Since substantive Saab news is hard to come by lately, and when it does emerge it’s about things like what if decisions regarding Griffins and the like, I figured I’d at least try to shine a light on the electric vehicle market. NEVS plans on focusing their initial efforts on an EV using Japanese technology (read: batteries), and as they conglomerate the parts necessary to commercially produce and profit from their first Saab, they will be struggling with the same challenges as competitors who have made their own solutions. It’s our attempt at SU to educate Saab fans and future new Saab customers about these engineering issues, EV advantages and disadvantages, and try to better understand the field so that when the new Saab EV emerges, we have a pretty solid knowledge base to draw from.
Here’s the top 4 videos to watch this week in the world of electric propulsion.
1. Drive magazine talks to the head of engineering for the new Porsche 918 Hybrid.
This is basically the proposal I had for the High Performance Saab contest that Swade ran a while back, except done if money wasn’t an option. A completely new engine with carbon fiber mounts, carbon fiber chassis, new battery tech, and some incredible software to make it all work are all highlighted in the video. If Saab could do the poor man’s version with lightweight metals, their own EV propulsion, and some sort of ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) motor or generator on board, and keep it under $40K out the door (with tax credits), I think we’d have a pretty solid car that most of us would die to own. Now, if they felt like building a limited run Aero-X as a showpiece for their new Japanese tech for $1,000,000+, I’m sure that wouldn’t be such a bad outcome either.
2. Automobile Magazine pits Tesla Model S vs. 2013 BMW M5 in a drag race.
Who do you think wins 2 out of 3 times? For those of you who know anything about the Tesla so far, this should be easy.
3. Translogic reviews the Tesla Model S.
No, I’m not obsessed with a Model S. It’s just the first credible EV that’s publicly available. This video is a couple weeks old, but it’s the one video I’d suggest you watch if you want to see what Saab needs to come to the EV party with to remain credible– strong performance, no compromise engineering, and innovations that break new ground. It also shows just how a young startup can produce a truly badass, world beating car. NEVS needs to take notes. Pay attention to the battery placement and reasons behind their own charging cable. (Link for mobile devices)
4. Mercedes all-electric SLS AMG, driving footage.
There really isn’t much to see, or for that matter hear, here. It kind of sounds like a jet on the drive-by though, something that NEVS might be able to play up? Also, this car is not really a serious attempt for Mercedes at an EV, that’s coming in the form of the B-Class EV. Before we hear grumbles from the crowd for its insaaaaaane price, remember this is basically an engineering exercise more than anything else. It’s also can be yours in a very, very blue color…
EV News and Reviews
1. The guy who created the SU of Chevy Volt websites (gm-volt.com) decides to trade in his Volt for a Ford C-Max Energi. His reason is pretty damn credible, and something Saab should pay close attention to, since it would disqualify the setup they designed their Saab ePower around (hint: it involves a giant battery tunnel up the middle of the interior).
2. For our UK readers, Ecotricity has announced the installation of fast chargers similar to the ones I described in the Tesla Supercharger article I wrote last week. If you live near South Mimms (M25/A1), Oxford (M40) and Hopwood Park (M42), you’ll soon be seeing Nissan Leafs charging to about 80% full in about 30 minutes. I’m really hoping that NEVS works just as hard on charging infrastructure and compatibility in parallel with the development of new Saabs.
3. What would an electric, Finnish version of a Spyker be? Scarlet Motors seems to be answering that, and they’re partnering with Helsinki’s Metropolia University to develop their EV supercar. Check out their world speed record for EVs back in March. Maybe NEVS could get together with these guys on a Scandinavian partnership?
4. In an ideal world, we could just charge an EV to full in less than 5 minutes not only at our homes but at any fuel station we visit. Seeing that for the next couple of years, most of us at SU would prefer an EV with an onboard generator like a Volt to one that requires charges. Honda has just entered that small ring occupied only by the Volt and plug-in Prius, and I have to say, I’m impressed with their first attempt (though it’d hideous looking).