Auto Motor and Sport road test True Electric Saab 9-3

Saab are about to show what they’re calling the 9-3 ePower – a concept vehicle made to trial electric technology with a view to future application in road cars.

Their partner in this venture is a company called ElectroEngine and their first vehicle of note has been seen before, known as True Electric. This vehicle is different to the 9-3 ePower, though it’s based on what is basically the same technology.

Auto Motor and Sport visited ElectroEngine and got a chance to drive the True Electric Saab 9-3 Convertible. Swedes should go to Auto Motor and Sport and download the full report in PDF form. My thanks to Arild for this translation.

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Saab 9-3 True Electric. In about one year’s time, Saab can start selling electric cars that can be driven 300 km on one charge and that costs around 350000 SEK. The company Electroengine, located in Uppsala, is responsible for the flash of genius.

Electric SaabYou’ve read it before: bzzzzzzz, and then the electric car drives away! Zero emissions, zero excitement, zero reality in the world of car buyers – however, the maximum dream, weight and price. But this is not yet another test drive down the same line. Although I’m sitting in the first prototype the driving experience is so good that I would buy it directly. There is no feeling of drawbacks.

The engines don’t sound like high whining sewing machines, but make a kind of rough sound and, yes, a mechanical feeling. Directly on the drive shafts there are two large electric motors of more than 165 horsepower each! There is no gearbox and therefore not any noise from the gears. But what gives you that real feeling of desire is not really the car itself but the fact that the technology inside has taken a major leap forward compared to the electric cars I’ve previously driven. And the strange thing, or should we say symptomatic thing, is that the technology does not come from the automotive sector, but from a small technology company, who happens to be located in Uppsala: Electroengine.

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Electric Saab 9-3 to show in Paris

TTELA write that the ElectroEngine Saab 9-3 will be showing at the Paris Auto Show next month.

Right now, there are 10 electric test vehicles in the hands of various companies and government agencies in Sweden. That test fleet will be boosted by another 70 vehicles in the hands of selected private customers later this year (pick me, pick me!!).

In the meantime, Saab and ElectroEngine will be showing off the vehicles at the Paris Auto Show….

– Yes, this is of course a technology concept. It’s about showing off technology that can be used in vehicles [that follow],” says chief engineer Mats Fägerhag.

TTELA point out that this is not Saab’s first “green” concept to go on show. They’ve had the BioHybrid convertible and the E100 BioPower concept, along with others in other countries. They also had a hand in powertrain development for the upcoming Chevy Volt and Opel Ampera vehicles that have gone from concept to (pre)production.

All of that, however, hasn’t led to a production ‘green’ vehicle for Saab – yet.

It is clear that Saab, with extensive expertise in the field, will soon have its own options in the area to show off.

– We do not comment on future products, but there is news [still to come] for both the short and long term,” says Mats Fägerhag.

The Paris Auto Show is on from October 2-17.

Saab are not expected to have anything substantially new to look at, though they will premiere new, lower emissions versions of their 9-3 range and of course, the 2011 Saab 9-5.

There is some hope that they might also announce some form of new technology partnership(s), however this is still just conjecture and hopeful expectation at this point.

Thanks Tobias, for the tip!

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