, and Saab are all working on these electric rear axles it seems. No doubt ZF and other transmission companies will be working hand in hand with each brand to deliver power control modules to move the power all around in the most efficient way possible. With all of these parallel solutions, I wonder how much Saab will even have a market to sell their new technology given such a crowded field of competitors? Who will be their market, small Chinese car companies? Sadly it doesn’t appear that any established players don’t have their own solutions in development.

    You are completely right, it is sad to see Volvo so ready to go with a plug-in. I only hope Saab has the 9-3 hybrid with similar figures ready to go right at launch, hopefully with a few tricks up its sleeves. Even if they charged $7,500K more for it in the US, you could get a tax deduction for it right off the bat for the same amount.

    And finally as far as electrification vs. plug-in extended range hybrid electric (read: volt), I’m sure many have already seen it but there was a great article in the Washington Post by a non-car guy this weekend. Even though he’s very non-technical, it was entertaining and in the end I agree, I’d rather have just enough electric range to get around town but a generator on board for longer trips than having to charge every 100-150 miles.

  2. On one hand, I think hybrids are good, because most people typically drive short distances.

    On the other hand… Where I used to live, and where I now live, there are no electrical outlets. The battery will not be charged. Regenerative braking might help, but how much?

    At least with a fully electrical car all the ambiguity has been taken out of the picture. This is the solution I’d like for my own household (as soon as we can find an electrical outlet :P). A big 9-5 BioPower for me, and a 9-3 leccy for Anna.

    Interesting times.

    On a related note: Hopefully the EU will agree on giving E85 powered cars some CO2 rebates. (snowball’s chance in hell and so on)

  3. BTW: That battery… Unless the V60 gets some tax breaks, then surely the V60’s price will not look all that good..? And if the V60 drives anything like the horrible V50, then we will see who laughs last.

  4. This CO2 figures have nothing to do with real-life figures, if I have understand hove they are measured. This figures are pure for calculating the car tax. So this test i based on a pre-programed test cycle, run inside a laboratory where the engine is computer controlled to run at certain revs for so and so long. The test cycle starts with an urban cycle and ends with a highway cycle. So if your car has battery power which you are able to use trough the urban cycle and as far as possible into the highway cycle. Then you get this incredible figures. You will never be able to copy this figures out in the real world! Its a pure tax-exercise!

    • What I do know is that both Saab and Volvo has tuned the aerodynamics on their lox co2-cars, and the fact that the 9-3 ss made the limit but the SC didn´t. So the test has to include the car and not just the engine. And also, I hear that these cars really do consume very little, maybe not 0.45/ 100km, but below 0.50.

  5. The Porsche measured values are a joke, they reflect improper measurement methodology in the standardized cycle. No Porsche driver will drive that way, and in reality the consumption and CO2-emission will be much worse.
    Different thing with the Volvo. At the basis there is a powerful, but not too energy-efficient diesel with good torque in a relatively wide band, which consumes 7.1l in the standardized cycle and maybe the same in reality, if the few test results published are true. That engine coupled with a relatively powerful electric engine on the rear wheels will consume significantly less in city traffic, and overall will maybe consume 4-6l Diesel in reality, not too bad for a relatively heavy V60.
    Hybrids are okay if the electricity used for battery charging does not come from coal or ven heating oil burning. That said, it is fine for countries with mostly hydrogen powerplants or – if you are willing to accept nuclear waste, nuclear powerplants.

    Volvo is a serious contender, the brand has since the 1990s brought out the right cars in the right time, the 850/V70 and the XC90 and XC60, and have pretty scandinavian interiors. The smaller cars are not competitive. Its biggest deficit always has been the engines – high fuel consumption, not sufficiently powerful. In the last few years they have greatly improved both their gasoline and diesel engines, the T6 in 2010 is one of the Ward’s 10 best engines. The difference to Saab is, that under Ford and now under the Chinese ownership they have had both the resources and autonomy to go their way. Impossible for Saab to bypass them in a brief period, catching up would be fine already.

  6. For a Porsche garage queen to have this technology is an irrelevant (and I would say cynical) stunt. It certainly does not help the environment. The Rolls-Royces and Ferraris of the world do not burn any gas at all in the scheme of things. They often drive under 5,000 miles per year. They are occasional toys. The main pollution is in their care (heated/cooled garages) and their very polluting production including lovely paint, individual transport etc.

    A Ford F-150 with 300,000 miles and a V8.. that is a Co2 problem. Porsche… who cares. Their Cayenne is the main issue there, because rich guys commute in those gas hogs.

  7. There is a small company in Sweden that has found a way to use the last 10% of battery that is not usually available. They have a 9-3 plug-in and Boston is testing two of these all electric cars.

  8. Off-topic: It’s hard to tell the difference between Swade articles and Red J articles 😀

    On-topic: I hope the main point made, that the calculated values might not mean what you think they do, gets some time in the media–like what happened with the miles-per-gallon topic. The up-side to that is people might not be swayed so easily by the skewed numbers… the down-side though is they might get ignored/become untrusted altogether.

    About the Porsche comments: There are probably far more 911s than total Saabs in some areas (at least it seems that way), like in Los Angeles. Overall, I agree that Porsche is the least to be worried about in terms of actual on-the-road time.

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