Electric Saab 96 at Philly.com

Brandon Hollinger is a guy who some of you may have heard of before. There was a few articles about his project at Saab History a year or so ago.

Today, his endeavours at electrifying his Saab 96 (as if it wasn’t electrifying enough!) have been covered online at Philly.com.

Hollinger got serious and in 2008 bought the 1970 Saab on eBay and combined it with some parts from a 1968. Then he used a regular three-month winter break from the theater in 2009 to go electric.

Hollinger had to fashion mounts for the motor, the controller, and the batteries.

And now that he’s had it running for well over a year, he’s actually looking to do it for others….

Now BH Electrics (Hollinger’s home business) has gotten the endorsement of the electric vehicle supply and engineering company Electric Vehicles of America. Bob Batson, owner of the Wolfeboro, N.H., company, said he and his handful of employees put together the engineering calculations plus a manual and DVD specific to the vehicle.

It would be strange to see this little car whistling down the street but on the other hand, it’s kind of cool that a Saab 96 is getting a second chance and making a statement like this.

Have any of you ever considered taking an old, clapped out Saab and giving it a new lease of life this way? According to the Philly.com article, it’ll cost you around $10K to do this to an existing car.

Hmmm. $10K on a restoration, or $10K on electrification. I’m not sure I’m that big a treehugger just yet. But it’d sure be interesting to see the results and try them out.

18 thoughts on “Electric Saab 96 at Philly.com”

    • Awesome! That’s going to be a blast with all that torque when it’s done . Oh how I miss my Austin Mini. The real Mini. ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. Wow!

    Even an old Saab 96 can be more “green” than most of the cars running today ๐Ÿ™‚

    The idea is not that bad at all when checking the gas prices reaching all time highs day after day…

    From my point of view here in Finland it would be bad though: If I would convert a regular car into an electric one I would need to pay extra tax for driving with a car running with alternative fuel… Yes, you are reading correctly…!


  2. For me this is the most environmental friendly way to go with cars. Why bild a totally new car when you have the resources in one next to you. Rebuild the drivetrain and then you can continue with an old, yet stunning, car.

    Would be interesting to know the performance of the electric drivetrain.

  3. I just remembered watching a series of YouTube video’s about an electric powered Saab 96 about a year (or more) ago and in looking it up again found out that it’s probably the same Saab. Also found this related link.

  4. Jack Ashcraft in Medford, Oregon is running a series of articles in Vintage Views about his current full-rebuild/design of a Sonett III to all electric. He calls it The Electric Norseman.”

  5. How much does a 96 weigh? Seems to be a great candidate for the electric conversion since there’s not much to convert. Manual everything. Very green, but also a serious sacrifice in creature comforts (air conditioning!).

    I’ll wait for the plug-in diesel hybrid.

  6. There was a fellow in New England named Roger Harris who had a similar mid-60’s 96 converted to electric power about 10-15 years ago. I wonder what ever became of that car?

  7. Chuck Andrews from Minnesota has reported on a Saab 96 electrification project in his regular Porfessional Perspective column in NINES, the magaznine of the Saab Club of North America. I haven’t seen any recent reports but the earlier ones discussed plans, progress and had pictures.

  8. I’m going to be called a traitor, but my dream is to do this to an E-Type Jag coupe some day.

    • …or to a Porsche Boxster!
      Plenty of space after you have taken the engine and exhausts out, just have to make sure to distribute the weight a bit evenly between back and front.
      AND there are plenty of Boxsters with blown engines!

  9. Well, I’ve had my 1964 Saab 96 in the garage for almost a year now, waiting for this project to get started. A few things has gotten in-between, but this summer will see some metal-bashing to make the rust go away and then electrification!

  10. This 96 project is great stuff! Imho, $10k is not outrageously expensive (includes purchase price + restoration work), but insuring it as a daily driver must be tricky…

    there was a cool ng900 conversion:


    unfortunately this stuff is fairly cost-prohibitive… I’ve kind of contemplated converting a c900, but I’d want it to have at least as much go as a turbo + not affect the dynamics adversely… at the moment, to do that would be too expensive… all the suppliers seem to be on the fringes… as the technology advances + the costs come down (and as decent c900 gearboxes get harder + harder to find), this may become a more and more appealing prospect… for now, I can wait…

    (what I’d really like to do is get my hands on a PML Flightlink system, I think now called HiPa drive, like used in the Volvo Recharge concept + the 640HP Mini… but it’s not available to the “public”… yet…)


    • “there was a cool ng900 conversion”

      Hm, destroyed by a fire that started in the garage where the car was being recharged? Makes you wonder…..

    • “includes purchase price + restoration work”

      I don’t think so. As far as I can figure out the $10k is for the electrification only. Still, it’s a very cool way to get an oldtimer on the road again. Because, let’s face it, repairing your old engine is really interesting the first couple of times, but can become quite a drag.

      • I was thinking of his evpage entry… says he paid about $700 for the car, about $8k for motor + batteries, and some not disclosed amount for paint job etc… so yeah probably over $10k but probably in that ballpark…

        definitely not cheap. though not too expensive for an ev conversion… the powerful motors + non-lead acid battery packs cost a fair bit more!


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