Last night I was staying in Malmo and I mentioned here on site that I was going to do something very exciting today. Much speculation ensued, however none of it was on the money.
Truth be told, I did a few nice things in Malmo this morning. I woke up. I went for a walk with my wife and then caught up with Dave R from England, who was on his way to Trolllhattan for the festival. That was it for Malmo, however.
The excitement happened a little further north.
If I show this picture, locals in Sweden might guess where I’ve been…..
OK, so the locals should know.
For the rest of you, have a look at the picture after the jump……
For those who might be unfamiliar, that’s me on the right, and none other than Mr Christian von Koenigsegg on the left. And for the extremely unfamiliar, Christian’s family name is the one stamped all over cars like this one:
That’s the Koenigsegg Trevita. It’s one out of a special edition of just three cars – “Trevita” means three whites – and interestingly, this car is the one car out of three that’s right hand drive.
Today I was extremely fortunate in getting a tour around the Koenigsegg facility with Christian, seeing cars in various stages of their nearly year-long build process. It was an amazing, almost mind-bending experience. What these guys do with their work day takes car building to another dimension and the end result is a master class in craftsmanship, passion and seat-of-the-pants performance.
Yes, I got to go for a ride in one, with Christian showing me just what zero-to-(almost)-three-hundred-and-back-to-zero feels like.
And yes, I got to drive one too!!!!!
I’ll have more on that whole encounter later on, including some very shaky video. It’s going to take a while to process everything that I saw and did today.
That wasn’t all, though. I got to drive another car today, too.
In the Koenigsegg parking lot, there’s a very ordinary looking Saab 9-5 SportCombi. It’s anything but ordinary, to borrow a line from Saab’s new advertising campaign.
This 9-5 has a 2.3t Saab engine in it, but that engine is fitted with some very special technology. It uses the Cargine pneumatic valve system, which we Saabophiles heard about back when The Koenigsegg Group were negotiating to purchase Saab.
What you’re looking at there is a Saab B235 engine that has no camshafts. The valves are operated instead by a series of actuators, driven by the pipes you can see in the picture above.
Warning: the following is filtered by my limited understanding of all things technical. Errors of omission or commission are mine and mine alone.
I won’t go too much into it now, but what you’re looking at with this technology – which is now production-ready – are double-digit percentage improvements in emissions and fuel economy, with significant and similar double-digit increases in power and torque.
It’s the next big step for the internal combustion engine.
I drove the 9-5 they had on site, pictured above with an early incarnation of the system. It’s now moved ahead since that system was fitted. The car drove extremely well, with just a little jerkiness when you lifted the throttle. This jerkiness, however, was not related to the Cargine system itself, but to the ground-up engine software they wrote (in a hurry) so that they could run the car without cams.
Removing the camshaft from the mechanical equation means energy losses are reduced, resulting in more power making it through the combustion cycle unhindered. Normal driving was very smooth, with the car easily able to carry speed in high gears with very low revs.
Koenigsegg is a stakeholder in Cargine and CvK is on the Cargine board. If it takes off the way it should, this could be much bigger that Koenigsegg’s car operations.
There’s much more to come from today. I’m absolutely swamped with facts and figures, but wanted to get something up on site to let you know what went on.
My enduring thanks, of course, to Christian von Koenigsegg, who gave so willingly of his time today to show me around and put up with my stupid questions 🙂 . He still has a huge respect and soft-spot for Saab and is looking forward to taking delivery of his new Saab 9-5 very soon.
It was a day I’ll never forget.