A Report On Saab Automobile’s Hybrid Projects

Posted on 14. May, 2008 by in 2000-2009, 9-3 BioPower Hybrid, 9-X, 9-X BioHybrid

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I have recently read a report from Car Guides as a translation from Sweden’s MiljöRapporten on the future of Saab Automobile’s hybrid products as well as the other automobile manufacturers projects in the short-term.

This recently translated article is, in my opinion, a great follow-up to the long-term piece about the Scandinavian Hybrid collaborative between Saab Automobile, Volvo & Sweden’s energy company, Vattenfall as well as the Swedish Hybrid Vehicle Center projects at a number of Swedish Universities.

For the record, we have at this time, two concept vehicles, both the Saab 9-3 BioPower Hybrid Convertible Concept in 2006 and the Saab 9-X BioHybrid Concept this year. These concept vehicles are a great start, however, knowing that technologically speaking these are just concept vehicles and maintain more of the “theory” of what’s to come opposed to the “reality” of what is currently available.

So here is the question: When exactly will we see a Saab Hybrid in production that customer can actually buy? The customers want them, the dealerships want them, and other manufacturers already have them. Since Saab has historicall been about innovative industry firsts, what is holding them back from the hybrid at this time?

I hope that they get on board with this one and fast, because time is moving fast these days.

Here is the report below:

As we said, Volvo and Saab will put ten PHEVs on the road by 2009 to create a strong Swedish plug-in market, with vehicle testing to begin next year. Using vehicles from these two automakers, technical know-how from Vattenfall and lithium-ion batteries from ETC Battery, the plug-in hybrid project will have a budget of 62 million Swedish crowns (around $9.6 million U.S.) The vehicle models that will be used and other details are being kept quiet. Continue after the break for more.

AutoblogGreen reader Stefan N.’s translation (slightly cleaned up) of this article:

Saab and Volvo in large plug-in project

Saab and Volvo will begin a large scale project on plug-in cars. In the project the two car manufacturers will test 10 plug-in cars in traffic during the next year. “We will be testing larger Volvo models working as PHEV,” says Klas Niste at Volvo Cars.

There is a lot of hush hush around this project. But in the corporations’ request for subsidies from the energy department, the goal is clear. The corporations wants to create a Swedish market for plug-in hybrids. Or as they write themselves, “Demonstrate how a simple customer-attractive total solution for plug-in hybrids could look like”.

Included in the project are Vattenfall and battery manufacturer ETC AB in Nol, Sweden. And what the different corporations are supplying is obvious. Volvo and Saab will provide ten PHEV cars. Vattenfall will provide technical solutions for loading the cars in a efficient way. ETC Battery will provide their lithium-ion batteries.

The project should run through 2008-2010 and the ten plug-in hybrids will be in traffic in 2009. Total budget is 62 million crowns, approx $10 million U.S. and the corporations has been seeking half the budget in subsidies. But to receive 50 percent financing it was demanded that more research and development was included in the project, according to the committee for the vehicle research, which gave clearance for a third of the total budget in subsidies.

-The next step will be that the four corporations return with an application where they assure that they pay for 65 percent of the finances, then it can proceed to the energy development committee, at the Energy department, which will decide on the subsidies surmounting 10 million crowns. I think a decision will be made in January-February and if they keep their promise of 65 percent of the financing they will get an OK, says Gunnar Lindstedt at Vinnova, secretary of the committee who recommends that the project should receive 20 million crowns in support. Both car manufacturers are keeping secret which models will be provided with PHEV functionality. So far the Volvo Cars has only shown the C30 as a PHEV. But, according to Klas Niste at Volvo Cars, there will be larger models included in the project. But what larger models has Volvo developed with plug-in technology? No comments, says Klas Niste.

Fact on the Plug-in project Project description in the application for money from Program council for vehicle research. “The application is regarding financial support to establish a common development and demonstration project for plug-in hybrids between SAAB Automobile, Volvo Car Corporation, Vattenfall AB and ETC AB. With the collaborations the parts want to strengthen the possibilities to create a future Swedish united, political and industrial, force for plug-in hybrids. Plug-in hybrids have a big potential to give a large contribution for Sweden to reach national and international climate goal and lessen the dependence on fossil fuel.

Goals:

* To construct and put ten PHEVs on the road by year 2009
* To evaluate vehicles and infrastructure under real circumstances
* To demonstrate what a simple customer-attractive total solution for plug-in hybrids would look like
* To contribute to increased acceptance and insight on the role plug-in hybrids can have to reach national and international climate goals, increase the safety for energy supplies and promote the future of Swedish competition in trade and industry.
* To contribute to research and development within the area through collaborations with, for example, SHC. The project is investigating the possibilities for SHC to be able to, from the data collected in this demonstration project, 1) evaluate batteries 2) analyze driving patterns 3) verify/calibrate simulationprograms for PHEV and HEV drivelines.

Financing. … Written by: Kenneth Samuelsson

Source: Car Guides & MiljöRapporten

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