Last Friday NEVS posted a mysterious picture on their social channels. We had the whole weekend to wonder what it was and also to see first impressions of the cars that will be build in China next year.
Now NEVS has published a first teaser of the fourth instalment of their “We are NEVS” series.
Yesterday some pictures of the exterior of the real cars were posted by NEVS on their weChat channel. Today NEVS have posted again, this time a video with a Chinese man talking in the background. Pictures of heavy traffic and pollution.
Then a title is shown reading “NEW VEHICLE”. (The titles are shown in Chinese and english. After that you can see an exterior view of the NEVS 9-3 X and what it looks like a mock-up of the interior (as the A-pillars are missing).
Today NEVS has published pictures of the first EV by NEVS the 9-3, and a second car, a 9-3X which is an electric version of the old 9-3X. So let me share with you my first impressions on those cars.
NEVS 9-3 EV sedan
One or two weeks ago somebody asked me, what makes currently a car modern and why could a NEVS 9-3 feel dated. I don’t say look dated as the design of the 9-3 still looks modern and fresh even compared with newer cars.
Cars haven’t changed much in the last 20 years, they are lighter have changed the lightning technology used and have some kind of connectivity with the net and allow to interact with the car via your smartphone. There have been also some changes in the drivetrain, but it is of no relevance in this case, and some more expensive cars have some kind of active dampers for a better ride or a change of the riding feel depending on the mood of the driver.
There has been more going on at NEVS than usual in the last months. At the end of February they announced their framework agreement with CATL regarding Battery supply, which seems to be a big deal as CTL has managed to increase their production capacities just to be second behind Tesla/Panasonic and leaving behind LG-Chem or Samsug SDI. I talked too NEVS, and that meant that the battery package had to be slightly reengineered, but all in all it was a good thing for NEVS. As a side note, CATL is since January owner of 22% of the shares of Valmet Automotive in Uusikaupunki. Yes, the Automotive world is quite small.
Last week NEVS announced its cooperation with ICONIQ, another e-Car brand from China. It looks like having an e-Car production license in China is not that bad. NEVS will produce the ICONIQ Seven, a Luxury Battery-Electric-MPV, that has been developed in Austria by Magna, designed in Italy by Studiotorino and has financial backing from the Arab Emirates by W Motors (the makers of the Lykan,the first Arab Supercar). The ICONIQ seven will be produced in the Tianjin factory starting from 2019 side by side with the NEVS 9-3. So it looks like at least one production facility from NEVS won’t stay idle.
On a side note, NEVS seems to now be willing to develop further cars on the Phoenix 1.0 platform (9-3) till 2020 when the first phoenix 3.0 will be launched. We’ll see!
I do not have access to this site’s traffic numbers anymore, but it is no big secret that saabsunited.com probably has way less regular readers than back in its heyday. Many (all?) of the former contributors either moved on or went into hibernation following the factory’s bankruptcy. Without new content being posted on a regular basis, how can we expect to have as many readers? Though some of us remain interested in Nevs’ endeavors, there just is not much to talk about yet. That will hopefully change soon (?), but things are what they are.
My latest effort dates back two years three years. Heck, I thought it was only two years ago, but it has actually been three! RedJ was writing a post about TechROi and I tagged along as his inept photographer. TechROi is one of the many spin-offs following the bankruptcy as former Saab engineers continued developing automobile technology elsewhere. In this case, their main focus was a gasoline tank made from steel. Yes, steel. “Isn’t plastic lighter..?” It turns out that no, it isn’t! By improving the way they press the steel, the engineers managed to increase tensile strength while keeping the steel sheet relatively thin. The result is a lighter and safer design.
It was a promising story at the time. Not least of all, there was a tie-in with Nevs. Back in 2014 Nevs resurrected production of the 9-3, but several parts proved difficult given the low production numbers. One of the old partners eventually told Nevs “why do you not get in touch with TechROi?”. Being a smaller company meant that they could accommodate Nevs. There was even a hint dropped that a future unannounced Nevs product might some day use the new TechROi design… Then they showed us a fuel tank that had seen severe track testing: They unbolted the tank, then drove 70kph on the side of the test track dragging the tank through the gravel. A plastic fuel tank would not have coped so well. I was reminded of one of those videos shown inside the museum, of Saab engine testing ‘back in the day’: A guy strapped across the hood of a 93 (or 96?) checking the two-stroke engine _at speed_! Crazy, but you cannot fault their attention to detail. Not to mention the 10m drop onto concrete test. Saabs are not built like regular cars and every component must be as safe and strong as practically possible. (yet many of us expected to pay way less than what we would have paid for lesser cars, go figure)
RedJ and I left that meeting feeling a little bit more optimistic about the future. We believed we would see
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