Repost: SU Hi-Po Challenge #7, 8, 9 and 10

From Jeff: We got a few emails from members and I’ve been reading a lot of comments from people on the site that reminded me of the points I brought up in my proposal for a hybrid performance Saab way back in Winter 2011. Times have changed, but the concept still makes a lot of sense to me. Looking back at my proposal and looking at it under the lens that recent events provides, I certainly think the proposal needs some tweaking. While NEVS will most likely be building a pure EV to start, I really hope that they also build a halo concept model akin to the Porsche 918 hybrid I mention in the proposal or even better the Jaguar CX75 Concept, if just to show off all the groundbreaking tech that Saab engineers are working with and spread development costs out. As you may know, they’ll be selling a limited production of those for a monumental sum per car, but most have reportedly been spoken for (for nearly $1 million USD each). Saab needs a statement vehicle, and I think a limited production version of the proposal I’m describing – even only 10-20 – would go a long way for its image, perhaps not as flashy as the Jag but no less technologically innovative.

For a trip down memory lane or perhaps if you didn’t read it the first time, click on past the break. I think this proposal becomes a lot more relevant now that Saab’s assets are in NEVS’s hands.

Actually, it’s only one entry. But it’s so freaking huuuuuuuuge that I’ve labelled it as entries 7-10.

The following is primarily driven by Jeff P, but he credits a few others with contributions along the way.

It’s amazing, outstanding and someone might even have the requisite knowledge to judge whether it’s doable in a timeframe that’s suitable, and within Saab’s current budget.

I have to say, however, that the budgetary factor is in severe doubt in my mind. This project, despite claims to the contrary, would be gargantuan and involve an incredible amount of money in re-engineering and testing. Yes, the parts might already exist, but do they exist in this context or are you farming parts and making them do slightly different things? And if so, at what point do you consider them reliable for commercial sale in their new application?

I’ll leave it at that, for the moment. Oh, except for mentioning that Saab don’t currently have a deal for BMW’s 2.0T engine. They’ve probably got a foot in the door, but as I understand it, they’ve only got a deal for the 1.6T.

This will take you a while, not just to read, but to comprehend. Heck, it’s taken me 222 words to introduce!

Again, it’s incredible work by these guys and kudos to Jeff for putting it together.

——

I couldn’t have put this together without help from Gerrit, Stingray, and Jörgen in the past few days. I apologize if it’s a little long, but I really got into it as I reflected over Saab’s recent moves which arranged themselves like puzzle pieces to add up to an impressive performance car in 2-4 years.

As Victor Muller aptly points out, the automotive landscape has changed. New opportunities to share technology and license intellectual property now allows small players in the market to have big impact. It is the reason why a company like Spyker can exist at all, by leveraging the best technology from established players and creating its own compelling package. Granted, setting up a company from scratch doesn’t come cheap, but with persistence Spyker has found itself in a powerful new position. Despite operating at a loss, Muller has learned valuable lessons and amassed an incredible rolodex— a who’s who of of suppliers, CEOs, financiers and politicians that allows him to have a unique view that distinguishes himself from the pack. Spyker’s purchase of Saab is a testament to his vision and tenacity, and proves that no matter how small a company may seem on paper, enormous obstacles and challenges are surmountable. As such, I don’t pretend to know any better than he does, nor any of the talented engineers or executives at Saab. My proposal is only an interpretation of what I’ve witnessed from news and information gleaned over the last few months.

The Case for a Hybrid Hi-Po Saab

No one disagrees— more horsepower and less weight equals more fun. While Saab used to have a leg up on other manufacturers through turbocharging in the last few decades, other automakers as large as Ford have embraced it as a means of increasing performance without sacrificing performance. GM sucked an incredible amount of turbocharging IP out of Saab and is reaping enormous reward from it. So while turbocharging should continue to form a strong foundation for future Saab internal combustion engines (ICE), looking forward there needs to be a new way to achieve more power without sacrificing Saab’s creed: responsible performance.

How do you reconcile the idea of a high performance Saab with those two words? What does responsible performance mean in a landscape of cars that use less and less fuel? I reject the idea that a modest loss of economy is necessary to achieve higher performance. Sacrificing fuel consumption for the sake of hoonage is not necessary given the incredible advancements in electric propulsion technology and energy storage in the last few years. By combining electric and fossil fueled (or perhaps hydrogen/fuel-cell in the future) power a range of outcomes is possible. On one hand, you have the car that started it all, the Prius. While it won’t win any acceleration contests, it proved that a mass-produced hybrid can acheive a profit and appeal to a broad range of consumers. It operates using the idea of getting the bare minimum performance out of the least amount of battery, engine size and operation, so that an acceptable level of acceleration, speed and efficiency is reached. On the other end of the scale you have the Fisker Karma, a series hybrid. In this case (at least in their concepts to date), the car is always powered by the electric motors, and an onboard generator ICE powers the battery which then powers the motor. Somewhere in between you have two concepts which I’d like to analyze further that show the true potential for where hybrids are going and why I believe them to be the key to Saab’s future performance goals. Other makers have jumped on board, GM coming late to the party with the Volt but offering unmatched electric range without the compromise of being stuck on long journeys. Ford, Porsche, Volvo, Mercedes, the list goes on, all plan to bring their own versions of this idea to market in the next few years.

The Granddaddy of Hybrids

The Prius uses two independent motor/generators, one is coupled to the drive shaft, the other works with the ICE; their combined power is 44 HP (30 kW). The latter combination is yoked through a planetary differential, which delivers a ratioed sum of their rotations to the drive shaft. This combination of ICE to planetary differential and two motor-generators is known as a continuously variable electric transmission, with no clutch and no transmission gearbox. This allows Toyota to account for the car differently, this new clutch replaces the conventional transmission- instead of added costs, there is a substitution. This represents the first true example of what is called a Parallel hybrid, or one where the the electric motor and gasoline engine are both attached to a single transmission (or a combination of the two) that can power the car.

The Chevy Volt

There was a great controversy with the Volt late last year when it was being rolled out to the press. GM had promised it to be a series hybrid, where the electric engine was the only one that ever directly powered the axles; the ICE was only there to power the battery. Somewhere along the development process, GM engineers decided that perhaps the most efficient way to go was a blend between the two modes (some say Opel had something to do with this so that the Ampera would be able to achieve Autobahn speeds). Whatever the case, the resultant mix in my opinion is where all automakers need to aim in regards to hybrid technology.

Porsche’s Parallel Hybrid Solution

For 2011, Porsche has introduced the new Cayenne Hybrid, soon to be followed by the similarly powered Panamera Hybrid. They operate using a parallel system, where the electric and ICE engine power the same axle. Basically the electric engine provides torque in place of the ICE engine to cut down on fuel consumption, and can also propel the car at speeds up to 50mph. One clever feature is something they call coast mode which allows both engines to be disengaged. If the driver is in coast mode and needs to pass another driver, the combustion engine starts back up within milliseconds.

Where Porsche is starting to spread its wings is with the 918 concept that debuted in Geneva. The gas an electric engines can operate just like the Cayenne or Panamera versions, together or separately. However there are four modes that configure the powertrains for anything from maximum efficiency to maximum performance and everything in between. E-Drive mode means 100% electric power, and the car can last up to 16 miles battery. In Hybrid mode, the balance is shifted towards max efficiency and allows the ICE to help propel the car. The Sport Hybrid mode again uses both powertrains, but sends most of the power to the rear wheels. Finally, the Race Hybrid mode means all everything works together for the lowest lap times possible. Porsche is claiming it can do the Nurburgring in less than 7 min 30 seconds. For extra cool factor, they have a push-to-pass button that E-boost. Not to reveal all my cards yet, but it’s worth asking— how might a front engined version of this work? If Saab were flush with cash and had the means to develop it, I’d love for a rear engined Sonnet with a similar setup. Seeing that Porsche is charging $650K for theirs, I don’t think this is an option 😉 Maybe a Spyker though! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3J-vYph6abI&feature=player_embedded

Electric Fuel: The Battery

As we all know, Saab is in partnership with Boston Power, the US based start up based in the Northeast US city of its namesake (and home to Charles River Saab, which is tied for the best US Saab dealer as New Salem, 😉 ). Boston Power is using their Swing 4400, a tiny 64mm long battery, as cells in a larger battery pack (http://www.boston-power.com/products/swing-4400). How many cells there are in a single 35kW pack I don’t know, but the packs are theoretically modular given that they’re made up of tiny battery cells. While Tesla in partnership with Panasonic/Toyota and GM with LG chemical are both using a similar strategy with large batteries made up of many tiny cells, they both have a different approach tailored to their individual strategy. Since the Tesla is pure electric, it isn’t designed to deplete and recharge quite as often as the Volt (according to Elon Musk, 3 to 4 times less). Also according to Musk, while a Tesla battery might go 200 miles, just because a battery goes 100 miles doesn’t mean it would be half the size. Apparently a battery can either have high power or high energy cell chemistry but not both. Since the battery pack in a plug in hybrid like the Volt has to generate the same power as a much larger battery pack in a pure electric vehicle, it has to use a low energy cell chemistry.

Boston Power’s battery in the Saab ePower is a 35.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack housed in a modified floor-pan within the car’s wheelbase where the exhaust system and fuel tank normally go. It uses a 135 kW/184 hp electric motor driving the front wheels through a Saab in-house designed single speed transmission (electric motors can spin well past 13000 rpm easily). Instant torque means 0-100 km/h in 8.5 seconds and a top speed of 150 km/h. According to their website, the car can sustain 80% charge in a 30 minute charge (I’m assuming 220V). It seems that their battery cell chemistry is further along in this case to either the first generation Volt’s or Tesla’s packs, whether or not this is true will be bore out soon. If incorporated into a hybrid platform that would need an exhaust system, its configuration might need to be adjusted, but hopefully they will stick with the idea of a low and flat pan underneath the car to lower the center of gravity as far as possible.

Through the Road Hybrid

This is where it starts to get even more interesting. Saab’s electric rear axle is nothing new, as Renault, Volvo, Getrag/Bosch and others have been working on a similar solution. It couples normal propulsion on one axle (FWD in Saab’s case) and adds electric propulsion in the rear. The separate systems pull together, when extra power or extra road traction are needed. At low speeds or low acceleration, the electric drive operates alone. The drive from the IC engine is disengaged, through an automatic clutch or automatic shift to neutral, and the IC engine is stopped. The batteries are charged when the vehicle brakes, with light braking needed to top them up. It allows four-wheel drive and many of the fuel-economy and emission benefits of hybrid drive at a lower cost and weight than the current Haldex XWD. Usually the electric drive motor doesn’t even need to be very powerful, since vehicle speed is usually low when XWD matters most. It doesn’t take a lot of power for an electric motor to deliver high torque at low speed. These hybrids would also have start/stop functionality and start out under battery power to two wheels. This configuration is likely to be combined with the “mild” hybrid configuration on the drive sub-train of the ICE, so that it will be equipped with its own starter-alternator. That means that it will not be necessary to rely on power transmission between the front and rear wheels for battery charging and engine starting. With two separate motor-generators, this configuration somewhat resembles the Prius configuration, but without the CVT functionality. It has the advantage that the electric motors need not be as powerful, though the disadvantage is it needs an automatic clutch (or DCT) and gearbox. That said, if Saab were to find a way to incorporate slightly more powerful electric engines (not that much more expensive) that could be sustained off the Boston Power battery in conjunction with a smart transmission hopefully developed by e-AAM), we could be looking at a rocket of a car.

Concept

What Saab can do to leapfrog is to figure out a way to beef up the battery and components for a range topping performance hybrid, one that doesn’t sacrifice economy while delivering incredible instant torque in the lightest package possible. This means joining e-AAM engineers and Innovatum ePower engineers together to combine both technologies into one merged effort. Take the engine from the 9-3 ePower and put it on the rear axle, and move the existing hybrid rear axle motor-generator up to share space next to the main Internal Combustion Engine. Join them together with the appropriate gearbox, add the right sized battery and charging capability, and you have an innovative machine built from parts already under development.

The Brains Behind the Brawn

In all of these parallel hybrids, the key to maximizing power and efficiency is the Power Control Module software and the planetary gears that connect the electric engine and ICE engine to the axle. Every manufacturer is trying to out innovate each other, and the winner will be able to claim top performance and efficiency numbers. The beauty of an electric engine is its simplicity with so few moving parts. That means that the real differentiator in the electric propulsion segment will be with the software and transmissions. It’s no coincidence then that Saab has teamed up with American Axle Manufacturing to create e-AAM to investigate future axle and transmission technology. Saab brings engineers, research facilities, production labs and EIB money to the table. American axle brings their own research and engineers but adds in manufacturing experience and international supplier capabilities that will benefit both. I think Saab’s greatest future technical achievements all revolve around this collaboration and technology, and agree with engineer Erik Sten who said, “This is bigger than the turbo and everything else that Saab has developed.” It not only unlocks the potential for Saabs to be incredibly miserly with fuel, but also allows for handling and performance unseen in Saabs to date. With the proper combination of electric motors on each axle and large enough batteries with the proper control software and planetary gear axle tech from e-AAM, there is the potential to create the highest horsepower Saab ever created from the factory. As witnessed in the latest videos demonstrating e-AAM hybrid rear axle technology in the snow, this new system has already proven it will be a force to be reckoned with.

PCM modes or eDriveSense:

1. Electric Only: After plugged in overnight (or as Boston Power claims 80% charge in half an hour, 30 minutes) a 100% range is electric power only. This precludes the more powerful engine from being engaged, and while the acceleration will be brisk, it would not be nearly as much as coupled with the engine. In cars like the Volt, you will be in this setting whether you like it or not as soon as you set out with a full charge. I’d suggest that this be driver selectable since once the charge is depleted, only short bursts of electric+gas power are available. However, for most drivers trying to save fuel, this is about as hardcore as you could get.
2. Hybrid Economy: This would focus on using the electric and combustion engines in the most efficient combination possible, which means similar to the Volt’s setup. Within the first 80% of the battery’s range, the electric motors are the only ones engaged as long as the speed stays under 80mph. Above that and it’s advantageous for the gas engine through smart gearing to join in. Once the battery reaches 20%, it is powered back up to sustain close to the minimum 20% charge, employing engine start/stop technology and maximizing regenerative braking force.
3. Hybrid Performance: This mode is tilted towards engaging the engine when the pedal is floored, allowing full torque from the get go. The engine is more likely to shut off when coasting or decelerating, however instead of using electric engines as the means of propulsion under 80, it allows the use of the ICE for maximum acceleration.
4. Gripen: I don’t know that I’d actually call it that, I’m just having fun with it for a minute. This mode maximizes low end grunt and really opens up the turbo for high revs and peak torque from the electric motors. Sure this would deplete the battery and run afoul of everything the EIB loan stands for, but since all the technology is paid and accounted for to run in other Saab models and this High Performance model represents a conglomeration of all the best bits, we can have a little fun and creative licensing with this car.

The Right Transmission

I have no idea if Saab is working on a plug-in hybrid but given the evidence it’s clear they have something up their sleeves. Either way, options already exist or are under development for a launch within 1-2 years. For Saab’s sake, I hope they are ready with their own innovative solution.

ZF 8HP: Automatic transmission for future 9-5s, but not for the Hy-Po Saab?
Saab should develop their own transmission if they’re unwilling to license the ZF (though I don’t see why they should reinvent the wheel). Ideally, Saab would focus their efforts on torque vectoring control software for electric motors to develop bolt on solutions for their e-AAM rear axle. Let other companies worry about the front engine/transmission set up and let Saab design different kinds of rear axle solutions.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAynBpfrSv8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N35fvbbAppg

ZF PDK/DCT

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cd10wif87Qk

http://www.dctfacts.com/latest-news/super-sports-hybrid-porsche.aspx

Getrag/Bosch

http://www.bosch.co.uk/content/language2/html/3492_4616.htm

The Weight Game

As reported earlier in January, Saab is working on a concept to reduce weight in their cars by a staggering 20-40% (http://saabsunited.saabklubben.se/2011/01/saab-aiming-to-cut-weight-in-future-cars.html)

The concept car which will be completed by summer 2013 will include solutions that make it possible to build cars 20 to 40 percent lighter than today. Without making major compromises elsewhere. Last fall, invited Saab therefore the Scandinavian suppliers to a workshop to reflect together on new solutions.

– We thought it would be difficult for suppliers that are competitors to cooperate in the forms, but it went really well, “says project leader Anders Holmkvist….

….The clear and specific goals will mean reduced weight. But another equally important part in the project according to Anna-Lena Björkstam, purchasing director for bilmaterial at Saab, cooperation with and between suppliers.

If they can achieve even a fraction of that and implement it in a large scale production, the ramifications are huge. While lower weight often means less safety, harder materials and better crumple zone design allows the safety cage in a crash to maintain itself or even improve. Through advanced plastics and steels which are stronger, thinner gauges which weigh far less can be used. Even glass has been going through major breakthroughs in weight reduction technology. Unfortunately carbon fiber while ultra sexy and functional, still has a long way to go in order to make it cheaper in mass production. BMW and Toyota are working on new fabrication technology, but I see high strength steel and plastics coming sooner and at a more practical cost than the carbon fiber alternatives.

Arcelor Mittal has revealed that they are working on a new Nano Steel in hopes to bring it to production in 2013 (http://www.autoblog.com/2011/01/31/steel-nanotechnology-can-reduce-the-weight-of-our-cars/ and http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/02/worlds-largest-steel-maker-will-be.html ). Coincidentally, Saab is reportedly working with their suppliers to cut weight by 20 to 40% (http://saabsunited.saabklubben.se/2011/01/saab-aiming-to-cut-weight-in-future-cars.html). Whether or not the two are working together I don’t know, but I this sort of thinking is key to the low weight to horsepower ratio that is key to making the high performance Saab a reality. The interesting thing is that the materials themselves aren’t much lighter, instead they are so much stronger that they can be thinned out and use less material. The nano steel requires a new manufacturing technique called hot stamping. This involves heating up the steel blanks that go into the stamping press until they’re glowing red, then feed them into a press to be stamped into body panels. I’m fairly sure this is how Saab already does their stamping, but I’m sure someone who’s done a plant tour can correct me if I’m wrong. Retooling the plant shouldn’t be an incredibly expensive project, and since it goes to reducing fuel consumption, I’m sure using EIB funds wouldn’t be a hard sell. Gerrit cautions that technology like this is farther out than 2-3 years from production, but I sure hope that Saab is working with Mittal or a competitor on similar technology.

Also, Saab and KTH researcher Christopher Cameron are working on a research project to develop design methods to build future cars with improved environmental and economic performance.

“My roof solution disappears in the cockpit when the beams and other components are integrated. It allows one to reduce the thickness of the ceiling system and lowering the ceiling height, which reduces air resistance and fuel consumption,” said Mr Cameron said in a roughly google translated statement ;).

“If several parts of the car’s body is replaced with a sandwich structure the weight decreases even more. If we reduce the structure’s weight, we may not need as big a motor, and brake components can shrink. It becomes a positive spiral of weight loss.”

For a sports sedan like the 9-3 or 9-5, while I’d like to design an ultralight stripped down performance version, I don’t think Saab is necessarily in a position to appeal to that market. I understand the “if you build it they will come mentality,” but the 9-5 is a fantastic car and guess what, the buyers aren’t coming yet. Most people want zero tradeoffs– top notch safety, electronic gadgetry, XWD, high power, and so on. It’s why the bread and butter of BMW’s M division and Mercedes AMG are high power sedans, coupes, convertibles and yes, heavy SUVs. For that reason, I’m concentrating on adding as much power while keeping weight relatively stable. If lightness is the goal, a third small Saab could happen, but that’s even further out.

Materials:

As reported Saab is working on shaving weight with their suppliers. I don’t pretend to the exact nature of what’s going on, only that they’ve suggested it be a 20-40% savings in certain areas. Given that as an optimistic projection, as part of each proposal I will use multiple scenarios and include their respective weights when calculating performance figures.

1. 0% reduction
2. 10% reduction
3. 20% reduction
4. 30% reduction

Challenges

Clearly there are many obstacles, but other companies are overcoming them rapidly. Chevy Volt engineers set out to do the impossible in a short amount of time, and they were reasonably successful even with a tightened budget due to GM liquidation fears. Even Volvo is rolling out a similar concept with their 124mpg V60 diesel hybrid. It uses the D5 turbodiesel five-cylinder 2.4-liter, which produces 215 horsepower and maximum torque of 440 Nm (325 lb.ft.) up front, while the back uses an ERAD (Electric Rear Axle Drive) in the form of a 70 hp electric motor and a 12 kWh battery. It also has a six-speed automatic transmission. Saab will be late to the party with their e-AAM electric rear axle in 2012, but not by much, and not enough for buyers to notice.

Timeframe and Funding

While some have suggested an interest in bringing a Hi-Po Saab to market before the next 9-3, I think it’s a mistake to rush something like this to market. Saab needs to focus on its core business and a positive rollout of its new 9-3 before to the mainstream market before stumbling into the performance market. I can’t stress how important it is that Saab gets everything right in the next 3 years, they have little tolerance for mistakes. Cars need to be tested so as to have as few recalls, the highest build quality, and rock solid dependability or else their core customer won’t come back to the brand. Rushing a performance car could easily lead to disaster, which is why I think the only path to releasing one is by further development of their ongoing research into electric propulsion technology. Electric motors have far fewer parts to go wrong, allow greater efficiencies, and give more flexibility in regards to design. Saab’s interest in an independent rear axle has incredible potential and coupled with their partnership with Boston Power, gives them new options they could never have dreamed of a short time ago.

Just today Saab announced that they will be using the UQM PowerPhase 135 to power the Saab ePower (http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20110201007252/en/UQM-Technologies-PowerPhase%C2%AE-Electric-Propulsion-System-Powers). Upon further research I noticed that they have a range of different horsepower motors ready to go, (100, 150, etc). So I don’t see enormous hurdles in picking other off the shelf components to fit into a performance Saab. Ultimately, I believe this can all be accomplished by a small team within Saab and e-AAM alongside the existing research being done to incorporate the ePower with e-AAM electric rear axle.

While this is a high performance Saab, it isn’t purely so. It’s fuel consumption would rival the greenest cars on the market in eco mode and according to most environmental agency tests. Therefore, I don’t see a problem using EIB funds to further develop the technology, and one could even make a case that the push for higher performance leads to strides to decrease weight and increase power storage at the high end of the market, thus driving innovation. Unless there are significant changes

The Hy-Po (Hybrid Performance) Saab Line

Given all these opportunities and challenges, my ideal Hybrid Performance Saabs would include:

1. Saab 9-3 HP (Hybrid Performance), Launched 6 months behind regular model, introduced at 2012 Paris Show, 600 total/year

  • Internal Combustion Engine: A tuned version of the BMW 2.0 liter gas engine producing 300 hp (the stock is 240 hp). If this requires a supercharger, so be it.
  • Front electric assist motor-generator producing 30hp.
  • Rear ePower motor-generator producing 184hp (from the ePower Saab).
  • It is possible due to size and weight constraints that this engine may be too large or too heavy for the rear axle.
  • As part of this, a second option using an engine half the size at 92hp will be also be used in calculations. Electric engines are extremely scalable so I’m only using this as an example.
  • Larger battery (20 kWh), electric only range of 40-50 miles at 100% charge state.
  • Built on the new Phoenix platform which is already being developed to use the e-AAM rear axle.
  • Choice of transmissions:
  • First choice: Saab developed DCT HEV transmission built thorugh e-AAM. I have my fingers crossed that they’re working on it.
  • Second Choice: ZF 7DT transmission coupled with the e-AAM small electric boost engine
  • Third Choice: Getrag/Bosch DCT unit (currently in development). This would remove Saab’s own e-AAM electric motor in place of Bosch’s, clearly less than ideal, but if Saab can’t integrate their own or someone else’s, they should just bite the bullet and use this.
  • Fourth Choice: DCTZF 8HP Hybrid
  • Fifth Choice: Dual mode hybrid transmission either from BMW/GM (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Hybrid_Cooperation#FWD).
  • eDriveSense allows for different selections (similar to Porsche)- Full electric, efficient hybrid, performance hybrid, etc with fine tuning for regenerative braking etc.
  • Showcases new design of 9-3, aerodynamic improvements along with body lowering.
  • Suspension:
  • First choice (if not completely cost prohibitive): driver selectable magnetic suspension from GM (used on the CTS-V and Corvette. Probably too pricey.
  • Second choice: HiPerStrut System and multilink rear suspension cast out of as much aluminum as possible.
  • Third choice: HiPerStrut System and multilink rear suspension as is.
  • Wheels: 19” front, 20” rear, thin blade turbine inspired. I know this sounds exorbitant, but I really don’t think it’s that big a jump from just having 4 wheels the same size. You’re buying a limited edition performance car, if you wanted the basic one with 17” wheels you’d have bought it.
  • Paint: I’ll take some heat for it, but I think this car should stick to neutral greys, whites, and blacks. I want it to stand out on the inside, which is where…
  • Interior:
  • Textiles: light colored perforated leather accents on door panels and seats with dark seats as standard which Saab knows how to do well. Having looked at used Saabs, I can say without question that the dark seat bolsters hold up far better than the light ones. Alcantara is fun and cool, but it’s really expensive and I don’t think it would be executed as well.
  • Lighting: because of all of the light accents, ambient LED lighting which completely changes the character of the car should be used. Electric yellows, greens, coral reds, and blues, completely driver selectable. Want blue leather accents one day and saddle orange the next? The choice is yours. Obviously these would dim with night panel but also make its effect far more dramatic.
  • Infotainment: Saab is busy working on solutions, but I’d like to implore them to use iOS and Android’s new terminal out features and a capacitive touch screen to at least allow in car use of Apps designed for on-road use like GPS with traffic, email/news reader services, etc. While other companies like BMW are busy designing their own interfaces, Saab should leapfrog the pack by simply doing what VW is doing and enabling App developers to design their own solutions and leverage the phone’s built in and constantly evolving processors as their engines. Keeps costs down and improves user experience.
  • Bright/Hard surfaces: Find a way to make the prototype epoxy looking dashes that had so much depth in them work. They were beautiful. Also include options like bleached (not blond, more white) birch woods and if possible, some sort of turned aluminum (if it has to be made of plastic but it looks amazing, fine).
  • Soft touch plastics: The kind that don’t chip off after 6 years please (I’m looking at you MY’03-06 9-3).

Performance Numbers:

I will use several different scenarios to calculate a range of possibilities based on future technologies and weight targets. Since the 9-3 will be built on a similar platform to the current one, I will use the Turbo X as a baseline to get me in the ballpark. For comparison Power to Weight Ratios (PWR) where lower is better: Saab Turbo X: 13.64 lbs/hp, BMW M3: 8.95 lbs/hp; Audi RS5: 8.57 lbs/hp; Porsche 911 turbo: 6.92 lbs/hp, Ferrari 458 Italia: 6.01 lbs/hp.

Considering extra weight of battery (300lbs) and electric motors (75 and 225lbs), extra transmission weight and PCM (200lbs) and assuming weight of 2.0 BMW engine is the same as 2.0L GM Engine, the base 9-3s weight is 4250 lbs.

Options 1-4 take into account Saabs projections to use lighter materials in future models outlined before, since I have no inside knowledge I will simply use a range of weights. I don’t see anything past Option 2 remotely happening for the next 5 years, but if Saab’s claims are true then perhaps Options 3 and 4 are actually possible sooner than we think. Options a and b reflect different sized electric motors depending on what is possible due to size constraints (184 hp ePower vs 92hp 1/2 sized ePower motors).

Option 1 weight: 4250lbs Option 1a hp: 514 hp Option 1b hp: 422 hp
Option 1a PWR: 8.26 lbs/hp Option 1a PWR: 10.07 lbs/hp

Option 2 weight: 3825lbs Option 2a hp: 514 hp Option 2b hp: 422 hp
Option 2a PWR: 7.44 lbs/hp Option 2b PWR: 9.06 lbs/hp

Option 3 weight: 3400lbs Option 3a hp: 514 hp Option 3b hp: 422 hp
Option 3a PWR: 6.614 lbs/hp Option 3b hp: 8.21 lbs/hp

Option 4 weight: 2975lbs Option 4a hp: 514 hp Option 4b hp: 422 hp
Option 4a PWR: 5.79 lbs/hp Option 4b PWR: 7.05 lbs/hp

*Stock NG 9-3 weight: 3250lbs Stock NG 9-3 hp: 200+30= 230hp 14.13 lbs/hp
*Plug-in Hybrid 9-3 with electroengine + battery: 3700lbs / 322hp = 11.49lbs/hp

Pricing:

Development: Given that the extra cost of developing this system is primarily in figuring out how to get existing parts already in development to work together, many funded by the EIB loan, the only extra costs involved I can conceive not covered through the EIB loan is in testing the car’s control systems.

Components: Seeing that pricing hasn’t been released for either the new 9-3 or new 9-3 ePower, I must purely speculate their prices. I’d say the components of the traditional components given their more advanced and beefed up nature to be around $45K. Adding in the battery, electric engine, and Powertrain Control Module (PCM) I would put at between 8-12K. So realistically a dealer would have to charge somewhere around $60K for this. Given that it’s performance figures are at the least competitive with a $63K BMW and at best a $350K Ferrari, I don’t think this is that bad a deal. Especially considering if released before 2014 the US is giving out a $7,500 tax credit, and states like Colorado an additional $6,000, you begin to see why even though this is a performance machine, having plug-in hybrid capability gives enormous benefit. Someone in Denver could theoretically pay less for this than a fully loaded gas or diesel powered Aero model simply because of available tax incentives, and on top of that have little to no fuel expense. Economies of scale mean that if Saab can find a market for more Boston Power batteries, then this can only help the breakeven point.

1. Saab 9-5 HP (Hybrid Performance), Launched in Spring of 2014 alongside refreshed model, 300 total per year

Many of the specs are the same as the 9-3 HP to share component costs and also because I am running out of creative juices, sorry for repeating most of this verbatim.

  • Internal Combustion Engine: A tuned version of the BMW 2.0 liter gas engine producing 300 hp (the stock is 240 hp). If this requires a supercharger, so be it.
  • Front electric assist motor-generator producing 30hp.
  • Rear ePower motor-generator producing 184hp (from the ePower Saab).
  • It is possible due to size and weight constraints that this engine may be too large or too heavy for the rear axle.
  • As part of this, a second option using an engine half the size at 92hp will be also be used in calculations. Electric engines are extremely scalable so I’m only using this as an example.
  • Larger battery (20 kWh), electric only range of 40-50 miles at 100% charge state.
  • Built on the new Phoenix platform which is already being developed to use the e-AAM rear axle.
  • Choice of transmissions:
  • First choice: Saab developed DCT HEV transmission built thorugh e-AAM. I have my fingers crossed that they’re working on it.
  • Second Choice: ZF 7DT transmission coupled with the e-AAM small electric boost engine
  • Third Choice: Getrag/Bosch DCT unit (currently in development). This would remove Saab’s own e-AAM electric motor in place of Bosch’s, clearly less than ideal, but if Saab can’t integrate their own or someone else’s, they should just bite the bullet and use this.
  • Fourth Choice: DCTZF 8HP Hybrid
  • Fifth Choice: Dual mode hybrid transmission either from BMW/GM (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Hybrid_Cooperation#FWD).
  • eDriveSense allows for different selections (similar to Porsche)- Full electric, efficient hybrid, performance hybrid, etc with fine tuning for regenerative braking etc.
  • Refreshed 9-5 body, along with aerodynamic improvements and with body lowering.
  • Suspension:
  • First choice (if not completely cost prohibitive): driver selectable magnetic suspension from GM (used on the CTS-V and Corvette. Probably too pricey.
  • Second choice: HiPerStrut System and multilink rear suspension cast out of as much aluminum as possible.
  • Third choice: HiPerStrut System and multilink rear suspension as is.
  • Wheels: 19” front, 20” rear, thin blade turbine inspired.
  • Paint: Neutrals with one exception, an electric blue.
  • Interior:
  • Textiles: upgraded light colored perforated leather accents on door panels and seats with dark seats as standard.
  • Lighting: because of all of the light accents, ambient customizable LED lighting.
  • Infotainment: Terminal mode Capacitive Touch screen unit that uses mobile phone’s processor for power (continuously upgradable far into the future, provide USB connection).
  • Bright/Hard surfaces: Epoxy translucent, birch, aluminum.

Performance Numbers:

I will use several different scenarios to calculate a range of possibilities based on future technologies and weight targets. Since the 9-5 will be built on the same or similar platform to the current one, I will use the current 9-5 as a baseline to get me in the ballpark. For comparison Power to Weight Ratios (PWR) where lower is better: 2011 Saab 9-5 Aero: 14.55 lbs/hp; 2011 Saab 9-5 Turbo4 Hirsch (260 hp): 13.27 lbs/hp 13.64 lbs/hp, Porsche Panamera Turbo: 8.69 lbs/hp; BMW M5: 8.02 lbs/hp; Ferrari FF: 6.06 lbs/hp.

Considering extra weight of battery (300lbs) and electric motors (75 and 225lbs), extra transmission weight and PCM (200lbs) and assuming weight of 2.0 BMW engine is the same as 2.0L GM Engine, the base 9-5s weight is 4250 lbs.

Options 1-4 take into account Saabs projections to use lighter materials in future models outlined before, since I have no inside knowledge I will simply use a range of weights. I don’t see anything past Option 2 remotely happening for the next 5 years, but if Saab’s claims are true then perhaps Options 3 and 4 are actually possible sooner than we think. Options a and b reflect different sized electric motors depending on what is possible due to size constraints (184 hp ePower vs 92 hp 1/2 sized ePower motors).

Option 1 weight: 4000lbs Option 1a hp: 514 hp Option 1b hp: 422 hp
Option 1a PWR: 8.26 lbs/hp Option 1a PWR: 10.07 lbs/hp

Option 2 weight: 3825lbs Option 2a hp: 514 hp Option 2b hp: 422 hp
Option 2a PWR: 7.44 lbs/hp Option 2b PWR: 9.06 lbs/hp

Option 3 weight: 3400lbs Option 3a hp: 514 hp Option 3b hp: 422 hp
Option 3a PWR: 6.614 lbs/hp Option 3b hp: 8.21 lbs/hp

Option 4 weight: 2975lbs Option 4a hp: 514 hp Option 4b hp: 422 hp
Option 4a PWR: 5.79 lbs/hp Option 4b PWR: 7.05 lbs/hp

*Stock NG 9-5 weight: 3250lbs Stock NG 9-5 hp: 200+30= 230hp 14.13 lbs/hp
*Plug-in Hybrid 9-5 with electroengine + battery: 3700lbs / 322hp = 11.49lbs/hp

3. 2015-16 Saab Sonnet HP (Hybrid Performance), 350 total

This one is going to be basic as I’m running out of time, but I’d be happy to outline it. I would use the new BMW 1 GT as my base, assuming a weight around 2800lbs once stripped down without the roof and including the electric drive components.

A tuned version of the BMW 1.6 liter engine producing 230 hp (the stock Saab version is 200)
-Front electric assist motor-generator producing 30 hp
-Rear electric assist motor-generator producing 92 hp
-Boston Power battery module, 16kWh, electric range 25-40 miles
-Lightweight DCT HEV transmission, either e-AAM or ZF’s design
-Styling will be a mix of the Jason Castriota sketch and my own (which I’m working on and will post on the thread when I’m done).
-Innovative folding top similar to the 9-X Air, super lightweight top. keeps center of gravity extremely low.
-Use of lightweight sheetmetal/plastics as much as possible, possibly in the trunklid/convertible top cover, bumpers, etc.

Performance Numbers

Weight: 2800lbs hp: 352 7.95 lbs/hp

Pricing: $52K minus applicable tax credits if available. Limited edition of 352 to commemorate making it over Swade’s 350 hp minimum 🙂

Competition

Every major automaker and transmission supplier is furiously working on similar solutions. Porsche has its 918 spyder project, Mercedes is working on a handful of projects including Hydrogen fuel cells, GM is not only betting the horse on it, they’re first to the gate with a true sellable production model. BMW has efficient dynamics solutions in the works, Fiat/Chrysler has electric and hybrid solutions, Ford will be releasing their own plug in hybrid and all electric cars by the end of the year. Even Jaguar/Land Rover will have their own solution to market in the next few years. Getrag has partnered with Bosch to use their electric engines to power their own self contained hybrid electric sport transmission with namely the same goals I’ve set out for the Hy-Po Saab, and are testing it as we speak (http://www.greencarcongress.com/2007/09/getrag-introduc.html and http://www.getrag.com/media/0000001561.pdf); other transmission suppliers like ZF aren’t far behind. Perhaps most interesting is Volvo with its V60 wagon which debuts in Geneva in March. If Saab’s nearest neighbor can do it, so can Saab.

Conclusion

I don’t pretend to be an expert in any of these subjects, I’m only speaking from what I’ve read and researched over the past few months and more extensively the past few days. Other manufacturers have not only proven that hybrid technology has a synergistic effect on performance, but reduces fuel consumption in ways never seen to date. The ability to transition off fossil fuels while increasing performance is the holy grail of the auto industry, and I think it’s the space Saab needs to be in to assert its own Renaissance. Many may suggest that the added cost or complexity is a huge hurdle to overcome, but keep in mind electric motors are proven, battery technology has been tested and proven and is making incredible strides as proven by LG, Boston Power, Panasonic and the like. Hybrid transmissions capable of decoupling electric from generator engines have shown themselves to be reliable in tests by Getrag, ZF, and Borg Warner. At the same time the collaboration with American Axle allows e-AAM to share cost while maximizing potential profitability, it gives American Axle a solid position in hybrid technology but also gives Saab a unique and marketable/scalable system to move forward. Those that claim switching from fossil fuels to electric just replaces one evil with another like coal powered electricity are oversimplifying and repeating a fallacy often perpetuated by those conservative groups in the auto industry afraid of losing a foothold on internal combustion components or worse, from oil lobbying groups. Battery recycling technology is advancing at an incredible rate, and the use of safer materials with higher energy densities is on track to explode this decade.

As I have heard little bits and pieces of information coming out of Saab regarding their future plans and goals for hybrid technology, I’m consistently led to the same conclusion- that they plan to assert themselves as leaders in the segment. As I have researched other manufacturers attempts towards the same outcome, I am heartened to see that Saab engineers and partners have made all the right moves over the past year. Whether it be their electric rear axle partnership through e-AAM, ePower concept with Boston Power internals, investigations into lighter components, deals to license BMW engines among future supplier agreements, or hiring the greatest designer in his generation Jason Castriota, Saab is primed for a serious turn around. While I would love to see Saab to do something quick and nimble to release a Hi-Po Saab as a temporary stop gap to give them an edge for consumers looking for that extra bit of power, I think investing too much money a special edition is trivial at this point. Unless Saab wants to directly partner with Hirsch on a limited run of models that could be tweaked past 350hp, meaning using the 2.8L V6 boosted to some higher level, I don’t think they should invest bother with such a model. While this would be a great car for Saab fans, I doubt it would be able to compete with the M5s and S6s of the world and wouldn’t go too far towards Saab’s street credibility. Their focus needs to be on electric propulsion technology, and even though it means you have to wait a little longer, I think it’s a fair price to pay given the reward of increased performance with less fuel consumption.

Finally as I’ve said, the most important and final piece of the puzzle I believe they need to focus on is the brains of the entire arrangement, or the control software allowing everything to work together seamlessly to achieve peak performance, traction, and efficiency. No matter what combination of electric or fossil fueled engines they choose to employ on each future model, the way the power is managed and harmoniously blended to achieve this will give them a crucial, patentable, and sellable component that differentiates themselves from the pack. I’m looking forward to seeing more evidence of their advancements in the months and years to come, and even more so to feeling them from behind the wheel of my 2014 Saab.

R.
Guest
R.
5 years 7 months ago

Alright! Fantastic work, Jeff P and contributors.

Jake
Guest
Jake
5 years 7 months ago

Woah.

I can only say woah.

This is like an essay! Really good points, Jeff! I’m impressed!

Curvin O'Rielly
Guest
Curvin O'Rielly
5 years 7 months ago

Wow!

ARUK
Guest
ARUK
5 years 7 months ago

Incredible!!

benrp
Guest
benrp
5 years 7 months ago

Wow, thats just ridiculas. I don’t think i’ve read a post at SU that long before. Well done to all involved.

PT
Guest
PT
5 years 7 months ago

Thats pretty impressive. I’m going to have to read it a few times just so I can follow it I think. And then perhaps a day or two to sink in before I’ll know my response.

Well done Jeff & the other guys.

GerritN
Guest
GerritN
5 years 7 months ago

Hey Jeff, where is the sketch of my future Saab Sonnet HP two-seater?

Jeff
Guest
Jeff
5 years 7 months ago

It’s coming. I had to finish some real work and sleep at some point 😛

zippy
Guest
zippy
5 years 7 months ago

The references to Victor at the beginning of the posting were spot on and the rest of the article is pure genius. Kudos to everyone who put this fascinating piece together. Now all that needs to be said is ‘someone at Saab please give this man a job!’. 🙂

kochje
Member
4 years 3 months ago

Happy to see hat you dream again with us, Zippy :).

till72
Guest
till72
5 years 7 months ago

Wow. Well done Jeff & Co.

The nice thing about this essay is that in my opinion it’s not too far away from Saabs future plans.

74stingray
Guest
74stingray
5 years 7 months ago

As great as this project was, Jeff did most of the work. I only offered some different viewpoints and some help along the way. It was a lot of fun in our little “skunkworks”

Just wanted to be clear, Jeff certianly deserves all the kudos for this project.

GerritN
Guest
GerritN
5 years 7 months ago

Yes, only Jeff is to blame.

Btw, Till, you’re spot on with your remark. This is exactly why I found this a more interesting proposal than just cranking up the power of an existing car/engine.

Quijote
Guest
Quijote
5 years 7 months ago

Heard its pretty nasty in Australia now! Hope you’re safe from the storm Swade!

Adrian
Guest
Adrian
5 years 7 months ago

Seeing as the Sonnet is being suggested for a 1-series base, it’s worth reminding that the BMW 1.6 lump in question isn’t the 116i engine, but the PSA/BMW joint-venture lump out of the Mini/207/C3.

And a RWD Saab…?

I really can’t see BMW “giving away” such core technology to cars that are, let’s be honest, going to be direct competitors to the 1-coupe and 3.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff
5 years 7 months ago
That was my big concern as well. Which is why I put that model as a 2015-16 release. The idea was to get a foot in the door with the next 92, and then build off that platform the following year. The whole thing with this system is once you master the control software (PCM unit), you can slap the system onto a golf cart or a bus if you wanted to, it would just need recalibration. Once Saab starts to stretch its legs with its torque vectoring software and wheel slip management etc, it should be able to mix… Read more »
Peter
Guest
Peter
5 years 7 months ago

Bravo.

Thylmuc
Guest
Thylmuc
5 years 7 months ago
For now, I think that high power and plug-in hybrids don’t combine well, despite the allegedly sporty Tesla. The problem here is that the electric motors have an energy consumption that correctly reflects their power output, while in combustion engines, this is partly compensated by the efficiency that increases with increasing power output. In other words, you can’t have an electric sports car and drive it too. As soon as you start using the high power of the motor, it drains today’s batteries _very_ quickly. There was a test drive off the Tesla (in Top Gear, iirc) where the testers… Read more »
Jeff
Guest
Jeff
5 years 7 months ago
You are 100% right. In fact, I’d go so far as to analogize it this way- the car is like Popeye the Sailor Man, when it has available battery power, it’s spinached up, when it doesn’t, it behaves like a normally aspirated car. Here are the challenges with that. By carrying around an extra pair of motors (300lbs), controllers (50 lbs), and a battery (300-400lbs), you’re totalling around 750lbs. That’s a lot of extra weight to carry, so you have to ask does it help or is it a lot of dead weight? Having read enough material over the past… Read more »
Thylmuc
Guest
Thylmuc
5 years 7 months ago

Thx for the additional input. Running out of time in considering all aspects 😉

Let me just add one thing: the battery should be replaceble by one with upgraded technology, as we will hopefully see significant advantages in tgis field. I.e. The controller should be constructed in a way that allows different currents, voltages, recharging cycles etc.

GerritN
Guest
GerritN
5 years 7 months ago
There is no way stopping you anymore, is there? The point that you want to make is that it’s OK to drain the batteries quickly once in a while. So what that the range of the Tesla drops from 300m to 90m when you step on it once in a while. On average you are still doing extremely well. There is no end in sight for the battery innovations. Just look at the enormous jumps that were made when laptops needed good batteries and when cell phones had to last more than 2 days on a sliver of battery. If… Read more »
JukkaH
Guest
JukkaH
5 years 7 months ago

Two minor points; the current 9-5 2.0 engine can be easily pushed into 300HP, as far as I know (GM sells tuning parts with factory warranty to push it into 290HP already (from 260HP version)), so no need for BMW 2.0 engine. Secondly, the 8 speed ZF transmission is useless, mostly, in Saab, the thing that’s needed is the upcoming 9 speed ZF transmission which is for transverse engines…

Jeff
Guest
Jeff
5 years 7 months ago

I heard that ZF 9 speed was only for cars under 215HP, so that’s a no go. Given that I don’t suggest releasing this car for almost another 3 years and their website is littered with references to their upcoming HEV Hybrid transmissions, including DCTs for Porsche, I’m sure something will be available.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff
5 years 7 months ago
A couple other things about the GM vs. BMW engine thing- 1. Economies of scale. Increasing Saab’s stake in BMW engines should entitle them to a better deal on the 1.6L units they’re already going to buy. If it doesn’t, well then either they’re already getting the best deal available or something is wrong with BMW. 2. Details on the new 2.0L BMW engine are limited now, but it starts at 240 hp. The old N54 twinturbo inline 6 was very tunable, whereas the new N55 twinscroll single turbo inline 6 is apparently less so. I have a feeling that… Read more »
goose
Guest
goose
5 years 7 months ago

For those who are intested in Spyker’s ownership structure: Mubadala reduced its share (through MDC – SC Holdings S.e.r.l.) in SPyker from 22,77% to 19,98%.

http://www.fd.nl/artikel/21348527/mubadala-brengt-belang-spyker-terug-wft

Mike900
Guest
Mike900
5 years 7 months ago

Sensational work Jeff + Co…. an excellent read.

In my fantasies, this car would be a 3 door hatch or 2 door coupe only…. and it would simply be called “Viggen”

Much like the Nissan Skyline GTR is now simply known as a “GTR”

No numbers… No 9s, or 3s, or 5s… Just “Viggen”

It also fits that this new Viggen (translated : Thunderbolt) would then also be electrically supercharged for lightning performance 😀

Jeff
Guest
Jeff
5 years 7 months ago

I forgot it Viggen meant Thunderbolt. I second your idea 🙂

I do think since the technology is scalable they should be making a version for every platform just as BMW’s M and Mercedes-Benz’s AMG. If there’s a market, sell it, cash in, build coupes for customers like you ready to buy them.

TurboX
Member
4 years 3 months ago

Well Viggen is good for a Name instead of 9-3 ore so… But don’t forgett we got Hirsch 🙂

Jeff
Guest
Jeff
5 years 7 months ago
Finally to answer Swade’s concerns- “I have to say, however, that the budgetary factor is in severe doubt in my mind. This project, despite claims to the contrary, would be gargantuan and involve an incredible amount of money in re-engineering and testing. Yes, the parts might already exist, but do they exist in this context or are you farming parts and making them do slightly different things? And if so, at what point do you consider them reliable for commercial sale in their new application?” You’re right. This project is massive. But its ramifications go to the core of Saab’s… Read more »
GerritN
Guest
GerritN
5 years 7 months ago
With respect to reliability and replacing electric motors. An electric motor is a very simple device, the only real serious thing that can happen to it is that windings just short out or that its bearings break. Because of its high and practically flat torque curve there is no real need for a multiple gear transmission. When it breaks it will be extremely easy to replace, probably not more than an hour. We all love internal combustion engines, but they have become extremely complicated beasts with many complicated parts that can break. Even if only one part breaks catastrophically it… Read more »
Toby
Guest
Toby
5 years 7 months ago
One thing that is of major importance in terms of Hybrid practicality…standardised removable cells-the future is mostl likely based on upgradeable and easily removable standard cells and bays so if you do run out of juice you can slot in a new set from elsewhere (gas/battery station) to save any 30mins-1hr charge time.-clunk click job done-I think that’s the way forward to the cells become as standard as the fuel we use. So many foks say ahh on electric power it would take 6 days to get to Scotland from London-but this idea would mean yoou do it more efficiently… Read more »
Adrian
Guest
Adrian
5 years 7 months ago
There’s a couple of major downsides to that, Toby. First-off is the sheer infrastructure required for the “filling station” to have all those ~250kg battery packs charging at once – think about how many cars use the average filling station in a typical hour. You need that many charged and ready, as well as the ones that are busy charging. Then there’s the cost of installation and maintenance of the manual handling equipment required to remove/refit and transport those battery packs to/from the recharging/stock areas. From cars that’ve got kids bouncing about in them, across forecourts that’re busy with pedestrians… Read more »
Toby
Guest
Toby
5 years 7 months ago
What you say is true currently however imagine that most batteries charge on the run via internal combustion engine/alternator that starts to limit the instant demand for the replacement of empty batteries. So about the same level of chaos on a standard forecourt. Automate the inbound charge and outbound battery bays. (bare in mind this kind of infrastructure will be at least equal to our current fuel infrastructure, even more complex-probably more like a slow moving production line) but the impatient consumer may demand it. They would also pay for it-there would have to be ROI for a comany to… Read more »
ivo 71
Guest
ivo 71
5 years 7 months ago

If someone goes out and costs this then you have a pretty serious preliminary project proposal/feasibility study.

Ivi

Jeff
Guest
Jeff
5 years 7 months ago

Another thing I completely forgot about-

If there are ways to improve efficiency or improve the PCM discovered later through software, you just need to bring your car in for a software update.

For the tuning community, upgrades come through snapping in stronger electric engines and hacking the software. I’d imagine MapTun could be all over this.

Thylmuc
Guest
Thylmuc
5 years 7 months ago

Aside from the batteries themselves, a recharging infrastructure will be the biggest hassle. Believe it or not, my mother (!) years ago already came up with the idea of implanting conductors into the tarmac of at least motorways and bigger country roads, so that electric cars could get their power directly from the line, not from their battery. That will be pretty complicated, but we should not rule out such an approach.

Thylmuc
Guest
Thylmuc
5 years 7 months ago

And I should mention that research on contact-less charging/power supply of cars via induction coils has started iirc in 2010.

GerritN
Guest
GerritN
5 years 7 months ago

Another great way to roast your nuts? LoL

Sandy
Guest
Sandy
5 years 7 months ago

Time’s 50 best innovations of 2010:
Seen this in Shanghai world expo…
This is another experiment along the lines (!)
A lot of alternative propulsion info here

stefan
Guest
stefan
5 years 7 months ago

incroyable! tip of the hat!

G-ran
Guest
G-ran
5 years 7 months ago

Hi Jeff!
Thank’s for a remarkable ride! Bravo!
I have a small question about engines. There will be a new generation of SAAB engines based on the BMW 1.6 liter. When do you think they will start using them? MY 2012 or ..?

Adrian
Guest
Adrian
5 years 7 months ago

AIUI, they’re for the forthcoming 9-1/9-2/little Saab – not for either the 9-3 or 9-5. There’s already the GM 1.6T in the 9-5, and probably coming in the 9-3.

Red J
Member
5 years 7 months ago

Adrian,
from the Saab press release:

oday, Saab Automobile and BMW announced an agreement for the supply of engines to be used in next-generation Saab vehicles. Under the purchase, supply and development agreement, BMW will supply Saab with 4-cylinder 1.6 liter turbocharged gasoline engines from 2012. The engines will be adapted to meet Saab’s specific requirements.

I don’t think that the GM 1.6T would find its way to the NG9-3

Adrian
Guest
Adrian
5 years 7 months ago

D’oh. I’d forgotten the 9-3 was so close to being replaced.

G-ran
Guest
G-ran
5 years 7 months ago

Thank you Adrian and Red J!

Jeff
Guest
Jeff
5 years 7 months ago

This one is for Gerrit, I promised I’d have it up soon.

Here’s the rendering of the proposed 2016 Saab Sonnet HP. Before everyone grills me, this is an extremely rough first draft. The headlights need to be reworked, the grill, etc. I just wanted it up so Gerrit would be happy 😛 Feel free to add suggestions of what you’d like tweaked. Chances are I agree with you and intend to do it myself.

I used JC’s sketch as the initial inspiration and pulled bits from various Saab concepts to piece it all together.

GerritN
Guest
GerritN
5 years 7 months ago

Argh, just dropped my coffee in my lap. That’s so great! Drool, drool, me want so bad………

Thanks, Jeff.
Do you have a higher resolution version?

GerritN
Guest
GerritN
5 years 7 months ago

Not withstanding what Victor Muller is saying, I think that this would fit on a Phoenix platform. It wouldn’t be Sonnett size but rather Corvette size.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff
5 years 7 months ago
At the moment no higher resolution, but I’ll get there. It actually looks better if you make it small and then squint 😛 I’m not loving a lot of details at the moment, but it’s a good place to start and rework. I don’t have my Wacom tablet to use right now so I’m using a mouse, really hampers the drawing aspect of photoshop. I understand what you’re saying that it’s Corvette sized, and not to burst your bubble buuuuut I didn’t intend for the rendering to match the sketch’s proportions. If I make a profile shot, you’ll see just… Read more »
Allan B
Member
4 years 3 months ago

I would buy that Sonett … if I had the cash. It looks great, Bravo. A touch of 60s flair without being too retro.

TP
Guest
TP
5 years 7 months ago

Wow, and incredible amount of work and thoughts went into this. Its a really good contribution to demonstrate how many levers the engieeners at SAAB have to build the next generation of vehicles.

I like the use of Ferraris for comparison on performance, thats what the Halo Car is all about, thinking out of the box and putting the SAAB brand to new highs.

I’ll buythe NG 9-3 opt 3a and retire my Corvette Z06.

StefanH STHLM
Member
4 years 3 months ago

Great work! Havent read it all yet, but I want to. Did a text search to see if the Uppsala company ElectroEngine was involved in any way, and to see the writers opinion about their contribution in the Saab E-Power. Couldnt really find it.
But as far as I know they have a brilliant idea and it was put in use in the ePower.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXGO5tFCCLY&feature=youtu.be
http://www.electroengine.com/

roger
Member
4 years 3 months ago

Bring me an Aero-X hybrid with supercar performance!

kochje
Member
4 years 3 months ago

Make it two.

Avin
Member
4 years 3 months ago

Very very informative. 🙂 I liked all the drivetrain details. Overall excellent effort Jeff. Product maturity is sooooo.. important especially when tech takes a generation leap.

peeceepeh
Member
4 years 3 months ago

Good to see you around Swade and good to read this again.

I can imagine that what is missing is a really fast way to replace the batteries instead of recharging them in the car. It has to be safe so that no batteries will be flying around in case of an accident.

GerritN
Member
4 years 3 months ago

Ah, good ol’ times.

Allan B
Member
4 years 3 months ago

If Jeff can’t persuade people to get with the hybrid and EV program on the strength of this proposal, then nothing will. Another very interesting post and lots of interesting comments!

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