Archive for March, 2006

American premiere at 2006 New York International Auto Show next month

Posted on 10. Mar, 2006 by .

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image1 American premiere at 2006 New York International Auto Show next month

Photo Credit: Saab Automobile

2006-03-10

American premiere at 2006 New York International Auto Show next month

Saab Aero X Concept Named 2006 Geneva “Best of Show” by AutoWeek Magazine

Detroit , Mich. — The Saab Aero X concept car, which made its world debut at the Geneva Auto Show press days on February 28, has been named “Best of Show” by the editors of AutoWeek Magazine. Highly regarded by automotive enthusiasts throughout North America , AutoWeek is published by Detroit-based Crain Communications and is a sister magazine to Automotive News.

“We are extremely pleased by this important recognition from the expert editors of AutoWeek,” said Jay Spenchian, Saab Automobile USA general manager. “The way the Aero X was welcomed by the world’s press and the public in Geneva has exceeded our most optimistic expectations. No other product in Saab’s nearly 60-year history as an auto manufacturer has generated such massive and positive response as the Aero X. If anything, it demonstrates that the Saab brand has tremendous potential for further development in the future.”

The Aero X concept, which will make its North American debut at the New York International Auto Show press days on April 12, harnesses the power of Saab’s aviation and Scandinavian roots to make a unique statement in performance car design. Conceived as a study to explore future design directions, its innovative features preview the development of an enhanced design language that will inspire future Saab products.

As one would expect from Saab, this dynamic two-seat sport coupe breaks with automotive design convention both outside and inside.

First, there are no doors…or windshield pillars. That’s because the Saab Aero X adopts a cockpit canopy, just as you would see on a jet aircraft. It offers the Aero X pilot full 180 degree vision, and also facilitates entry and exit from its low-slung cabin.

Thrust for the all-wheel-drive Saab Aero X also comes from a powerplant with a difference. The 400 bhp, twin-turbo, BioPower V6 engine is fueled entirely by ethanol, a sustainable energy source that is kinder to the environment by cutting fossil CO2 emissions. The “green power” of this advanced engine gives new meaning to the phrase “performance with responsibility.”

Inside, the Saab Aero X’s cockpit also adds a new dimension to clean Scandinavian interior design by completely eliminating conventional dials and buttons. Instead, Saab has applied techniques derived from Swedish glass and precision instrument making, displaying data on glass-like acrylic “clear zones” in graphic 3-D images.

All exterior and interior lighting is by LED (light-emitting diode), which has given the design team new freedom to exploit the compact packaging benefits of a technology that will be featured increasingly in future Saab products.

With weight-saving carbon fiber bodywork, a lightweight powertrain, electronically controlled suspension and all-wheel drive, the Saab Aero X is an exciting driver’s car that promises a level of performance to match its looks. C omputer simulations anticipate zero to 60mph/100 kph in just 4.9 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph/250 kph (limited).

Despite being so tightly driver-focused, the Aero X still offers surprising practicality, again, a quality one expects to find in all Saab designs. That dramatically sculpted tail conceals a useful twin storage facility, with a conventional hatch opening and sliding drawer underneath.

“This study shows how the strength of the Saab brand heritage can inspire bold, innovative design,” says Bryan Nesbitt, executive director, GM Design Europe. “As we move forward with new Saab products, we will remain focused on carefully cultivating this brand equity in the context of Scandinavian design values.”

“This concept shows the exciting possibilities that are open to us as we evolve a more progressive design language for the brand,” says Jan Ã…ke Jonsson, Saab Automobile’s Managing Director. “Our designers, engineers and marketers in Sweden are ideally placed to nurture and communicate the unique DNA of the Saab brand. Their work will ensure that future product proposals express core qualities, such as progressive design, sporty performance and emotional functionality, in a way that is specific to Saab.”

The Saab Aero X is the latest in a series of concepts from Saab, each accentuating different brand qualities. These include the “four-dimensional” 9X (IAA Frankfurt 2001), the 9-3X Cross-over Coupe (Detroit 2002) and the 9-3 Sport Hatch (IAA Frankfurt 2003).

Saab Aero X Background

From Aircraft to Automobiles

Saab’s aviation roots go back almost 70 years to 1937, when Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget (Swedish Aircraft Company Limited) was founded in the town of Trollhättan , 45 miles/70 km north of Gothenburg, where Saab cars are still built today on the site of the original aircraft factory.

The company supplied military aircraft to the Swedish Air Force and began diversifying into civil aviation in 1944 and the automotive business in 1947, when its first car, the Saab 92, was unveiled (Saab 91 was a light aircraft used for pilot training). The 92′s streamlined, teardrop-shaped bodywork was clearly the work of aircraft engineers and radical for a small production car of the time, as was the use of wind tunnel testing during its design.

The adoption of front-wheel drive for sure-footed handling, excellent roadholding and efficient space utilization was also unconventional for the time — more than a decade before the layout was to become popular in the rest of the auto industry.

Another innovative design from Saab’s newly-created car division was the Sonett 1, a lightweight sports car for competition use, unveiled exactly 50 years ago this year. Its “monocoque” chassis was made from aviation-specification aluminum panels, instead of the usual arrangement of steel beams and tubes. Although common in aircraft construction, Saab was using this design six years before it was introduced to Grand Prix racing.

Today, more than 4 million cars and 4,000 aircraft later, Saab is one name and two companies. The car business, Saab Automobile AB, is now wholly owned by General Motors, the world’s largest auto maker, and the Saab Group is a global leader in the application of advanced technologies, specializing in aerospace and defense systems.

Over the years, Saab cars have continued to incorporate aircraft-inspired design features, from wrap-around windshields and cockpit-like ergonomics to green instrument illumination and need-to-know information displays. And the innovative spirit of those early aircraft engineers, including their pioneering attention to safety, continues to be reflected in Saab’s unconventional approach to car design.

Saab is a division of General Motors Corp. Saab Automobile USA is the importer and distributor of Saab 9-2X, 9-3, 9-5 cars and the 9-7X SUV for Saab Automobile AB, Sweden .

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Saab BioPower Hybrid Concept: World’s First Fossil-free Hybrid Vehicle

Posted on 03. Mar, 2006 by .

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2006-03-30

World Premiere at Stockholm Auto Show

Saab BioPower Hybrid Concept: World’s First Fossil-free Hybrid Vehicle

* Innovative hybrid concept based on pure bioethanol
* Zero fossil CO2 emissions in all modes
* 260 hp Saab BioPower engine running on E100 fuel
* Increased performance with threefold torque boost from electric motors
* Fuel saving ‘Zero Mode’ for city driving on electric power only
* Energy saving features including regenerative braking
* Space efficient modular design uses existing vehicle architecture
* All-wheel-drive for improved traction

The innovative Saab BioPower Hybrid Concept, making its world premiere at the Stockholm Motor Show (March 30 – April 9, 2006), delivers zero fossil CO2 emissions, enhanced performance and a range of energy-saving features by combining the use of pure bioethanol fuel and electric power generation for the first time. As the world’s first fossil-free hybrid vehicle, the Saab 9-3 Convertible show car also becomes the world’s first hybrid soft-top.

Packing formidable pulling power from its 260 hp (191 kW) 2.0-liter turbo BioPower engine and 53 kW electric motors, the BioPower Hybrid Concept in the Saab 9-3 can briefly generate torque values three times greater than its gasoline-only equivalent. It is a sporty combination that makes for improved performance, as you would expect from Saab, as well as greater fuel economy and an extended driving range.

Saab’s modular hybrid system features a maintenance-free, 300-volt battery bank, a 38 kW rear-mounted electric motor, a 15 kW integrated starter generator and all-wheel-drive with electric power transmission to the rear wheels. The entire system has been packaged without sacrificing cabin accommodation or trunk space, as demonstrated by its unveiling in the Saab 9-3 Convertible.

The all-aluminum 2.0-liter BioPower engine is modified to run on pure E100 bioethanol fuel, giving zero fossil CO2 exhaust emissions, and operates in tandem with the electrical power system. This offers fuel-saving stop/start functionality, torque boosting electric power assistance on demand, an electric-only ‘Zero Mode’ for city driving and regenerative braking.

The BioPower Hybrid Concept prototype car, a 9-3 sport sedan with automatic transmission, is expected to achieve zero to 100 kph (60 mph) acceleration in just 6.9 seconds, a substantial improvement against 8.8 seconds for the equivalent gasoline model. Even more impressive is 80 to 120 kph (50-75 mph) acceleration on ‘kick-down’ in only 5.5 seconds.

“Hybrids are certainly interesting for Saab in the future and this project allows us to evaluate and explore the potential of hybrid technology in combination with BioPower,” says Jan Ã…ke Jonsson, Saab Automobile’s Managing Director. “Although the exact hybrid application shown in this concept does not currently figure in our production plans, the project has been extremely valuable in helping us further our expertise. It shows how we could develop the sporty performance associated with Saab while using only renewable resources and saving energy overall.”

The Saab BioPower Hybrid Concept is the first project to be announced under a joint investment program between General Motors R&D (Research and Development) and the Swedish government. This has established a research and development office in Trollhättan , Sweden , focusing on vehicle safety, engine emissions and advanced manufacturing in collaboration with Swedish universities, research laboratories and suppliers.

Saab is a 100 percent subsidiary of General Motors, which is committed to reducing vehicle emissions and improving fuel economy through the implementation of a three-tiered, advanced propulsion technology strategy. The ultimate goal is the introduction of hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles that emit only water and remove the vehicle from the environmental debate.

In the near to mid-term, hybrid propulsion will bridge the gap between today’s technology and tomorrow’s hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles. GM is also focused on introducing alternative fuels and new technologies to improve the efficiency of internal combustion engines and transmissions, further reducing vehicle emissions and increasing fuel economy.

BioPower propulsion

The Saab 9-5 2.0t BioPower is already an outstanding sales success in Sweden , where it is currently the best selling flex-fuel vehicle on the market and able to exploit a fast-developing network of filling station selling E85 (85% bioethanol/15% gasoline) fuel.

The Saab BioPower Hybrid Concept now goes a step further by using an engine fuelled by pure E100 bioethanol. This is a BioPower evolution of the current all-aluminum, 16-valve 2.0-liter turbo engine in the Saab 9-3 range. It now develops 260 bhp and an impressive 375 Nm maximum torque, 24 per cent and 25 per cent more respectively than on gasoline. The engine incorporates an integrated starter generator (ISG) and also charges a 300-volt battery bank, mounted under the floor of the trunk.

It retains a flex-fuel capability and features a Spark Ignited Direct Injection (SIDI) system for optimumcombustion with E100; ensuring the same cold starting performance as a normal gasoline engine. V ariable inlet and exhaust cam phasing is used for optimum breathing and m ore durable valves and valve seats are fitted, together with bioethanol-compatible materials for the fuel system.

The compact 42-Volt ISG, built into the flywheel between the engine and transmission, is the power behind the Saab BioPower Hybrid Concept’s fuel-saving, stop/start functionality. It serves a multi-functional role as a starter motor, alternator and 15 kW engine power booster, while also helping to iron out residual crankshaft vibrations.

For the Saab BioPower Hybrid Concept application, a series of further steps are taken to optimize the engine’s fuel saving capacity. Auxiliary functions, such as the water pump, air conditioning and power steering systems, are now removed from the engine’s belt drive and electrically powered instead, through the hybrid system.

The five-speed automatic transmission, with Saab Sentronic sequential selection, includes an all-wheel-drive capability by the simultaneous addition of electrically powered drive to the rear wheels.

Hybrid booster

A parallel hybrid system has been adopted, where the control strategy is based on efficient ‘energy management’ – recovering, storing and feeding back energy that is otherwise lost in a vehicle powered only by an internal combustion engine. The engineering team have utilised General Motors’ hybrid experience in the development of stop/start engine functionality, electric rear-wheel drive systems and regenerative braking. Apart from converters to manage AC/DC and 12,42 and 300-volt interfaces, the system consists of just three core components: two electric motors and a battery bank.

Electric energy storage is provided by a 42-cell, 300-volt lithium-ion battery bank. Its performance is carefully monitored and governed by an electronic control unit, through which electric current from the engine is fed.

This power pack is accommodated under the floor of the trunk, without taking up any stowage space, as demonstrated in the Stockholm show car.

The battery supplies a compact 38 kW electric motor located between the rear wheels which powers a transmission differential and drive shafts. At low speeds, this Rear Drive Unit (RDU) is able to briefly generate 666 Nm of additional torque.

In reverse operation, the motor acts as a generator to provide ‘regenerative braking’. It automatically recovers kinetic energy otherwise lost during braking and converts this into additional battery charging. It also performs the same function whenever the driver lifts off the throttle, harnessing the energy in the rotating drive shafts. This is achieved without any perceptible change in the rate of deceleration.

The second electric motor is the integrated starter generator (ISG) located within the flywheel between the engine and main transmission. On demand, it contributes 15 kW of additional power and 120 Nm of extra torque to the output of the engine through the front wheels.

Driving Benefits

The sophisticated electronic control of the hybrid componentry is matched to the operating parameters of the BioPower engine to provide seamless power assistance and power saving functionality.

Under transient driving conditions, both electric motors are activated to augment the power of the engine, increasing standing start acceleration and in-gear performance for safe overtaking. This briefly raises total power by as much as 28 per cent – without raising fuel consumption.

At take off, the Saab BioPower Hybrid Concept also exploits the instant torque generation of its electric motors, smoothly adding strong, accelerative power during the engine’s pick-up, from tick-over to about 1,500 rpm. It is during this phase that the available pulling power, or torque, is more than tripled.

An estimated fuel of saving of 5-7% is provided by the automatic engine stop/start function. Whenever the vehicle is stationary, the engine is immediately shut-off to save fuel. As soon as the brake is released, it is automatically started again by the powerful ISG. The operation is carried out seamlessly and requires no input from the driver.

In congested driving conditions, fuel saving is taken a step further by the Saab BioPower Hybrid Concept’s ‘Zero Mode’ operation – giving zero fuel consumption, and, of course, zero emissions – which can be selected by the driver via a button in the central console. At speeds below 50 kph, ‘Zero Mode’ will shut off the engine and again switch the car over to electric power only through the RDU. In this mode, the battery bank provides a range of between 10 and 20 kilometers (6-12 miles). The engine is smoothly re-engaged whenever the battery status approaches a low charge level or the electronic throttle opening requires acceleration beyond the 50 kph (31 mph) operating limit.

Whenever the engine is shut down, all auxiliary functions, such as the power steering, air conditioning and lighting, remain unaffected because they are now permanently electrically-powered through the battery. The removal of unnecessary loadings on the engine further contributes to fuel economy and in mixed driving the estimated range of Saab 9-3 BioPower Hybrid Concept test vehicles, with a standard 62 liter tank, is a competitive 800 kms.

Finally, in low grip road conditions, traction can be optimized by the addition of rear-wheel-drive for improved handling and safety. For example, when the electronic traction control system (TCS) is activated at the front wheels, the car can be balanced by the application of rear drive.

Driver instrumentation for the Saab BioPower Hybrid Concept is as discreet as the installation of its hybrid engineering. In the main instrument cluster, icons are illuminated to indicate when the car is running on engine and/or electric power. An additional gauge is also fitted to show the power status of the battery bank. Under electric power, the needle will steadily fall and then rise again when the engine provides charging. The turbo boost gauge is calibrated by tree icons, a playful reminder of the car’s renewable energy source.

In overall operation, the Saab BioPower Hybrid Concept is designed to deliver enhanced performance and valuable energy savings. The concept can enrich driving appeal while also moving further towards the goal of sustainable mobility.

Further Information:

GM has a diverse hybrid program , with three separate systems designed to provide an opportunity for more consumers to own a hybrid vehicle and benefit from increased fuel savings. Next year, GM will introduce in the USA the world’s first two-mode hybrid system in the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon full-size SUVs. This will be mated with Active Fuel Management TM to deliver a fuel economy improvement of at least 25 per cent. The Saturn Vue Green Line SUV, with a new, more affordable hybrid system giving estimated fuel savings of up to 20 per cent, goes on sale in the US this summer. Hybrid vehicles currently on the US market include the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks with fuel saving stop/start technology.

Bioethanol fuel is produced commercially from agricultural crops such as sugarcane, corn and other forms of biomass. When considering CO2 emission savings, the whole chain – feedstock, fuel supply and vehicle combustion – must be considered. Dependent on its source and its production process, the use of bioethanol can reduce CO2 emissions up 90% against fossil gasoline. This is because emissions from its combustion are balanced by an amount of CO2 that is removed from the atmosphere when energy crops are grown. In this way, the CO2 present in the atmosphere remains in a natural cycle, whereas CO2 emissions from the use of a fossil fuel – such as gasoline or diesel – add new CO2 to the atmosphere which has been locked up in oil deposits underground.

Saab is a division of General Motors Corp. Saab Automobile USA is the importer and distributor of Saab 9-2X, 9-3, 9-5 cars and the 9-7X SUV for Saab Automobile AB, Sweden.

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Production Concept