Australia to get more E85 access

This press release is actually from Holden, but the content is primarily news that will be of interest to any Saab BioPower owners here in Australia.

Caltex are looking to expand the number of E85 pumps, first in NSW and then the rest of Australia, providing up to 100 pumps by mid-2011.

Of course, it mentions nothing about GM’s former Swedish brand, who would have heped holden optimise for E85 and who were the first company to offer E85 use here in Australia, but that’s OK.


Holden welcomes Caltex Bio E-Flex to NSW

* Caltex launches first NSW Bio E-Flex fuel pumps, to increase to 100 by mid 2011
* Ethanol fuel can power vehicles in the upcoming Commodore VE Series II range
* The ethanol in Bio E-Flex reduces CO₂ and is a renewable resource

Holden today welcomed Caltex Australia’s announcement that it would install 10 pumps in New South Wales to sell its new fuel, Bio E-Flex.

Making the announcement was New South Wales Minister for Planning, Infrastructure and Lands, Tony Kelly, who is a strong advocate for the development of the Australian biofuel industry.

Holden’s Energy and Environment Director Richard Marshall said the ethanol-blend fuel, also known as E85, would be suitable for vehicles within the new Holden Commodore VE Series II range, to be launched in the coming months.

Read moreAustralia to get more E85 access

Volvo hybrid a missed opportunity for Saab

This could be a long and convoluted story, but I’ll try and cut it down a little.
What it amounts to is an opportunity lost for Saab and some good press for Volvo. Exactly why that opportunity was lost for Saab, I’m not sure.
It all started back in 2007. Following Saab’s successful showing of their own plug-in hybrid concept the year before, Saab announced that they would be partnering with Volvo, Vattenfall and battery maker ETC to develop hybrid technologies for a vehicle that would see demonstrators made “in just over a year from [December 2007].
Those demonstrator vehicles would show what a plugin hybrid could be like to live with and the companies would seek feedback in order to produce better vehicles, when production models actually came.
That co-operative project actually saw the light of day during the week, although Saab’s name was nowhere to be seen.
From Autoblog:

Volvo and Vattenfall have just made an announcement that should hurry the Swedish car maker along the hybrid highway. The two companies have partnered to develop a plug-in diesel hybrid that is expected to begin series production in 2012 with the first three demonstration vehicles to be completed this summer.

So what happened? Why weren’t Saab involved in this reveal, and why won’t they be involved in the finished product?
This story from NyTeknik could provide some answers. Here’s a GoogleTrans:

When Volvo and Vattenfall showed the Swedish plugin hybrid a week ago, there was an absence from the team that started the project.
The year was 2006. At the Stockholm Motor Show, Saab showed their Saab 9-3 convertible with a hybrid powertrain. It was the first step in the company’s development of electric vehicles.
But even then the car manufacturer knew that it would be too expensive to continue working on hybrids and plgin hybrids without cooperation with other companies.
At the motor show in April, Saab made the first contacts with Vattenfall. A few months later the companies met at Saab växellådsfabrik in Gothenburg and discussed a joint project: a plugin hybrid with a powerful battery that could do 50 km drive on a charge.
After the first meetings Saab and Vattenfall decided on contacting Volvo. But Volvo hesitated.
– We had to drag them into the project, says a source within Saab.
Finally, Volvo decided to be involved (involvoed??? – SW). About the same time the group expanded with te inclusion of battery company ETC Battery and Fuel Cells in Nol, outside Gothenburg.
Volvo trucks were also on several meetings. Scania showed interest, but never got so far as to participate actively in the work. ABB were asked if they wanted to be involved, but the company – which previously worked together on hybrids with Volvo and BMW – refused.
The truck manufacturers disappeared during the journey because the project was so focused on cars.
At the end of 2007, [the group] sought support from the Energy Agency to develop prototypes. The four companies were prepared to invest SEK 62 million. The state would provide 30 million.
The application was granted and work on plugin hybrid took off. But last fall Saab were forced take a “time out” because of the crisis at GM and Saab’s own precarious situation.
– A hard decision, and extra heavy as it was we who started the work,” says New sources of technology.
So while Vattenfall boss Lars G Josefsson, last week said that Volvo and Vattenfall run together into the future and the companies’ collaboration is “a natural marriage”, there was a third party in Trollhättan and followed the resurrection of a certain loss and grief.
Now the rumor is that Saab will present a plugin hybrid, once all the tours around the GM and the new owners are ready.
If no one wants to talk on the Saab. But the technology on their shelves. And the desire to catch up with the other in the hybrid group is large in Trollhättan.
However, it is difficult to know what a new owner has plans for the future.

So who was to blame?
Maybe it was Saab’s own situation. Maybe it was GM’s situation.
Does it really matter?
The point it that it was another lost opportunity for a company that once had an incredibly progressive image to reclaim a little bit of that.
Hopefully we’ll get to a new ownership situation soon, and Saab can get a chance to show what they’ve been working on the lab. They’ve consistently said that hybrid technology is part of their future and I’m sure there’s something very, very good sitting there just waiting to be let loose on the world.

Thanks Fredrik for the NyTeknik link!

Saab Australia product placement opportunity

This weekend saw me ask you about product placements and how they influence your purchase decisions.
This weekend also saw the start of the Holden-vs-Ford V8 Supercar series here in Australia. This is the most followed form of motorsport in the country, attracting large crowds and a good TV audience as well.
So why should consider a product placement in a two-brand V8 racing series?
Because this year, for the first time, they’re running all the race cars on E85. This would be a perfect fit for Saab BioPower, which is sold in both the 9-3 and 9-5 here in Australia. The V8 Supercar people are promoting their use of E85 quite a bit if the weekend’s TV coverage is anything to go by.
How could they get involved?
The safety car for the series this year is a Nissan GT-R, which has neither a V8 or any E85 capability. Every yellow flag there’s a GT-R out there leading the pack and getting plenty of camera time for Nissan.
All things going well, maybe this is something Saab Australia could consider for the 2010 season, when we have a new 2010 Saab 9-5 BioPower to show off?
How about a new Saab 9-5 that’s given this treatment? Now that’d look alright leading them around, eh?
I should also mention that our own Markac is part of the TV crew that covered the Clipsal 500 this weekend – a job well done!!

Saab Performance – entry into the Swedish Touring Car Championship

Following on from rumours of its development last year and a bit of uncertainty as to whether or not this project would actually get off the ground, the Dealer Sport team finally unveilied their Saab 9-3 BioPower entry into the 2009 Swedish Touring Car Championship.
The team displayed the car yesterday at the Saab Museum in Trollhattan:
TTELA covered the story, and Dippen has provided a quick translation of that article:

Saab and racing have gone hand in hand for many years and the interest is big.
– “What can be more suitable than to show the car here in Trollhättan”, says Jan Warnestad ,the chief for the Dealer Sport Saab Performance team.
A lot of invited people took the chance to see the new Saab 9-3 that will compete in the STCC series this year.
This is a project that was kept in secrecy before the unveiling in 2008 at Mantorp Park.
– “We started the project in March 2008 and we kept silent about it”, says Warnestad
The car has been built in Trollhättan at the prototype workshop but it is nowdays located at Dealer Sport Saab Performance in Karlstad. Now there will be more tests before the premiere
Jan Warnestad has sold Opel in Karlstad since 1977 and knows what racing means for a car dealer.
– “In 1980 Anders Kulläng won the Swedish Rally in a Opel Ascona, that got me interested in racing”
29 years later he is team chief for the new Saab team.
– Thoughts about building a Saab 9-3 has been for a long time, but it took some
time for the idea to become reality.
In the new car there is something in common between Saab and Opel. The STCC-Saab has a lot of technical parts from the Opel Astra that Tommy Rustad drove in 2007.

The Dealer Sport has a website, available in both Swedish and English, and located at
Here’s a rundown on theior car, taken from that website. The STCC series starts on May 2nd with a meeting at Mantorp Park. I’ll cover whatever news comes out of it.
Good luck to the Dealer Sport team!!!

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