“Saabrina” The 1995 Saab 900 Electric Car Project Ends

Posted on 06. Oct, 2008 by in 2000-2009, 900 NG, Enthusiasts


Photo Credit: Mark Ward

I first covered Mark Ward of Missouri’s 1995 Saab NG900 Electric project titled “Saabrina“, back in December of 2006 when the project really got underway.

Over the past few years, I have illustrated the incredible progress he has made such as the drivetrain in September of 2007, the battery install in December of 2007 to the recent actual driving footage of the car this past February.

My most recent coverage included a nice interview with him here that covers all sorts of commonly asked questions.

Here is his final installation to the Electric Vehicle Community regarding this absolutely devastating blow to development. I should indicate that, he beat Saab Automobile to task by actually making an electric vehicle that runs and has proved it this past spring.

I am very sympathetic and my heart is with him as he indicates on his final blog entry.

Very Sad News to report much after the fact.

At 3:00 A.M. on the morning of April 17th 2008 a fire of unknown origin broke out in my garage. The Saab, all of my machinery and all of my work for 3 years was destroyed.

Fortunately my wife and I got out of the house unhurt and the “heroes” of St. Charles County and St. Charles City fire departments ganged up on the fire and put it out before it spread from the garage into the house. The damage destroyed the electric service which came through the garage and we had some smoke damage. The result was spending 3 months in a condo until my house was fixed and we were able to move back in July 28th. They did a fine job on the house and in some ways it is better than ever.

I want to take the opportunity to thank my Insurer State Auto of Ohio. What a fantastic company that took care of my needs and acted quickly to assist me. I would also like to thank Chris Powers of Nixon and company Insurance adjusters for taking a personal interest in helping me through a rough time.

In addition to my shop and the car, I also lost my intrepid Ford Ranger. It was parked behind the Saab and I didn’t have time to get either of them out. I was able to back my wife’s Chevy Malibu out of the garage before it sustained any damage and trip to the car wash took care of it pretty well.

While State Auto did everything they could to fix things for me, the opposite has been true with Progressive Insurance who insured the Saab. The adjuster was very sympathetic when I first called him about the claim. It was later on when I found that in spite of knowing the Saab was electric they were going to try to pay me for it’s value as a gas vehicle which is next to nothing in the car market. They asked for receipts to show my cost of major items, etc, but in the end it made no difference at all to them. The adjuster now calls himself a “theft investigator” and isn’t a bit nice. He recently called to read me a letter he had already sent by certified mail I believe just to antagonize me. I suppose they believe that by wanting to be fairly compensated I am trying to steal from them or something.

So after getting a professional adjuster to appraise my car which came in at $28,500-$40,000, Progressive has now come back with a $2500 estimate from their so-called “professional” adjuster. They sent someone out to the salvage yard to take photos of the remains fo the car and apparently based their appraisal on that alone. It is apparent from their appraisal that they know nothing about converted EVs or the costs involved in doing so. They have given me 15 days to accept their “generous offer”.

So it turns out that “actual cash value” is whatever Progressive decides your car is worth. I have turned the matter over to an attorney at this time.

The moral of the story is to check out who you buy insurance from, get it in writing what ACV actually means or find a company that issues “declared” value. ASK for the policy information up front. Don’t sign up with anyone until you read it all and ask a lot of questions. I have yet to collect a dime from them and it might take a long time if I ever do. It is real obvious they want the problem to go away. It is not.

I have no plans currently to start another car. A lot of things would have to transpire to replace machinery that I once had. And of course the beautiful elegant Saab. It would be hard to find another donor car of such impecable quality and harder yet to restart my ambition.

This was a picture of the last time I have seen the car. It was before sunrise and is hard to see. I have no idea where the car is at this time. Interestingly the battery pack was still intact after the fire even though some debris had dropped down on top of it. The car was not plugged in and nothing was going on at the time of the fire. We didn’t get to go a lot of miles together, but those we shared were great. The things I learned from the project are priceless!

Thanks to all that have given their support and encouragement throughout the project.
Check back into this website soon. It is my plan to post all the correspondence I am getting from Progressive for the EV community to see. Please pass along the information about the demise of Saabrina and the difficulties I am having with Progressive to everyone else interested in electric vehicles.

Mark Ward

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