Archive for June, 2007

Saab BioPower – Frequently Asked Questions

Posted on 27. Jun, 2007 by .



As a permanent reference for individuals just learning about Saab Automobile’s BioPower program or those looking for more information, I am placing a home for such information beginning with a simplified frequently asked question guide that was provided by Saab Automobile U.K. in a press release some months back.

I have taken the liberty to include the 9-3 models while also globalizing the context that these answers now refer to.

In the future, I will plan on updating this document to link to other material that specifically pertains to Saab Automobile’s BioPower program.

Saab BioPower – Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is Flex Fuel Technology?
A. Flex fuel technology enables a car to run on different types of fuels and different mixtures of fuels. In the case of the Saab 9-3 & 9-5 BioPower models, the cars are capable of running on bioethanol E85, unleaded gasoline or any mixture of unleaded gasoline and bioethanol E85, in any proportions.

Q. What is bioethanol E85?
A. Bioethanol E85 is an eco-friendly yet potent fuel source that can be used to power suitably adapted engines. It is made from 85% bioethanol and 15% gasoline. Bioethanol is currently made from various renewable and sustainable agricultural sources including cereal crops (such as maize, wheat, barley, rye) sugar crops (sugar cane, sugar beet) and lignocellulosic crops (hay, straw, forestry waste).

Q. How is bioethanol produced?
A. Bioethanol is an alcohol distilled commercially from grain, cellulose or sugar cane. It has been produced from sugar cane for many years in Brazil and also from corn in the mid-West of the United States. In Sweden, it is produced from wood pulp and forest residues.

Q. How much does bioethanol cost?
Depending on where yuo live in the world, it is consistently lower than Gasoline as well as Diesel in Sweden, United Kingdom, United States, Spain and South America and elsewhere. As more pumps are opened and more fuel is sold, the price will likely be reduced even more, plus the cost of bioethanol will not be directly linked to international oil prices so the price should stay relatively stable.

Q. What if I don’t live near a bioethanol pump?
A. The Saab 9-3 & 9-5 BioPower cars can run on unleaded gasoline as well as bioethanol, so if you are ever in the situation where an ethanol pump is not available, you can simply fill up with conventional fuel until one does find itself closer to you or you find yourself closer to one in your travels.

Q. How much extra does a BioPower car cost?
A. The Saab 9-5 BioPower costs slightly more than the gasoline equivalent, which is roughly the same price as purchasing either vehicle with the metallic paint option. The reason that the Saab 9-5 BioPower costs slightly more is because some engine components and the fuel system have to be made compatible. Components such as valves and valve seats have to be changed because gasoline has a certain lubricating effect that bioethanol lacks. New electronics in the car are designed to continuously adapt the engine calibration to all possible different mixes of unleaded petrol and bioethanol E85. Some materials in the fuel system i.e. the tank, fuel pump and fuel lines must be changed to cope with the corrosive effects of running bioethanol.

Q. How does bioethanol affect the performance of the car?
A. Saab’s turbo charging technology and engine management systems make it possible to take advantage of bioethanol’s higher octane rating, resulting in increased brakehorsepower (bhp) and torque. Saab’s 2.0t BioPower engine can deliver an impressive 20 percent gain in bhp and 16 percent growth in torque when the car runs on bioethanol E85 compared to when running on regular unleaded gasoline. Saab’s new 2.3t BioPower engine can produce 210bhp when running on bioethanol E85 compared to 185bhp for an even more exhilarating eco-friendly performance.

Q. Which Saab cars are available to run on bioethanol?
A. Currently the entire Saab Automobile lineup is bioethanol E85 capable that include the Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan, SportCombi, Convertible and Saab 9-5 Sedan, SportCombi models.

Q. Do any other countries have bioethanol cars on their roads?
A. Yes, Brazil, Sweden and the USA all have bioethanol cars and supporting infrastructures on their roads. Brazil has been using bioethanol compatible cars since the 1970’s. In Sweden approximately 80 percent of new Saab 9-5 cars sold are the bioethanol variant. Sweden also has a rapidly expanding network of E85 pumps with over 400 spread across the country of approximately 9 million people.

Q. What could the government do to encourage people to choose more environmentally-friendly cars?

A. Saab’s experience in other countries shows that the national and local government can make a crucial contribution to giving consumers the confidence to make the switch to greener fuels, including bioethanol E85, by introducing an integrated package of long-term incentives.

Q. How does the use of bioethanol help the environment?
A. Bioethanol helps the environment by reducing our dependency on fossil fuels. The most important difference between gasoline and bioethanol is that bioethanol puts less new carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, instead recycling the CO2 that is already present. Carbon dioxide is one of the “greenhouse gases” that contributes to global warming. CO2 is removed from the atmosphere through nature’s photosynthesis process during the growing of crops and trees for ethanol production, which is then released again during combustion of the fuel in the car’s engine. This in effect stablises atmospheric CO2 levels. The burning of fossil fuels can only add CO2 into the atmosphere meaning that CO2 levels will continue to increas indefinately.

BioEthanol is both a renewable and sustainable fuel, unlike fossil fuels such as gasoline and diesel, which will one day run out.


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Saab Automobile Spain launches BioPower models

Posted on 27. Jun, 2007 by .



Photo Credit: Saab Automobile Spain

Saab Automobile of Spain is launching the BioPower range of vehicles in concert with the inaguration of a number of Ethanol Pumps. Here is the press release below, translated using Altavista Babelfish.



As part of the Energy Board in Basque, Spain known as the EVE the board on environmental awareness, there has been a recent inaguration of three BioEthanol pumps that coincides with the launching of Saabs BioPower vehicles in Guipúzcoa and Álava, Spain. The price of BioEthanol is of 0.845 euros per liter, more economical than the gasoline and the diesel engine currently. The Saab mark is leader in the market of bioethanol with its BioPower technology and with the incorporation of the BioPower technology to the 9-3 range, Saab is the first mark in offering a complete range of respectful vehicles with Ethanol.

For more information on this Energy advisory program, please visit their website directly here.

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Jay Leno Invites the public to explore his 1958 SAAB 93b

Posted on 25. Jun, 2007 by .



Today, Jay Leno, a native of Boston, Massachusetts introduces the public to his 1958 SAAB 93b that was the first SAAB introduced to the United States in Boston, Massachusetts in 1956. Jay Leno acquired his SAAB 93b from Tom Donney just a few years ago who has also been very supportive of Saab History recently with his time and resources. A true SAAB enthusiast with a passion for the two-stroke.

In this video, you can now enjoy a nice video tour directly on his website or below, that in great detail, describes the mechanics and design of the car while also giving us a real-world test drive of him driving the car with footage from inside and out.

Also, don’t forget to take a look at the more than twenty photographs of this vintage SAAB 93b available on Jay Leno’s online photo album as well.

*It is interesting to see that Leno’s SAAB 93b has a nice Vintage Saab Club of North America grille badge proudly attached.

I think that you will thoroughly enjoy the video as well as the photographs, so please pass it onto your friends!


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Saab Experimental Vehicle (EV-1) – 1985

Posted on 24. Jun, 2007 by .



Photo Credit: Saab Automobile

The Saab Experimental Vehicle (EV-1) was introduced at the International motorshow in Frankfurt, Germany between September 12th through the 22nd of 1985. It was at this event where Saab introduced the first experimental vehicle or concept car in Europe that was based off of the Saab 900 Turbo 16.

This vehicle was designed by Björn Envall at the Saab Design Center. The sheet metal and painting was done by Mellberg Custom in Nyköping, Sweden, the same town where Saab maintains a rather large parts & accessories facility.

The purpose of this vehicle was for Saab to test materials, components and technology in the real world. Unlike many concept vehicles, this vehicle was built similiar to a production vehicle in that it was extremely capable as a daily-driver vehicle in even the most extreme conditions.

The design is of the EV-1 is quite progressive with cutting-edge technology deployed throughout. One of the most significant integration of environmentally sensitive technologies in the EV-1 was the roof being built almost entirely of solar cells that produce electric power for the fans that provide ventilation in the car when located in close proximity to direct and indirect sunlight.

The front and rear parts of the EV-1 are built out of a lightweight aramid fibre reinforced plastic which can absorb impact and resume their original shape. The interior of the vehicle consists of lightweight seats that are electrically controlled, very progressive for the time.

The engine is a standard, 16-valve Turbo engine that has been tuned to provide 285 horsepower.

The chassis and suspension include standard components that were adopted from a standard Saab 900 Turbo model and tweaked and modified slightly.

Here are some more of the original photos from the press release:



Photo Credits: Saab Automobile

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The First Hydrogen Pump in the United States

Posted on 24. Jun, 2007 by .


With the research moving forward on the E-85 campaign that I have mentioned previously on E85 availability for Saab Automobile’s BioPower program in the United States, I have come across some interesting information regarding an another alternative fuel pump being the first available to the public in Washington, D.C. as well as all of the United States.

In 2004, Washington, D.C.’s Energy Office in collaboration with the Department of Energy installed its first alternative fuel at at Shell station on Benning Road that is in close proximity to RFK stadium, current home of the Washington Nationals baseball team. While this pump is publicly accessible, it is not E-85, it is a Hydrogen pump and was built and intended to provide power to six HydroGen3 vehicles by GM. This pump also cost Shell just over approximately $2 million dollars to deploy.

This hydrogen pump as well as the other two E-85 pumps in the District of Columbia, are the only known alternative fuel stations in the area, but the hydrogen pump is the only one that is publicly available. It would be interesting to find out how many private individuals have refueled at this pump, outside of the six test HydroGen3 mini-van vehicles.

The question still remains, when will the first publicly accessible E-85 pump be installed in the Nation’s Capitol of Washington, D.C. in the near future?

This pump location:

3355 Benning Road, NE
Washington, D.C. 20019


Photo Credit: Shell

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SAAB-SCANIA of America Ad – 1972

Posted on 24. Jun, 2007 by .


In 1972, SAAB-SCANIA of America, Inc.headquartered at 60 Marsh Hill Road in Orange, Connecticut, placed the following advertisement in Motor Trend. This early advertisement focuses on many aspects of the ongoing issues in the world of automobiles.Many of these issues are still true today, and may be one of the first advertisements by SAAB to focus on their technological advances that set themselves apart from other manufacturers in terms of energy efficiency and environmental awareness in terms of emissions standards.


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Nines Magazine – July/August issue arrived

Posted on 22. Jun, 2007 by .


The July/August 2007 issue of Nines Magazine arrived today week. Nines is the official magazine of the Saab Club of North America. If you do not subscribe to it, I highly suggest you do.

In this issue there are great writeups on the 25th Annual Saab Owners Convention that will be taking place during August 23rd through the 26th Troy, Michigan. Register today before August 10th, 2007 to confirm your attendance.

You can subscribe to Nines while also registering as a Member for the Saab Club of North America (SCNA) on their website at the following address.


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E85 Availability in the United States

Posted on 20. Jun, 2007 by .


Photo Credit: Saab Automobile

Today marks the official start of a campaign towards more environmentally friendly fuel alternatives for Saabs here in the United States. Saab History has a geographic opportunity being located in the United States Capitol, where it will begin an effort to see it that E85 (85% Ethanol / 15% Gasoline) becomes ubiquitous in our infrastructure. With the Saab 9-5 BioPower accounting for a large and growing number of sales in Sweden, and the new 9-3 models also now E85 capable, there are many individuals in the United States just waiting to get their hands on either model, but the only problem is and has been for a number of years now, E85 availability.

While traveling recently in Sweden during the 60th Anniversary Saab Festival, I could not help but notice that just about every refueling station had an E85 pump. It was a difficult reality for many of us to return to the United States and experience a virtually non-existant E85 infrastructure. This reality today needs to change for the climate as well as for Saab Automobile USA, where the BioPower could also prove to be a best seller here stateside as it in Sweden.

In this campaign there are a number of important objectives, but reducing our carbon emissions is the first priority to help slow down global warming to keep this planet healthy today and in the future, and E85 is the next logical step in assuring this objective because the technology to harness this fuel is ready and available.

This campaign will begin with a thorough research program that in parallel, will include an iterative dialog with leaders on Capitol Hill written and in person, all of which will be covered here on Saab History.

e85_washington_dc.jpgIn moving forward, it is interesting to note that in Washington, D.C., there are “officially” two E85 stations, but as you can see from the database records below thanks to, they are not publicly accessible. If there is a place to start with E85 availability, I will begin here in Washington, D.C. to see to it that E85 becomes a reality for the general public.

Bolling Air Force Base
Washington, DC 20032
* Private facility. No public access.

DC Fleet Management Admin. Fueling Location
1835 W Virginia Ave., NE
Washington, D.C., DC 20002
* Government fleet vehicle use only.

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Production Concept