Driving the Electro Engine Saab 9-3 Convertible

There was a comment earlier today from theSandySaab stating that he’d recently driven the Electro Engine Saab 9-3 Convertible.
I wrote to him asking for some more background so that I could post the comment as an article here. Instead of a little background, we’ve got the whole enchilada!!
It turns out tSS is a real electric-car-watcher, as you’ll see below.
The vehicle sounds impressive (still, again) and here’s hoping that Saab get to continue to play a role in its continued development. I noted when checking out Electro Engine’s website today that they’re running an electric SportCombi as a well as the electric Convertible we’ve seen before.
My thanks to theSandySaab for these thoughts.

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So, as a Saab nut since almost as long as I can remember, I have been following SU and THS for some years now, especially during the recent financial/car industry crisis. The day starts and ends with SU. For financial reasons I have done most of my own work on old VW Beetles many years ago, but have at least a reasonable mechanical and engineering understanding. Also tried to understand the technology behind wankel/rotary engines, EGR, VVC etc… but always had a feeling the technology behind even new ideas was already old. Why explode dino juice to get propulsion? After all, even the first cars were electric.
Thanks to the strong oil interests weighing in on Ford’s decision to produce a gasoline engine in the model T, we still today using mainly oil to propel our vehicles. I have always wondered what happened to the GM EV1 that went silent after the initial massive media coverage. A year ago I came across the movie “Who killed the electrical car”.
The sad truth is explained very well in this documentary, revealing how the car industry needs the internal combustion engine, as they are in bed with the oil industry, the technology is there already and paid for with no or little interest to reinvent, but mainly, they need the customers back to for scheduled maintenance and servicing of this dirty, old engine technology. Oil, spark plugs, filters, you name it, you pay for it. See the movie!
Since then I have followed electric car developments, mainly the Tesla Motors and it’s Roadster. Finally there is a fun to drive electric alternative with very good range and clever people behind the company. However, the car is prohibitively expensive, and the more you get to know about their battery technology you realize how complex it is. Still, they guarantee the battery pack to keep at least 80% of it’s original range up to 7 years. Also, the model S looks promising, and looks very good.
ElectroEngine Saab 9-3Reading on SU about the ElectroEngine’s True Electric concept, I was very happy, intrigued and curious. An electric Saab with the latest technology!
So when passing by in Sweden I contacted them and got a talk and a short test drive, one of many they did that day. With a core team of only 3 persons, they are working on a very tight schedule. The drive was a very pleasant experience, very drivable, also at low speeds and extremely nice low end torque. It virtually looked, felt and drove like the original (or better) and very quiet. Even the fuel gauge was the same, just wired to indicate the charge status.

Read moreDriving the Electro Engine Saab 9-3 Convertible

Swedish electric car: three years away

This seems like a little bit of a downer after all the promise showed by the Electro Engine Saab 9-3 Convertible, but it seems we might still be three years from regular production of an electric car from Sweden.

A gathering took place recently at the Innovatum facility in Trollhattan. All of the potential suppliers and manufacturers got together to see where the possibilities for electric vehicles were at.

Ny Teknik was there to cover it (Googletrans)

During a seminar at Innovatum technology park in Trollhättan, Saab Automobile and Volvo Cars discussed Swedish development of electric cars. 29 sub-contractors also had a chance to present techniques for the car makers – techniques which can allow a Swedish-made electric car within three years…..

The day seems to have been driven by an effort called the Flash Project, which seems to be a collaboration of a number of companies, including Saab and Electro Engine. It seems to be a government funded research project aimed at speeding the development of electric propulsion for mass produced automobiles.

There was a great openness between suppliers. All automakers have the same problem – to get electric cars are running well and be in the forefront when it comes to climate comfort. It is good if everyone uses the same type of solutions.” he tells Nyteknik.se, and continues:

– To create an electric car does not happen overnight, it is a very large project. But I really think that there were many great Swedish ideas at the seminar.

It seems we’re still all a while away from sneaking up behind pedestrians and scaring them inside out driving one of those sexy silent Electro Engine Saab 9-3 Convertibles, but hopefully Saab can remain at the forefront of this research and come up with a segment-leading example when it’s finally ready.

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Thanks Magnus!

Saab 99 electric postal van

Back when I took you on a tour out the back of the Saab Museum, I showed you just a corner of the Saab 99 that was converted back in the 1970’s into an electric vehicle, for use by the Swedish postal service (Addendum: Or was it? See comments).
Click photos to enlarge…
Saab Museum
It was an experiment and the fact that it didn’t continue would indicate that it wasn’t a successful one (in terms of getting a long-term electric vehicle solution, at least). But the car’s presence in the museum indicates that it was considered notable enough to preserve.
That corner doesn’t give you a great look at the car and searching the web tends to produce few photos and those in black and white.
Mattias O has been kind enough to send me a full colour photo that will give you a much better idea of how the vehicle looks.
EV Postal.jpg
I wonder how often it gets out into the museum? And also if it still works?

AMS check out the ElectroEngine Saab 9-3 Convertible

There was a lot of noise (pardon the pun) made about the ElectroEngine Saab 9-3 Convertible a few months ago when it was displayed at a big think tank event in Sweden called Almedalen Week 2009.
All’s been quiet since then but that doesn’t mean nothing’s been going on. Electro Engine seem to have increased the range of their vehicles and are hoping to do a limited run of 100 vehicles next year, a project that Saab are reportedly quite agreeable to.
TrueElecAMS.jpg The guys over at Auto Motor and Sport recently headed to Uppsala and checked out the vehicle for themselves. The car runs 300 kilometers on a charge, has over 330hp, goes from 0-100km/h in just 6.3 seconds and is scheduled to be priced at around half the cost of a Tesla.
Their main question was….. what’s the catch?
Well, you’ll have to buy the magazine, either at the news stand or digitally in order to find out if there is one, but it seems that Alrik from AMS came away from the test drive very impressed.
The 100 vehicles built next year will be evaluation vehicles that will be used to verify the car’s battery backs – the key to the whole package. The battery packs store more energy and charge faster, but perhaps more importantly, they’re constructed in such a way that if one of the cells of the battery pack is faulty, the individual cell can be replaced, which is much cheaper than replacing the whole battery pack.
This is a very exciting development, with Saab right in the middle of it.

I guess we can take the Quant off the table (if it wasn’t already)

We examined the NLV Solar Quant. Later, we took a closer look at the car and it’s owner and figured it probably wasn’t a starter in the near future.
Now, I guess maybe we can call it official, at least where Koenigsegg (and maybe Saab) is concerned.
4Wheels News are reporting that Koenigsegg has made an announcement confirming that the Quant is purely NLV Solar’s baby, and that it’s role in designing and constructing the prototype seen in Geneva earlier this year is the full extent of their involvement.
The report is unsourced and unattributed and dated July 8. My dodgy hotel internet connection won’t load up K-Segg’s site to see if there’s an official release, but here’s what 4Wheels News have to say:

The press release reads: “The NLV Quant program was initiated and is wholly owned by NLV-Solar AG in Switzerland. The Quant is not a Koenigsegg Automotive car and was never intended to be.” Koenigsegg enumerates that its contributions include the body and interior design, chassis conceptualization, and a feasibility study for low volume production. While NLV-Solar AG’s responsibilities include the photovoltaic and electrical accumulator storage system, as well as owning and driving the whole project. Having completed its agreed contributions to the program, Koenigsegg added that if NLV sees a need then it may consider rejoining the venture.

I’ll keep hunting around for some more official looking news……
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Thanks Radulf!

ElectroSaab on show

Via Saabhuy….
It’s good to see a nice sunny day for the ElectroEngine vehicle showing at Almedalen Week 2009.
I hadn’t noticed the Hirsch six spokes on the car previously (I know, somone probably has and I missed it) but they look great. Also interesting to see the 9-3 SportCombi in the background.
ElectroEngine.jpg
I’m not sure who the lucky ones are that got a ride. There’s some more photos at Saabhuy but no recognisable faces in the crowd, unfortunately.
Nice to see them get a moment in the spotlight. Here’s to hoping they can take this technology further, and maybe that Saab can help them and benefit along the way.

ElectroSaab!

Could this possibly be another Saab ‘green’ technology-share for the future?
It’s an independant operation, but it’s Swedish (in Uppsala), it looks to be quite innovative, and they’ve used a Saab 9-3 convertible as their display car.
true-electric-Saab.jpg
The company is called True Electric and they’ll be displaying the car – which is operational and ready for test drives – at an event called Almedalen 2009. It’s hard for me to understand exactly where this is being held from the translation, but I’m sure you Swedes can find it.
True Electric’s technology involves Lithium Ion batteries like other electric vehicles, but the difference seems to be the way they’re managed. Each sell is individually regulated and instead of using thousands of batteries (like other electric vehicles) the True Electric model uses only 160 for a travel distance of around 300km.
It should be less costly to install and maintain, as well. Conversion of existing cars is a few years away, but they’re hoping to nail it down to the lower end of the 50,000 to 100,000 SEK price range. Maintenance should be cheaper because with individually regulated cells, you can replace an individual cell if faulty, rather than replace the whole battery pack.
It’s certainly an interesting technology (and a good looking car to model it with). I hope they can take this further, preferably with that little Swedish company in Trollhattan.
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Thanks to Daniel G for the links!

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