Archive for '9-3 BioPower Hybrid'

The Saab Project Designs by Model

Posted on 28. Jun, 2008 by .



As a follow-up to the previous writeup on the past and present Saab designers and their achievements, it was necessary to include a chronological up-to-date listing of Saab projects both production and concepts.

This listing includes each Saab project, year introduced along with each designer and/or engineer that contributed to the given project.

This list is a work-in-progress, so any additions and/or modifications that you see necessary below, please add your comments to ensure correctness and accuracy.

Photo Credits: Saab Automobile

Design Contributions by Model

SAAB Scandia 90 (1946-1958)


Bror Bjurströmer

SAAB 91 (1947-1966)


A.J. Andersson

SAAB 92001 (Prototype) (1946/1947)


Sixten Sason

Gunnar Ljungström


Continue Reading

A Report On Saab Automobile’s Hybrid Projects

Posted on 14. May, 2008 by .



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.


Continue Reading

The Swedish Hybrid Vehicle Centre in Sweden

Posted on 02. May, 2008 by .


Saab Automobile has introduced two Hybrid concept vehicles over the years, one being the Saab 9-3 BioPower Hybrid Convertible Concept in 2006, followed by the most recent Saab 9-X BioHybrid Concept.

While we have not yet heard about a production ready Saab hybrid, yet, we can hope to see one in the near future with all of the recent investment in research and development as of late by Saab Automobile.

Since 2007, Saab Automobile has been collaborating with the Swedish Hybrid Vehicle Center that involves KTH University, Lund University while being hosted by Chalmers University in Göteborg, Sweden.

The Swedish Hybrid Vehicle Centre (SHC), as it is indicated, is a “distributed Center of Excellence with the objective to develop and optimize existing and coming technologies for propulsion and energy storage to find the most fuel effective and cost effective hybrid vehicle concept.”

Furthermore, Autoblog Green reports that there is currently $40 million dollars invested in the SHC over the next five years.

For more information about this interesting collaborative, please visit their website directly

Below are the their mission and objectives.

The Swedish Hybrid Vehicle Center (SHC) is a Center of Excellence established 2007 by the Swedish Energy Agency (Energimyndigheten) with three Swedish universities and six Swedish industrial companies as partners. Chalmers is the host for SHC.


The mission of the Centre is to be a strategic knowledge and competence base for education, research and development within hybrid electric vehicles, and to form a framework for cooperation between industry and academia.

Our main objectives are:

* Create knowledge and understanding for the fundamental processes in hybrid vehicle technology through experiments, simulations and modelling
* Define and investigate new technologies and hybrid vehicle concepts that will lead to more fuel effective vehicles

Focus of the research work is on a systems perspective, emphasizing on integration of and interaction between components and subsystems, but work will be divided into three areas:

* System studies and tools
* Electrical machines and drives
* Energy storage

Continue Reading

Scandinavian Collaborative Hybrid Projects In The Works

Posted on 17. Mar, 2008 by .



Photo Credit: Saab Automobile AB

I have recently been made aware of more projects that are in the works addition to both the Saab 9-3 BioPower Hybrid Convertible, and the Saab 9-X BioHybrid Concept.

The press release below indicates that Saab and Volvo are collaboration with Sweden’s electricity provider, Vattenfall, and will be doing quite a lot of continued research and development on hybrid technology.

This is really good news.

Please read below:


Together with electricity provider Vattenfall, Saab Automobile, ETC and the Swedish state, Volvo Car Corporation is launching a joint broad-based research venture to develop spearhead technology in the area of plug-in hybrid cars. Sweden will be the arena for the field tests.

Continue Reading

Saab History Interviews Kjell ac Bergström

Posted on 17. Jan, 2008 by .


Film Credit: Saab History

During the 2008 NAIAS, I had the great opportunity to meet with and interview Saab Automobile’s President & CEO of their Powertrain department, Kjell ac Bergström. Kjell ac Bergström is also the chief engineer responsible for Saab’s BioPower program as well and in this interview he describes the history of the program, where it will be going in the future, and of course some of his own history that he kindly shared with me.

A special thank you again to Saab Automobile & General Motors for being invited as a guest to this event, Saab Colorado, Inc. for sponsoring me to make this interview possible and Kjell ac Bergström for his time. Enjoy.

Continue Reading

Kjell ac Bergström – GM / Saab Powertrain President

Posted on 17. Jan, 2008 by .


kjell.jpgKjell ac Bergström is the President & CEO of Saab Automobile AB’s powertrain. His most notable accomplishments within the Saab brand have been the BioPower developments beginning with the first BioPower Engine showcased at the Geneva Auto Show in 2001. The first vehicle that was outfitted with the Saab BioPower engine was theSaab 9-5 BioPower in 2005.

Other accomplishments in the BioPower area for Kjell ac Bergström & Saab Automobile include the Saab 9-3 Convertible BioPower Hybrid Concept, the Saab 9-5 E100 BioPower Concept and of course the Saab Aero-X concept and the new Saab 9-4x BioPower Concept. Today all of Saab Automobile’s 9-3 as well as 9-5 models include available BioPower variants

This past summer, I had the great opportunity during the 2007 Saab 60th Anniversary Festival to enjoy a presentation by on Saab BioPower, quite an educational experience.

Here is a little background about his history in the area of powertrain and BioPower developments.

Kjell ac Bergström(M.Sc)
GM Powertrain Sweden
Saab Automobile Powertrain AB

2003-………………..GM Powertrain Sweden / Saab Automobile Powertrain AB CEO & President

2001-2003 ………..FIAT-GM Powertrain J/V, Torini Italy Vice President, Product Enginering

1999-2001…………Saab Automobile AB, Sweden Vice President, Powertrain

1994-1999…………Volvo Car Corporation, Sweden Senior Vice President, Transmission

1982-1994…………Volvo Car Corporation, Sweden Head of Engine Design & Development

1969-1982…………Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden Professor & Researcher, Internal Combustion Engines

1969………………….Chalmers University Of Technology Master of Science, Machine Engineering

Continue Reading

Saab BioPower Hybrid Concept 9-3 Convertible

Posted on 04. Jan, 2007 by .



The Saab 9-3 BioPower Hybrid Convertible concept video just released.

This vehicle by Saab Automobile, further illustrates Sweden’s initiatives to be independant of fossil fuels by 2020.

Below is a quote from the Sweden’s Government Offices from their Energy Policy.

“Climate change is the greatest and most important environmental challenge of our time. Most of the world’s climate researchers agree that the earth’s climate system is changing – and that emissions of greenhouse gases must be reduced to slow down these changes. The Swedish Government has therefore set a new policy target: the creation of the conditions necessary to break Sweden’s dependence on fossil fuels by 2020.”

For more information on the Saab 9-3 BioPower Hybrid Convertible, I have provided a press release from Saab Automobile at the World Premier in Stockholm back on March 30th, 2006.

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.

Continue Reading

Saab Biopower Hybrid 9-3 Convertible

Posted on 07. Dec, 2006 by .


The Saab Biopower Hybrid 9-3 Convertible has recently made an appearance at the 2006 Paris Motor show.

For more information on the Paris Motor Show, please visit

Here is a video from that event.

Continue Reading

Production Concept