In February we found first pictures of what could be a new and modern navigation system for the 2014 9-3.
It was not until April that we found an official reference to a new infotainment system in the Chinese spec. sheet of the 9-3 2014/15.
Those two posts where more or less based on rumours with some confirmation from NEVS, but still we had no real pictures of the system and we had only some rumours about the hardware-platform it was based on, but those where not 100% right.
It was not till the presentation of the electric 9-3 that we saw the first real pictures of this infotainment system (we have talked in the past of it as a navigation system, but the it is more capable than a simple navigation system, thus I will talk about an infotainment system). The guys at Teknikens Värld took some better pictures of the interior of the 9-3 EV the same day, and have been kind enough to let us use them.
With this post I will try to summarize all the information we have, partly confirmed, about that system, and talk a little bit about why NEVS has made a right option for the future with this system.
Those last few days have been (again) very challenging for a Saab fan. It almost feels like we have been there before – no production, wages postponed, appeal for reconstruction first denied and then granted, even spiced with the brand name issue. From reactions in comments and elsewhere on the net I can see that many fans feel like being in a deja vu right now. But even if I can understand that in some way I tend to disagree. Let me put my thoughts into a few lines. Not so much as a vast editorial, more as food for thought before the weekend.
From all that we have learned from various sources a solution to the financial problems combined with a change in ownership is really that near. Obviously the Vänersborg court also saw that. We should also not forget that the vast majority of suppliers still stay calm. NEVS obviously gained some trust here by giving them some insight in the process. This must not have been easy, especially because of the bad experience some of the suppliers had before. So in terms of a solution being near I would give NEVS the benefit of doubt here.
Another issue that popped up today are the rights to use the name Saab for the cars built in Trollhättan. Saab AB obviously decided to cancel the agreement with NEVS. They did not give any insight in the reasons they had for this but one can imagine a few: it could be a try to avoid being associated with the troubles NEVS is in or even a try to take some influence in the things that are going on. We also do not know if this is a final decision or if the agreement can be revived once NEVS is back in calm waters. In the end it does not really matter. The decision is there so I asked myself what this would mean. And even if I know about the rich history of Saab Automobile and I am hooked on the iconic Saab brand I don’t think that not having the name rights nessesarily means the end of NEVS. Honestly, if I can still drive those fabulous cars that I love I would rather deal with a new name than with a name right owner who threatens to withdraw the rights in any turbulence.
Some may say that the name is one of the key values in Saab/NEVS. But is this really the case? When it comes to cars the name Saab has taken quite a few hard hits through all the trouble, bankrupcy and absence on the market. We were all pretty clear that it needs quite some marketing to get Saab back to proper sales when new models come out. I even dare to wonder if if would take so much more effort to establish a new name than polishing up the Saab name. Don’t get me wrong, for romantic reasons I would prefer to drive cars named Saab for the rest of my life but if the car is still made by the same company, with the same philosophy I would still buy it. And there are quite a few names that could even give us fanatics a cozy feeling. Griffin for example.
Just as I published the last post saying we won’t have to wait for it too long PV Väst announces that NEVS are at Vänersborg court with a revised Version of their application.
Update 1: NEVS states that they have secured a loan of 20 million crowns to get through the first 3-4 weeks of the reconstruction. They also stress that the reason for the reconstruction is not to reduce the liabilities to the creditors and that NEVS intens to pay it all in full.
Update 2: NEVS expects to have an agreement on a development cooperation for the Phoenix platform in place that will generate obe 1 billion crowns of cash for NEVS. That will be enough to pay off the debt of 400 million crowns and fund the company for another year. My educated guess is that this Partner will be Dongfeng.
The deal with a possible new owner has been negotiated for six months now and according to NEVS the board of that prospective owner has decided to fill this deal with life if some last requirements are met. As I see it, this will be Mahindra.
The decision by the court is expected for this afternoon.
According to P4 Väst Saab AB reacted to NEVS’ application for reconstruction by cancelling the agreement to use the Saab name on the cars made in Trollhättan. Saab AB’s spokesman Sebastian Carlsson did not comment on any details of the decision. Also NEVS did not publically react on the announcement yet.
While the news of those last two days were not what we like to hear I’d like to encourage you not to panic right away. A main point for Saab AB is to ensure that they are not associated with another bancrupcy process like the last. In the current situation there might be a chance for that worst case but it’s not nessesarily the case. Such an agreement can be revived at any time if there is that new investor that gives Saab AB enough confidence.
And the case that Saab AB and most of the suppliers with insight in the negotiations taking place between NEVS and their future partners have been rather patient with the open invoices shows that there is at least enogh confidence to give it some time. The application for reconstruction was mainly a move to get a bit more time for finalizing the ongoing negotiations under the protection of such a process. We will see how quickly NEVS’ appeal of the court decision will come now, but I think we won’t have to wait too long.
I’m sure many of you have seen the excellent pictures of NEVS new prototype of the electric car, EV-1. Last Friday I went to see the car live and to get a closer look at the car in Trollhättan. I will not repeat the facts from the release, if you want to take a closer look at the presentation from NEVS, check it out here. This will be some personal reflections and observations, without testing the car.
The first thing I noticed when I saw the EV was that except from the yellow line on the bumpers with text that say this is a electric vehicle (“elbil”), and the fact the car is missing a exhaust-system it looked pretty like the other 2014 9-3 Aero’s from Nevs. The first things that I found out look different on this particular prototype (NEVS have some more EV-prototypes) is the wheels (17″ ALU59 with 225/50 tyres), the blue Ice-block headlamps and regular halogen foglights (2014 9-3 use as we know LED-lamps). All in all, without the yellow tape, this could be a face-lifted regular everyday-use car – in other words a perfect car for testing.
One more thing I noticed pretty soon was the ride height, without any proof or measuring, for me it can look like the same ride height as the 9-3x. For me it sounds reasonable, because the batteries of the car is mounted under the car where the petrol-tank and exhaust-system is mounted on a “normal” 9-3 – and this is giving the car an immediate benefit; it is just as practical as the 9-3 sedan we know. Another benefit having the batteries under the car is the weight-issue, doing it this way is giving a low center of gravity since the batteries is pretty heavy. One more thing regarding the ride-height, destroy a battery isn’t a thing you want to do, most because high voltage, and second because the price of the battery. For a EV the total cost of the batteries about 40% of what the car costs. But if the accident is a fact does this prototype have approximately 190 batteries in total, and they is grouped in 11 separate modules, so you can change only one module if necessary.
When we talk about the batteries, the guys from NEVS told me the batteries is planed to last the entire life of the car. You can charge the battery approximately 5000 times, so if you charge your EV every day it will be about 13.5 years. One of the things NEVS do to increase the lifetime of the batteries is to not take out max power from them, and they are also have plans for cooling down the batteries. The charging of th batteries must be done from a standard 16A plug, the prototypes is not support faster charging yet, but that is of course something NEVS will work with. The battery-pack is 37kWh in total, and it will take about 10h to charge.
So if we go to the inside of the car is it as I said earlier pretty like the regular 2014 9-3 Aero, even the sound isolation is at this prototype is exactly like the the 1024 9-3 Aero. The first thing you will noticeis that there is no gear-shifter. That is replaced with four buttons (R,N,P and D), and the function is like a car with automatic transmission – the big difference is that you push the button instead of moving the gear shifter. The instruments is also different, there we find the tachometer you will find a “range-meter”, wich tell you how many kilometres you can drive before the battery is empty. Where we usually find the fuel-gauge we have a gauge with the same function, but with “fuel-gauge” design. We find find the speedometer in its usual place, but it’s only scaled to 160kph. Now the EV prototypes is limited to max 120kph, so at this stage this isn’t a big issue. You also find a Ecometer where we find the turbo-meter, this will help the driver to drive economic so you can take out longest possible range, wich for the prototypes is about 200km. The observe reader will recognise the instruments, the hardware are taken from SAABs e-Power concept, but NEVS have developed new software. If this is something NEVS will keep, or if they will develop something new is a open question. I think this looks OK, but remember this is a prototype and the focus right now is to test technical solutions – not to make fancy instruments 😉
In the interior we also find another great feature we in SU crew have waited for; the new Infotainment! This is a thing that isn’t exclusive for the EV, as soon it’s ready we will also find it in the 9-3 Aero. Sadly the Infotainment wasn’t ready, so I can’t say anything about functions, but the Infotainment is as we had written before based on a Android device, and that opens for NEVS to make their own user interface and maybe doing their own special apps for service-points, charging-points and so on. But I can say it looked great, with this new touch-screen the dashboard looked more clean then ever, it’s no need to say I liked this very much 😉
So what will be the next step for the EV prototypes? From what I see I think NEVS will be working on slimming the 9-3, every unnecessary kilo slimmed away is extra range. A question is also how whey are planing to heat up the couple during the winter. If the fan is going to use power from the battery-pack we will have a lower range during the winter, and personally I think this is a important question for many here in Scandinavia. We will have the same range that we are used to have summertime, and we want a warm and comfortable car =)
Hi. Having bought an 11 plate 93 aero a few months ago, I’ve finally got round to sending you these images for Sotw. As a young Saab fan myself, along with the need for a new family car for my parents after a terrible Mercedes B- class, a saw an opportunity to persuade them into buying a Saab. As you can see, I was more than successful and now we have this beautiful white aero, with only 14k miles from new. As a car enthusiast Saabs really appealed to me and I couldn’t be happier with it, from its sheer quality to the immense power from the 180 TTID engine. When it comes to style, the Saab struggles to be beaten and I even have plans to use it for my prom next year! It may be our first Saab, but we are hooked, and I can’t understand why anyone would buy anything else!
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