The Future Isn’t So Far Away

As the sale of Saab’s assets to NEVS reaches a head this summer, it will be almost three years since its last sale to Spyker. Amazingly their ownership of Saab feels like a blip in that whole spanse, which was more or less plagued by scandals, production stoppages, and dramatic sales. Yet Spyker was able to initiate several structural changes not only to Saab’s model portfolio through the development of the Phoenix platform, but also structural changes to its work force and third party sourced engineering expertise with companies like eAAM, Vicura, ZF, and True Electric. Three years, and yet here we are, without a Saab to buy and with no real promise that we’ll ever be able to drive a traditional gas powered Saab off a new car dealer lot again.

So what could the next three years bring? Three years ago, Tesla introduced the Model S in a big media splash. The company’s founder, Elon Musk, an internet billionaire, risked his entire fortune on his two startups, SpaceX and Tesla. The former just launched the first successful commercial space flight to dock with the International Space Station, so it’s clear this man can multitask. Some think of him as a cocky arrogant prick, I’m not one of them– he’s a visionary who sees obstacles and blasts through them. We’ve seen the arguments against his company (especially in comments sections of websites including our own) lambasting the company as a fly by night and their first car, the roadster, as a rich man’s go cart. Well, that go cart’s inflated price didn’t hurt sales to those rich men, who in turn helped subsidize the development of their real first car of note, the Model S.

Here’s Musk three years ago, on Letterman explaining his vision.

As he points out, even when the electricity comes completely from coal, the original roadster still emits less CO2 per mile into the atmosphere than a Prius. I wish he’d have mentioned before the commercial break when Dave took a swipe at GM for the Volt’s range that while his car is out of juice at the end of a charge, the Volt can keep running on gas, something most readers here would actually prefer, myself included.

When it came time to develop their first attempt at a ground up car, he hired the best consultants he could find in the industry. From Motor Trend’s piece this weekend on the Model S:

You’re probably snorting and rolling your eyes at the hubris of a guy who daisy-chained a bunch of laptop batteries together to make a Lotus run silently, but trust me — after a walk through the factory, a visit to a dealer showroom, and an hour-and-a-half spent driving the car on a mix of roads, my eyes are wide and my jaw has dropped. Remember, Musk’s Space-X operation just launched a commercial rocket that successfully docked with the international space station. Don’t underestimate his determination, or his ability to lure talent. Examples? In the chassis department, Huibert Mees did the Ford GT’s suspension and Graham Sutherland spent 23 years tuning Lotuses. Manufacturing boss Gilbert Passin ran Toyota’s North American manufacturing engineering operations, and sales veep George Blankenship designed the Apple Stores.

What these engineers were able to do was toss out all the conventional gear that gets in the way of creating the best car possible. Our favorite engineering teams from Trollhättan have a similarly daunting task ahead of them, and already have gotten a running start with the Phoenix platform. But if we study the lessons that the Tesla team provides, there’s incredible reason for optimism. Here’s a very simple example of what advantages the electric system provides:

By ditching the complicated internal combustion system, the weight and structure of the car could be completely designed from the ground up to give the best driving characteristics. The battery is so well designed that it not only lowers the car’s center of gravity, but stiffens the chassis. The structure of the car is completely new, as Motor Trend learned from Tesla’s presentation:

The aluminum structure of stampings, die-castings, and extrusions utilizes expertise from the rocketry division. Extruded rear suspension links (as strong as forgings) and hollow-cast front knuckle designs are claimed automotive innovations, each of which also lowers unsprung weight. Double-octagon extrusions form the front and rear crumple-zone structures, which are claimed to outperform federal standards, especially in back, where the car was impact tested at 50 mph as well as the mandatory 35. The roof crush resistance is also double the requirement (it broke the crush machine), and the rigid battery pack greatly restricts side-impact intrusion.

Tesla even bought a factory and then acquired flexible production tools that allow most parts related to the chassis to be built on site. Fortunately, Saab already has much of this advantage in that most of the tooling is all set to go to build everything in the car, so they can check that off the list of to-dos.

So how does it drive? I’ll let these videos show you instead of talking to you about it.

From GigaOM: Pay attention to the acceleration on the highway when she first merges at 4:10, it was as effortless and nonchalant as any turbo experience I’ve felt in a Saab, the two are no doubt similar. I find the air suspension pretty damn impressive, as these are test run cars with no rattles and build quality exceeding most automakers (these comments coming from seasoned auto journalists).

From Wired: Check out those gorgeous turbine wheels (ahem…Saab had them first) in grey. Keep in mind, if you live in the US, you could have one of these for less than $50K, whereas a 9-5 Aero with less standard features than the Tesla (disregard the range for a moment, more on that later) retailed for nearly $5-7K more at dealers. So as far as price goes, to get into one of these isn’t an insane proposition.

From Engadget: For those of you familiar with Trollhättan from Tim’s great videos driving around showing us the area, this is a great view of Ryan’s neck of the woods on the west coast of the US. If you wondered what the area where most of your software and even hardware is developed looks like, this gives you a pretty good idea of Silicon Valley. And the Model S is pretty much the ultimate vision of what a car from this area would be like. He doesn’t drive quite as fast as Katie does on the 101 though, so I put him last :).

If you’ve made it this far and watched the videos, you’ll understand why I put them there. If not, scroll back up and watch them when you have time. For skeptics of electric cars like me, it takes time and proof of seeing them operate, not only well but beautifully, to appreciate what future Saab might soon have. I encourage you all to read up as much as possible about the Model S since it provides the template for where NEVS will need to take Saab. While I’d like to see more than electric cars in Saab’s range (PHEV or EREVs please), I can honestly say I’d be upset if Saab didn’t fully embrace electric propulsion. Tesla intends to use a through the road AWD system similar to eXWD as a bolt on solution for their SUV based on the Model S, the Model X. After that’s introduced, Tesla’s aiming to go big with a mass market EV priced for the mainstream, around $30K. All the profits they reap from the Model S will go a long way in helping them defer development costs and the infrastructure work they’re investing in, like the quick charge stations along the roads between major cities to allow for 150 mile top ups in under 30 minutes with their cars’ built in chargers.

Three years ago, the Model S was lambasted as a pipe dream. Now it’s breaking through convention, expectation, and preconceived notions of what a car can and should be. Hopefully Saab with its engineering and production capability can excel in a similar way, and in less than three years we can have our own moment of triumph. It comes down to a few key things: creativity, capability, and capital. We know that NEVS has access to the first two in Trollhättan and possibly Japan, hopefully they have enough of the third to keep things going smooth this time. For an example of a company that has stumbled as of late on the third, you’ll have to wait until my next installment on Fisker coming soon.

Coke is it
Member
4 years 3 months ago

I’m not against electric cars. They are the future and will have the performance we want to have in a Saab.

What I don’t like is the limited driving range and the price of the cars.

Jasza
Member
4 years 3 months ago

500 km of Tesla. The range is good enough for me. Go for it SAAB, go for it.

aa
Member
4 years 3 months ago

500 km? The maximum battery gives you around 200 km and sets you back $85.000. So yes, Model S is a nice car but definitely not competitive neither in price or range compared to a gasoline or diesel.

Red J
Member
4 years 2 months ago

aa,
if you write facts, then please write the right ones. The Tesla S with the $85k price tag gives you 300 miles (482 km). And if you don’t want the performance extras you can get the car for $70k.

Even the EPA rating of that car is 265 miles (426 km), which is twice the value you are assuming.

I don’t care about Tesla, but facts should be quoted correctly.

aa
Member
4 years 2 months ago

Sorry, I had messed up the numbers.

RS
Member
4 years 2 months ago

Red, any thought how the EPA rating transfers to real life motorway driving? Say you use max power a few times before going to cruise mode and doing a steady 130 km/h.
I’d image the figures are fairly tiptoe driving in lab conditions.

leriksso
Member
4 years 3 months ago
Just cos NEVS bought SAAB It does not mean we have to like them, right? It doesn’t mean we have to believe in what they try to do to SAAB, right? My hesitation to NEVS are based on my love for SAAB … as I’m shore some people base their faith on NEVS for just the same reason. But everybody has a right to have their own opinion, right? I’m not afraid to change my opinion one day if I find out that I have been wrong. SAAB/NEVS are a market driven company, and then they should just ask them… Read more »
Zach Friend
Member
4 years 2 months ago

Guys please check out CODA for a more Saab-like approach to EVs

900 classic cab
Guest
4 years 3 months ago

I’ve been following this company for a few months and along with Fisker, they seem very promising. It was also nice to see the launch of Model S live on internet last friday.

perret
Member
4 years 3 months ago

Great Article, Jeff, and i could’nt agree more, hopefully Saab/NEVS can do something like Tesla in three years time… and hopefully it won’t be too late. The Tesla presentation was really impressive…

K. Nassiri
Member
4 years 3 months ago

If anyone can do it it’s our beloved Trolls.

Though, felt a bit of a bad omen when in the video they drove past Solyndra.

Undertaker
Member
4 years 2 months ago

The trolls are already away.
If you think of consultant companys started up with ex. Saab engineers they are less then 400 people and critical mass to develop a car in the past was app. +1000 engineers that we had on Saab before bankruptcy.
Rest of the engineers have new assignments and I think they will not go back to “NEVS” so easy.

phermansson
Member
4 years 3 months ago

Half way through the first video I felt “I want that car” 🙂
Imagine a car like that but with Saabs “a little better and smarter than the rest”.

Zach Friend
Member
4 years 3 months ago
I really appreciate Tesla, instead of putting a lackluster, ugly yet affordable EV car to market like CODA they are going at it the right way. Make it appealing to the “management” and then work your way down. It has been Tesla’s goal all along to make an EV for the masses they are just going about it the most secure way that they can think to do it. NEVSaab needs to enter the market with that standard happy EV medium of $35-40k though or it will fail, as IMHO the the tech already exists to make these cars more… Read more »
Red J
Member
4 years 3 months ago
It is a very interesting car, with a not so interesting interior. But I think the Tesla X is more interesting. The Model S is the first of many to come. There are other interesting BEVs on the pipeline, and in some countries the charging infrastructure starts to be a reality. For me, the only problem right now is the price. The Tesla S may start at $49.9k, but for the big Battery you have to pay $20k on top. I don’t think that a BEV-only strategy is the right way to go now for a company that wants to… Read more »
phermansson
Member
4 years 3 months ago

The 17″ touch screen was interesting! Much better than the common clutter of small buttons.

Red J
Member
4 years 3 months ago

the 17″ screen is indeed interesting, the whole rest not, IMO.

SaabLife
Member
4 years 3 months ago

Considering how much the Volt ($31,645) Leaf ($27,700), iMiev ($21,625) cost, I really wonder how a Saab EV is really going to work out cost wise with Tesla/Fisker covering the high-end and all of the other manufacturers covering the lower end (BMW/Volvo).

Heck, even these three cars are coming no-where near the expected sales figures GM/Nissan/Mitsubishi to top that off.

LG Aero
Member
4 years 3 months ago
Sorry folks, this is still pie in the sky ! The price is not $49,900 but rather assumes a tax credit of $7,500 to get to that price. That comes with a 40kWh battery pack. The 85 kWh battery pack model was quoted at $77K. So we can see there is no free lunch here. 45 kWh more battery is $20,000 more. And that is aggressive pricing for the battery system. That means that the battery pack is over $35,000 alone. Yet we have people posting that Saab/NEVS need to sell the entire car for that price. It is fantasy… Read more »
zippy
Member
4 years 2 months ago

+1

spacy
Guest
4 years 2 months ago

The other great question is, when your EV has covered, say, £120k miles, do you spend a great deal replacing the batteries or sell ‘as is’, and if the later, what would a buyer/someone pay, knowing they would have to spend a fortune on new batteries.

hans h
Member
4 years 2 months ago

I think THIS is the really interesting point. If it is too expensive to replace the batteries, what will happen? Will anyone want to buy a used electric car where the batteries might be at their end?
Will Tesla (or NEVS) buy the car back for the exchange?
Or will the car be scrapped?

This is something that must be really clear if the consumers are going to persuaded to risk buying a battery powered car.

Red J
Member
4 years 2 months ago

This is why I do like the Renault or Smart way better.

If you buy on the new Renault Z.E. you will have to lease the Battery, so you will never have a “dead” Battery.

JerseySaab
Member
4 years 2 months ago

You will also never be free of regular payments.

Red J
Member
4 years 2 months ago

Yes, but would be like paying $2 per gallon to Saab and $1 to Exxon or BP instead of $3 to Exxon. 😉

JerseySaab
Member
4 years 2 months ago

Don’t forget you also need to pay for the electricity to charge the batteries, last time I checked it was not free. In fact unless capacity of the grid is ramped up to meet the increased demand, if electric cars become popular the cost of electricity would probably rise due to the principle of supply and demand.

Red J
Member
4 years 2 months ago

Jersey,
that is just what I’m saying. You pay a certain amount of your energy costs as battery lease to the car manufacturer and a smaller part to the energy supplier.

Today with a petrol car you pay all the money to the energy supplier.

JerseySaab
Member
4 years 2 months ago
It is not clear at all that the ongoing energy costs for an electric are going to be lower than gas or diesel, particularly if governments start seeing the cash cow they have in fossil fuels start to diminish. Right now they offer subsidies, but that costs them money. I have no doubt that once they have coerced enough people into electrics they will crank up the taxes on electricity as well to make up the lost revenue. Additionally, a battery lease raises the spectre of having to make regular payments on a battery pack even if the car itself… Read more »
Skipper
Member
4 years 3 months ago
OK so I partly buy into the BEV idea, BUT if Saab want to sell 100,000 cars I think they would need to cost a fraction of what a Tesla costs and have a far better range too! At the moment, and I believe for the next decade at least, the majority of potential car buyers will still want something that runs on petrol/diesel, possibly even hybrid. It seems as though Tesla are making costly vehicles for a small minority of car buyers, the ones with lots of money who will use such a car as a play thing or… Read more »
lmg
Member
4 years 3 months ago
Nice videos EVs are coming, no matter we like it or not. Tesla might have just have found the sweetspot in the automotive revolution we are just about to embark on, i.e. electrification. Worth to mention is also that the Tesla share has been doing rather well since it was introduced on NASDAQ in 2010 – better than index. What is interesting with Tesla is their timing. Maybe they can cut a market share large enough with Model S/X to survive and thrive before the big boys arrive to electric game. Which they will. Have a look at youtube on… Read more »
RS
Member
4 years 3 months ago
We’re not even allowed to use cabin heaters in the parking lot during the coldest period because the fuses pop. I’m not so sure about the grid either ones you plug-in hundred thousand EV’s when it’s -25 C. Anyone seen the video where it’s explained how the UK have to lend capacity from the French powerplants at the time when the Brits turn on the evening tea kettle. Last fall there was a storm here that cut the electricity for days for tens of thousands of people. We’d better buy some hi-po diesel generators before our next new (Saab) if… Read more »
Niklas G
Member
4 years 3 months ago

Nice to see in that Wired-videoclip that Tesla has brought back the reversed back seats of the Saab 95 Estate

Dan P
Member
4 years 3 months ago

I’d have one of these in a heartbeat – forward thinking engineering, unafraid to challenge conventions, looks good, drives well and performs spectacularly. If anything, NEVS are a little too late to this party!

alwaysSaab
Member
4 years 3 months ago

Must say the design of the car is quite nice, looks a bit like those up-market Aston Martin. The detailed interior and “engine compartment” are unfortunately, not shown in the videos. Guess plenty of electronic metering to show status of the charge and vehicle operating conditions. For a normal internal combustion engine user, there will be a fair amount of adjustment for the switch, I supposed.

Just wondering, when the accelerator is floored, is there a louder sound from the “engine” like what we have from a Saab?

Red J
Member
4 years 3 months ago

You can find pictures of the interior here
Endgadget Gallery

And if you go to picture 33 you will see the engine bay, or what you will find after raising the front hood. 😉

alwaysSaab
Member
4 years 3 months ago

Thank you, appreciate it.

Niklas G
Member
4 years 3 months ago
>The detailed interior and “engine compartment” are unfortunately, not shown in the videos. Actually, both the “engine compartment” and the modernized version of the Saab 95 reversed rear seats were dhown shortly in the Wired-video. Some parts of the interior that I could have been more beautifully designed in my opinion, but most of it looked quite nice, and as a whole, I like the Tesla car loads more than any (“post Saab”) car from GM, for example. If NEVS manages to take some of the best properties of that car and combine it with typical Saab safety, comfortable and… Read more »
MariusGTV
Member
4 years 3 months ago
I am still not convinced that the BEV is the saviour of the automotive industry some would have us believe but one thing i did like about the Tesla is at least it looks like a car! I can’t stand the current trend that if a car is a hybrid or full electric it has to look like a a box of batteries with wheels. The Prius, the Leaf et al, all look so boring and awful that I just could not buy one even if I did think they were the way to go. The limited life of the… Read more »
Onslow
Member
4 years 3 months ago

Don’t forget that Tesla has received 465 million USD in grants and loans from the US government and some press reports say they are asking for more. If needed, will the Swedish government do the same for NEVS?

Aerobic
Member
4 years 3 months ago
Batteries don’t last for ever. If a battery pack lasts three years and costs ££££££ to replace, these electric cars will have NO resale value. How often do you hear car owners saying things like “I’m not going to spend £600 on a car that’s only worth £1000”? Except for an electric car it will be “I’m not going to spend £3000 on a car that’s worth nothing”! Petrol is very cheap, it’s the tax that makes it expensive. Governments cannot afford to lose money, so electric cars will be taxed to compensate for any losses from low petrol sales.… Read more »
MichelD
Member
4 years 3 months ago

Batteries lifetime should be in the range of 7 years with the new technologies.

Red J
Member
4 years 3 months ago

If the lifetime is 7 Years and Tesla is offering 8 Years battery warranty, you can always have a new battery pack for free every 7 Years. 😎

RS
Member
4 years 3 months ago
That is, if they can afford it or are even around at that point. At the moment it appears like there is just one hyped premium EV manufacturer but ones everyone start doing them incl. the big name BMW, MB, Porsche, Jaguar, Aston Martin, Ferrari etc. who’s going to be interested in a Tesla that cannot compete on price without big volumes? NEVS better start building SAABs people can really buy ASAP. The Japanese and German companies won’t take any prisoners ones the EV business takes off. The question is will NEVS be a mass producer of cars or not.… Read more »
Red J
Member
4 years 2 months ago

As master Yoda says:

The future always in movement is.

Timeshifter
Member
4 years 2 months ago

+1

ivo 71
Member
4 years 2 months ago

Wasn’t Master Yoda a phantasy character? Maybe a robot powered by those elusive mega-long-range batteries?

🙂

Ivo

LG Aero
Member
4 years 2 months ago

Remember that the battery warranty will prorate against the use you got. So if it has an 8 year warranty and fails at 7 years you will still need to pay 85% of the cost of the new battery.

Red J
Member
4 years 2 months ago

You know this, or is this the way warranties work where you live?

Where I live, if a part fails during warranty time I get it replaced for free, but I don’t know if this is normal in the world.

LG Aero
Member
4 years 2 months ago

The proration of wear items i.e tires and batteries ist common. However all major electric vehicle companies have been very undefined as to what a defective battery is. Generally they are specifically stating that a degradation of battery capacity over time is normal. So effectively range goes down overtime. But there are many exclusions to the warranty regarding how you charge and store the battery. In those cases the warranty is denied completely.

This issue of degradation and charging factors is familiar to anyone who runs a laptop or cell phone. THe difference is just the magnitude of the replacement costs.

Red J
Member
4 years 2 months ago

I don’t know the terms and conditions of the Battery warranty by Tesla, but if it is the way you are telling, then it is not really worth a cent.

JerseySaab
Member
4 years 3 months ago

Seven years is not a very long time. What happens after that, scrap the car because new batteries cost more than the vehicle is worth?

GerritN
Member
4 years 3 months ago
What’s usually killing a traditional car nowadays is the engine parts failing one after the other. The quality of the coach work and underpinnings has improved dramatically over the last 20 years, if you take reasonable care of your car it can last easily 20 years. There are tiny things that break, like window regulators, but those can be replaced rather inexpensively. The big repair costs start when bits and pieces of the engine break. A water pump here, a turbo there, coolant leaks, oil leaks, clutch, etc. etc. Because of the complexity of the engine and difficult replacement, this… Read more »
JerseySaab
Member
4 years 2 months ago

The difference is that today I can buy a used vehicle and make needed repairs myself at low cost over the remaining life of the car. With an electric car the motors and control circuitry are not the problem, it’s the batteries. The possibility (certainty?) of having to suddenly replace batteries costing thousands of dollars on a car that is really not very old (such as the 7 years mentioned), let alone on a much older vehicle, is going to be a killer.

GerritN
Member
4 years 2 months ago
Maybe the difference is not that big. A 10 year old car will take roughly $2,000 per year to maintain properly. This amount will be half if you do all the repairs yourself, but not everyone is willing or able to wrench themselves. A battery pack currently costs $10,000-$20,000(?), so if you would lease the pack over a 7 year period then the cost would be pretty close to keeping an old traditional car on the road. As big battery pack hit the main stream it is expected that the price will drop dramatically, especially if newer materials become available.… Read more »
JerseySaab
Member
4 years 2 months ago

Big difference doing small repairs and inexpensive maintenance over time versus having to shell out a large amount all at once. What will be the value of a ten year old used car that needs a $10,000 battery pack to be usable? (As far as battery costs dropping dramatically, that’s in the “I’ll believe it when I see it” department.)

Snowshoe
Member
4 years 2 months ago

Battery packs will probably be more modular and can be replaced in those parts that have degenerated instead of replacing a monolith. In this way the life span of the battery investment is longer.
The work of replacing the batteries will in itself be a cost though.

JerseySaab
Member
4 years 2 months ago

If one section of a battery pack fails, can the rest be far behind? There will be some variation of course but I would expect most cells of the same age to start failing near the same time.

TonymacUK
Member
4 years 3 months ago

Well, I`m impressed. But what worrries me about EVs in general is the performance. 0 – 60 in less than 6 secs in the hands of someone who struggles with a vehicle that takes 12 secs – there will be a lot of accidents waiting to happen.

artizangbr
Member
4 years 3 months ago
Since NEVS came the new owners and the talk of using Japanese EV technology I, like most assumed this would be Toyota. Afterall they are the market leader by a huge margin and who else is there, right?. Well after some casual web surfing at the weekend, mainly looking at alternatives for cars I came across the Honda Clarity FCX. This is something I saw on Top Gear a few years ago and was very impressed unitl the point that it is only for California as a test fleet. Powered by Hydrogen you fill up just the same way as… Read more »
Aero1
Member
4 years 3 months ago

SAAB has always been a leader in technology, has never followed the so called leader, but they also knew when to take chances and when not to.

I agree the future is right around the corner and new and better for the environment technology will eventually be the norm, but to me a SAAB has been and always be a SAAB, not an overpriced acessory or a toy car, but a real SAAB!

Eagle63
Member
4 years 3 months ago

It will get interesting once you can fully recharge in 10 min or less…

Niklas G
Member
4 years 2 months ago

Long ago I read about some plans/suggestions for making the batteires easily replacable, so that the car, instead for waiting for time-consuming recharging, stops at a machine that automatically and relatively fast disconnects the battery for charging and replaces it with a fully charged battery.

LG Aero
Member
4 years 2 months ago
The replaceable battery pack COULD be the answer. However it would mean every car would have to follow utilizing the same type of battery pack which fastened in the car the same way. It could also change the dynamics of costing because rather than buying a car with a battery pack you would instead sign a transfer lease agreement with a consortium of companies that would operate all the battery replacement stations. The battery packs could be very smart and report how much you charged them and you would get a monthly bill for battery rental and battery swaps. Imagine… Read more »
Dan P
Member
4 years 2 months ago

Sounds sensible enough – a bit like swapping the gas bottle for your barbeque here in Aus, which we already do at the servo!

Mark
Member
4 years 3 months ago
I’ve got nothing directly against NEVS wanting to build electric cars or even electric Saabs for that matter. It’s just that NEVS appears to have a distinct case of tunnel vision. All it can seem to see is that buyers might magically flock to an electric Saab 2 or 3 years down the track, when logic predicts that that will most likely be far from the case. It will be a long time before electric cars are for the masses and longer still before they dominate the market. If NEVS wants to be a Swedish Tesla, that might be fine… Read more »
Skipper
Member
4 years 3 months ago

LOL !!!! Yes, I couldn’t have put it better myself! Tesla do not make cars for the masses, they cost far too much. It is going to be a really long time before such vehicles become a viable option for most of us, therefore I hope they have a “Plan B”, otherwise I fear that they will just go bust. Yes let’s hope that Mahindra comes up with some ideas to tide them over until the world is ready!

davidsblumberg
Member
4 years 3 months ago

Absolutely LOVE the Model S! I would buy it in a heartbeat just for the looks. Being electric makes it even more awesome. I definitely want to see Saab create their own electric vehicles, with that troll-flair only found in Saab vehicles 🙂

MichelD
Member
4 years 3 months ago

Batteries lifetime should be around 7 years.

maanders
Member
4 years 3 months ago
I also admire what Tesla is doing and am glad they have a very committed owner and LOTS of cash to take the long range approach to making this work and do the right design and development work. It still remains to be seen whether they can make it profitable long term (and has been pointed out, they have received some subsidies to help), but I admire what they have done and the technology. My concern for NEVS and Saab going down the same path exclusively (if they do not add hybrids, etc.) is that Tesla has a 3+ year… Read more »
dickerin
Member
4 years 3 months ago

The other aspects of the future that are here now are the new record high temperatures in the U.S. and new data showing that sea levels are rising faster than expected on the eastern seaboard (where many wealthy people have vacation homes).

The consistency of these effects will soon convince more and more people that it is time to doing something to alter our path toward calamity.

People will buy electric cars.

JerseySaab
Member
4 years 3 months ago

People will buy electric cars.

I won’t. The natural phenomenon of variable climate will not stop if some do.

Skipper
Member
4 years 3 months ago

The world is going to end one day and it matters not how many trees we hug!

JerseySaab
Member
4 years 3 months ago

You got it! Even the “godfather” of global warming, scientist/environmentalist James Lovelock, is now referring to the greens’ alarmism as so much drivel.

LG Aero
Member
4 years 2 months ago

The sky is falling !!!!
Natural phenomenon of variable climate is so true Way to put it Jersey Saab !!

By the way how could the oceans only rise on the eastern seaboard ? It is one big body of water for the whole world. .

davidgmills
Member
4 years 2 months ago

Total bunk. If what you say is true why were the vast majority of high temperatures in the US during the dustbowl days of the 1930’s? The 2000’s were unusually benign. This is data from NOAA, read it and weep:

?w=640&h=480

LG Aero
Member
4 years 2 months ago

David,
Apparently you were not aware that Al Gore has declared this issue settled science and not further debate was possible. Why did you have come forward with facts. Makes it all very messy to deal with!

davidgmills
Member
4 years 2 months ago
Sad thing is at one time I thought “An Inconvenient Truth” was a great documentary. Until I ran across some astrophysicists by the names of Henrik Svensmark (Danish), Jasper Kirkby (British), Nir Shaviv (Israeli), Habibullio Abdussamatov (Russian) and some others who espouse the theory that 20th century warming was caused by an abnormally magnetic sun. And at the end of the 20th century the sun began to go into a magnetic funk. The last time it did this was called the Maunder Minimum which occurred from about 1645 -1710 during a period called the little ice age. Abdussamatov believes we… Read more »
davidgmills
Member
4 years 2 months ago
Svensmark’s theory is that a magnetic sun protects the earth from cosmic radiation and cosmic rays cause clouds to form. So when the sun’s magnetic output is weak, the greater bombardment of cosmic rays causes more clouds and the earth gets colder. Nir Shaviv has shown that when the solar system travels through the Milky Way’s spiral arms, the solar system gets heavily bombarded with cosmic radiation and we have ice ages and when we are in between the spiral arms we have ice free periods. Jasper Kirkby heads a project at CERN called Clouds where they use CERN’s collider… Read more »
Antuanij
Member
4 years 3 months ago

On the Engadgets video is it new SAAB 9-5 Laser Red ? time 11:08.

Red J
Member
4 years 3 months ago

No, its not.
It is just a Tesla Model S.

gavin beattie
Member
4 years 3 months ago

One of the most encouraging aspects is in the development of the power units. Here in Scotland a professor at St Andrews University has been doing some rather interesting work, it may be worth looking at what he his predicting on both costs and range that can be achieved.

He is Peter Bruce Professor of Chemistry at EaSTCHEM (Edinburgh and St Andrew Research School of Chemistry)

MichelD
Member
4 years 3 months ago

Great Article, Jeff. Many of us have concerns about the price of EV. Yes expensive today.
Accelerated R&D and production volume will push down the cost of batteries. It is technology and just look at what happen in computer related components in the last few years.
I have more concerns about the ongoing cost of hybrids cars that full electric cars.

Mark
Member
4 years 3 months ago

Tesla has been making a loss for many years and requires many subsidies. It is only the artificial tax environment that can make people consider BEVs for the foreseeable future.

The ironic thing is that when EVs are popular the tax breaks will disappear and EVs will become even more impractical than they are already.

I remain to be convinced that NEVS can succeed outside an artificial Chinese market as the infrastructure for EVs is severely lacking in the West.

And whats more is it so environmentally friendly to have battery powered cars? I think not.

hans h
Member
4 years 2 months ago

Using a bettery powered car is very friendly to the environment locally around the car. And before you laugh, remember what traffic jam looks like. Remember what Chinese, or other major cities looks like nowadays. The air in Beijing is almost impossible to breathe. Battery powered cars will make a great impact on air pollution locally, close to traffic jams.

Mark
Member
4 years 2 months ago
i can agree with you in terms of pollution around the car compared to ICE based engines although I think the quality of those cars in Beijing is well below what is possible. My concerns are the environmental impact of producing billions of car batteries and disposal there of, along with additional environmental cost of producing BEVs. With replacement cycle times for the batteries much lower than the average car lifetime it would seem the impact is not at all insignificant. It is great PR to say a BEV is green with zero emissions but we know that is not… Read more »
Antuanij
Member
4 years 3 months ago

I do not know what with my hands..
Wanted to write, that it looks like.

randy
Member
4 years 3 months ago

FISKER..Would be the best of both worlds. lower the price, add styling, put saab on it!

saabluster
Member
4 years 2 months ago

Love love love that Tesla! Seating for seven in a car that looks that hot while having outstanding handling? Not sure how much I would enjoy the interior but the package is so compelling. I’d be happy for Saab to take exactly what they have there and tweak the styling to be more Saaby and the interior to be properly designed. Do that and we would have a winner.

Niklas G
Member
4 years 2 months ago

+1

Aerobic
Member
4 years 2 months ago

I wonder how far I could get in an electric car with a small Honda generator in the boot and a set of jump leads?

Romac
Member
4 years 2 months ago
zippy
Member
4 years 2 months ago

Seems to me that all this EV bunkum is most definitely NOT the way to go.

Romac
Member
4 years 2 months ago

Any one else notice that Tesla has an “Inside Tesla” section? Obviously these guys are switched on 😉

OddJob
Member
4 years 2 months ago

Obviously they’ve copied Swade : (

JasonPowell
Member
4 years 2 months ago

In fairness I think their blog has been up since 2006

OddJob
Member
4 years 2 months ago
Well guys, before we change name to TeslaUnited I’d like to point out a few things. The Tesla is a nice car but it’s not priced similarly to the 9-5 Aero and it doesn’t have a matching equipment even at twice the price ( and today you can buy an Aero for even less), At 87.900 you’ll get a Tesla with leather upholstery, but even if you pay the 97,900 for the top model you won’t get four-wheel drive with torque vectoring. Tesla has been heavily subsidised by government and “green money” during many years. (I may be wrong here… Read more »
leriksso
Member
4 years 2 months ago

was just sking myself if this become “TesslaUnited”… 🙁

And if I just comment some notes from the net about charging cars:
“If the battery become “drain-out”…real lowbat it’s dead ? correct ? batterys will not be a lowprice product.
” charging time at home between 8 and 12 hours”…(well just hope for no overtime this week)
If all cars become pure electric …what about power prosuction..electricy come today from coal, wather,oil and wind.
How do the everiment handel the market…do we not just move “the probelm” ..

paddan
Member
4 years 2 months ago

SAABSLA!
Please.

FinnFemFel
Member
4 years 2 months ago
“Someone claimed the temperature was rising rapidly and that we would soon have to wear boots to work (because the sea would rise), and davidgmills quietly pointed out that this is just not happening.” Weather is what we have today – climate is what the next generation will have. As usually people have huge issues relating to anything that is not part of (or clearly visible in) their *own* comfortable life *today*. Anyway… Have we reached status quo regarding the new owner of what was formerly known as Saab Automobile AB? They will during the next few months hire people… Read more »
JerseySaab
Member
4 years 2 months ago

Weather is what we have today – climate is what the next generation will have.

But the doomsayers are claiming that today’s weather is “proof” of their pet doomsday prophecies. You can’t have it both ways.

davidgmills
Member
4 years 2 months ago
I had two long posts that seem to be missing because they had links to videos and required moderation. I don’t see them yet. But my post was far mores specific about four astro-physicists, Henrik Svensmark (Danish), Jasper Kirkby (British), Nir Shaviv (Israeli) and Habibullio Abdussamustov (Russian) who propose that earth’s climate changes have been caused not by CO2 but by significant magnetic changes in the sun. Svensmark’s theory is that clouds are increased by cosmic radiation and cosmic radiation increases when the magnetic output of the sun shrinks the heliosphere which protects the planets from cosmic radiation. During the… Read more »
Bryan Kazes
Member
4 years 2 months ago
Before breaking out the Birkenstocks there really needs to be some NON “saving the Bolivian spotted jungle gnat” research done by anyone that feels I’ll be swimming from New Hampshire to Boston anytime soon or that we go buy SPF 560 next year. (and we have WAY more than 50 years of oil left) There is nothing anyone on this planet will ever be able to do to stop its destruction or to fix all it’s problems. And for the record….I’m quite positive there were ZERO fossil fuel burning, CO2 emitting items on the earth for the last ice age… Read more »
Carma
Member
4 years 2 months ago
Re: The future aint so far away; Allow me to quote from song of the seventies by a favourite artist of mine, John Prine, Living in the future: “We are living in the future I’ll tell you how I know I read it in the paper Fifteen years ago We’re all driving rocket ships And talking with our minds And wearing turquoise jewelry And standing in soup lines” Personally I am a zen-person and I feel that when people try to make futuristic designs, those designs tend to grow old very fast. And most cars today are sold/marketed as some… Read more »
TonymacUK
Member
4 years 2 months ago

I don`t think of myself as being a zen person, but I know exactly what you mean; well put and so refreshing after wading through some of the stuff that`s being posted in response to Jeff`s piece, Carma – I remember the song , too!

hughw
Member
4 years 2 months ago
Jeff, I get most of what you say and where this is heading. I don’t doubt: 1. EVs can be performance cars. 2. EV can be completive with petrol cars. 3. Battery technology is evolving. Battery life will be longer. Capacity will be greater 4. Battery costs will come down enough so that replacement isn’t a make or break problem. But what I don’t get is the question of range for the foreseeable future, or at least for the next 4 years or so that I would keep a new car. Until there’s infrastructure in place to provide a quick… Read more »
TonymacUK
Member
4 years 2 months ago

Or in the winter with heater and wipers going and lights on, not to mention the radio/CD player.

ehallii
Member
4 years 2 months ago

I think one distinction needs to be made, electric car vs battery power. Electric car, maybe……battery powered, NO. Range is still the main problem with recharge time and battery disposal significant problems also. I would consider an electric/hybrid car if powered by an ic engine or fuel cell, I honestly would not want it but eventually there may not be an alternative. I truly dread that day.

ivo 71
Member
4 years 2 months ago

So why don’t I see any serious comments about hydrogen propulsion? It’s market-ready. BMW has/had a fleet of H-powered cars on the road for years. And a grid of H-pumps cannot be any harder to create than setting up a high-speed charging elecrical grid next to the existing grid.

Moreover, hydrogen engines are just about the most environmentally friendly technology for poiwering cars and trucks you can have. They emit water, for pete’s sake…

Ivo

Red J
Member
4 years 2 months ago

Because Hydrogen cars are still not ready for the road.
BMW was burning Hydrogen in a conventional IC engine, not the best of both worlds. GM, Honda, Hyunday, Toyota and Mercedes have hydrogen electric prototypes, but although Honda leases the FCX Clarity in California, there are still some issues to solve regarding hydrogen transport and storage.

saabyurk
Member
4 years 2 months ago

Not that simple. Escaped hydrogen, which is unavoidable, poses a serious environmental threat. Not to mention that the inefficient processes for producing hydrogen would result in much more energy consumption compared to battery power. And, most hydrogen is currently produced from fossil sources, not from water like most assume.
One source:
www_dot_pbs_dot_org/newshour/science/hydrogen/environment_dot_html

ivo 71
Member
4 years 2 months ago

Why is using hydrogen as fuel in an IC engine not the best of both worlds? Hydrogen and air in, water out…

Ivo

Red J
Member
4 years 2 months ago

Noise, torque curve, hi thermal load, issues with the storage and transport of hydrogen…
Yes there are positive sides, but you also inherit the bad things of both worlds, imho.

davidgmills
Member
4 years 2 months ago

Hydrogen is the smallest element, and thus very hard to capture and keep captured, especially when it is under pressure. It really wants to leak out of any container.

Jarkko
Member
4 years 2 months ago

And how to produce hydrogen commercially? And how to distribute it to the consumers?

Jarkko
Member
4 years 2 months ago

NEVS plans to build an electric version of the Saab 9-3 at the Saab’s factory in Trollhättan in Sweden for launch late 2013 or early 2014. “The electric 9-3 is the first and major thing that will occur,” Ostlund of NAVS said.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/article/20120627/ANE/120629921#ixzz1z0o92rn6

Saabheart
Member
4 years 2 months ago
I work at GE and in my building there are many people doing research in battery technology. The performance and practicality of an electric car is really hard to dispute, it’s just the range and weight that is the hang up. I say, if these brilliant minds here, or others world-wide working on new battery technology, can find that big breakthrough we are all hoping for, then electric cars are going to be flying off the shelves. Just think if that Tesla Model S went from 4700lbs to 4200lbs, or extended the range by 100 miles. Wow. Just wow. There… Read more »
jonthaa
Guest
4 years 2 months ago
In about three years I will be in the market for a new convertible. If NEVS have an electrical one by then, I will consider it. Just as I will consider Tesla’s convertible when it hits the market (if it features a soft top). Yes, I realize it won’t be cheap to buy. But I have no problems with a range between 200 and 300 km, and I don’t have a problem paying the very reduced electricity bill to operate the car and the equally reduced bill for its maintenance. By the time I exchange my diesel engined 9-3 for… Read more »
Troels, Denmark
Member
4 years 2 months ago

+++

davidgmills
Member
4 years 2 months ago

My electric bill for my house is much more than my gas bill for two cars and there is no way my house uses near as much energy as my two cars. And I live in Memphis with cheap electrical service because of the TVA.

jonthaa
Guest
4 years 2 months ago
One should not use electricity for heating purposes – it’s incredibly inefficien. It’s bad enough people have the tendency to solve heating by installing AC (instead of first insulating properly, installing shades on the outside, …), but it makes no sense at all to use electricity in your buildings’ heating system (unless you have a passive house with solar panels that fuel a heat pump, or you have a building that requires so little energy to heat that another system than electrical would represent too much overhead). Then again, I’m afraid that Europe’s POV is a bit different than America’s.… Read more »
Chris_de_Ze
Member
4 years 2 months ago

I can see an electric car as attractive only if it is a pure city car, e.g. the new Smart fortwo electric drive.
It has a range of 150Km and it takes 7 hours to be fully charged from the house grid.
0-100kph in 11.5 secs, max speed 125Km/h. Not bad for a pure city car.

leriksso
Member
4 years 2 months ago
The whole idea of ​​electric cars are suppose to protect the environment. Electricity is perishable, therefore it is consumed at the instant it is produced. El produseras with nuclear, hydro, coal and oil power plants and wind power, and some other smaller roads. Since an expansion of nuclear power is considered dangerous, coal and oil is bad for the environment and wind and water provides for large destructive interference with nature and the ecosystem. . With a fleet of about 6 million in Sweden (registered vehicles) that should be loaded, as with regular consumption does not mean that we urgently… Read more »
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