Archive for '9-X BioHybrid'

Saab 9-X BioHybrid Honored at Automotive Hall of Fame

Posted on 26. Jun, 2008 by .

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Saab Automobile USA have recently provided Saab History this press release of the Saab 9-X BioHybrid concept that was recently introduced at the Detroit International Auto Show this past January.

While this news is great news, where are the details on the production? Is General Motors still needing more convincing that the demand is here in order to commence with the production of this model?

2008-06-25

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Voted “Specialty Concept Car of the Year” by North American Media

Saab 9-X BioHybrid Honored at Automotive Hall of Fame

Detroit – Already labeled “Best Concept” by AutoWeek Magazine upon its world debut at the Geneva auto show last March, the Saab 9-X BioHybrid has been voted “Specialty Concept Car of the Year” by a jury of 25 professional North American automotive journalists. The award ceremony took place at the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Michigan.

Now in its 7th rendition, the annual Concept Car of the Year Awards recognize those vehicles that are most likely to shape the future of the automobile industry. The winners were selected from 40 concept cars and 12 production preview vehicles that made their North American debut during the 2008 auto show season.

“The Saab 9-X BioHybrid blends organic form with ecologically sound propulsion for both aesthetic and environmental appeal”, said jury panel member Arv Voss of Auto Impressions. Added Bob Kroupa of the Automotive Writers Group: “Saab takes center stage with a new design approach for a compact vehicle. With the BioHybrid turbo engine included, we have a winner”.
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The Saab 9-X BioHybrid Configuration Discussion

Posted on 24. May, 2008 by .

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Photo Credit: Saab Automobile

Edmunds inside line has recently written some concerning news about the Saab 9-X BioHybrid’s configuration (2-doors or 4-doors), however the 600 pound gorilla in the room has still not been considered (3-door fastback utilitarian hatchback).

Here is their recap from Saab Automobile USA’s marketing director, Roger McCormack whom I interviewed in Detroit back in January.

McCormack says Saab is carefully considering how many doors the production car should have, because the company believes the two-door layout compromises the sales potential of the premium compact cars currently on the road. Moreover, some research is indicating that the utility of four doors trumps the styling statement of a coupe — even for younger buyers.

McCormack said two doors and high prices have worked against some of the premium compact cars already on the road. Mini, for example, made it a point to add a third access door for the new Clubman to mitigate the reduced utility of the standard two-door Mini, and the appeal of the Audi A3 and 1 Series, both pretty fine cars to drive, has been severely limited by its high prices. Saab wants to avoid these pitfalls with the 9-1.

“I don’t think anybody’s nailed it yet,” he said of the current models in the premium compact segment. McCormack said the challenge is to find the right balance of size, fuel economy, price — and body style.

So what does all of this mean? This dialog within Saab Automobile USA mentioned above indicates that the configuration of the 9-X BioHybrid is in question at this time, but it surprises me that the hatchback configuration continues to be overlooked.

It’s the hatchback Saab needs for that critical utilitarian function that came to an end in 2002 on the 9-3 model, so why not include that into the production version of the Saab 9-X BioHybrid?

Memo to Saab: If you build it, they will come..

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Saab Automobile & Hummer : Two Opposing World Views

Posted on 18. May, 2008 by .

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As both a follow-up to the AIA Convention I recently attended in Boston as well as my post on the Saab/Cadillac/Hummer dealership arrangement in the United States, I leave you with a very funny message that the presenter of the final seminar at that convention on “Solar and Wind Power” who indicated the “Need to change the mindset in terms of the American idea of power and energy use today in both the transportation and built environment”.

This presenter who runs a solar design consulting company in Massachusetts also emphasized that there were two opposing world views in the United States today, those being the following:

“A 6,500 pound grocery getter capable of para-military maneuvers getting single digit miles per gallon on the way home from soccer practice or a fully integrated intelligent design hybrid electric that gets 65 miles to the gallon minimum with the most efficient drag co-efficient in the industry”

It is important to indicate that in the near future while GM already showcases Saab’s in the event show circuit next to each other, like the recent NY Auto Show, they will also be, showcased together at the dealership level as “premium brands”, even though they couldn’t be any more opposite.

This dialog continues to prompt more important questions on how and why GM believes they can successfully sell and service the aforementioned “6,500 pound para-military single digit mileage SUV alongside a fuel efficient environmentally friendly brand in parallel to one another.

Other questions to ponder include the following:

Do the current 1st quarter results in the automobile industry of Toyota trumping GM in sales, send a clear message to GM?

What will the inclusion of both Saab & Hummer at the dealership, do to the environmentally friendly, progressive image of the Saab Automobile brand?

Furthermore, why has Saab Automobile been careful about their plans to produce the Saab 9-X BioHybrid Concept car? If and when Saab do produce this vehicle, when will it be available for sale in our Saab dealerships that are begging for this vehicle as we speak?

Please answer these questions as well as: “What direction will you take and why”? in the comments below.

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A Report On Saab Automobile’s Hybrid Projects

Posted on 14. May, 2008 by .

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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.

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The Saab 9-4x & 9-X BioHybrid Coverage in Sweden

Posted on 13. May, 2008 by .

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Film Credit: Auto Motor & Sport

The Saab 9-4x BioPower Concept & 9-X BioHybrid Concept have been recently showcased by Auto Motor & Sport. During this filming, the concept cars were showcased in and around the falls in Trollhättan, where Saab Automobile’s project strategist, Andreas Eskengren was interviewed.

Enjoy the video that was filmed that showcases these vehicles in Swedish, above!

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The Swedish Hybrid Vehicle Centre in Sweden

Posted on 02. May, 2008 by .

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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 http://www.chalmers.se/shc

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.

Mission:

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

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The Saab 9-X BioHybrid Concept North American Premiere

Posted on 27. Mar, 2008 by .

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Photo Credit: Saab History (Caption: L-to-R Saab Sweden & USA Presidents, Jan-Ã…ke Jonsson & Steve Shannon)

As a guest invited by Saab Automobile USA & General Motors, it was another great opportunity to be present for this North American premiere of the second introduction of this compact product segment for the Saab brand. I also realized that much like I did previously with the 9-4x BioPower Concept launch and Turbo-X Launch, it was important to once again provide good video coverage in addition to photography. With that in mind, I took the initiative to solicit sponsors and in that process, site sponsor Saab of Hunterdon in New Jersey. came in at the nick of time to sign up as a film sponsor. This support ultimately faciliated the ability to cover costs to rent a professional camcorder to film the event.

The Saab 9-X BioHybrid Concept North American Premiere took place this past Tuesday in New York City, March 19th, 2008 almost three weeks following its global launch in Geneva on March 3rd, 2008.

I began this event by flying out early from National Airport in Washington, D.C. en-route to New York City on Tuesday morning. Shortly after my arrival, I made it a point to head directly to the former location of SAAB’s first office in New York City at 405 Park Avenue. With the rise and fall of buildings throughout the world, in particular on Manhattan island, I was incredibly surprised that this building still stands. Immediately after some photography taken here, I continued to pick up my camcorder equipment and then began preparing for the Saab Reflective event that evening that began on 9pm and concluded at 1am.

reflective_small.jpgThe Saab Reflective event that night began promptly and initially reminded me of the “GM Style Event” that took place back in January the night before the North American International Auto Show began. The GM Style Event was communicated as “an evening celebrating artistic convergence of vehicle design, fashion and music”, and in a similiar fashion, the Saab reflective event was an event that also focused on clothing and vehicles, but under “eco-friendly” auspises. dscn8094_300.jpgDuring this event, both the aforementioned Saab 9-4x BioPower Concept as well as the Saab 9-X BioHybrid Concepts were displayed as backdrops to this launch of an eco-clothing collection for Saab Automobile in partnership with a Swedish clothing design firm called Reflective Circle.

It was during this event that there was a number of media mingling amongst a number of select local New Yorkers who got to get their first glimpse of these concept cars and clothing. The concept cars themself, were re-revealed at this venue by a number of models all dressed in while carrying umbrellas in a carefully choreographed sequence that seemed to be a cross between something you would see at the rocketts at radio city music hall and a runway platform in Paris. During and after this introduction, there were some notable Saab executives present, but surprisingly, there were not any Saab designers on hand to speak or discuss the design intent, direction and future of the Saab Automobile brand and product development. 2_300.jpgThis particular omission was surprising, given that this venue was purposely planned in order to promote the Saab concept vehicles in a more unique and intimate way that Saab could only do in another one of their “key” North East markets in the United States. It was clear that while this event was certainly geared towards a certain New York audience, it was partially at the expense of the rest of the media and other individuals who were present, because it did not represent their specific demographic and psychographic or at least partially. What was not clear for me was the entertainment value of the event for the press and media, other than what I believe to be, in my opinion, a notable event that not only complimented the Geneva Motor Show, but the New York Auto Show the following day as well.

With the night coming to an end, Saab Automobile, the media, guests and other individuals managed to wrap it up after nearly four full hours of socializing, mingling and networking at this first ever eco-event that took place at the IAC Building in New York City.
3_300.jpgThe event showcasing an eco-friendly clothing line, subtly indicating the Saab concept cars while toasting to “BioPower Martinis” served on none other than an ice bar, harkened back to Saab’s scandinavian roots and ever-continuing “ice-block” design element theming most notably in the interiors of both concept cars present inside and out.

As I began to make my way out of the building with other colleagues and various other members of the press, we began discussing and were eventually all in agreement that while this event was fun at an individual level, we were left with less of a complete understanding as to the entire objective of the event, combined with the fact that the concept cars that were present, were out promoted by an eco-friendly clothing line.

logo1.jpg On Wednesday, March 20th, the New York International Auto Show opened their doors early to the media and press. I was looking forward to seeing the Saab stand as I had previously in Detroit, Michigan, and this time I noticed that the venue was certainly different in scale and design. 11.jpgWhile the Saab stand and display at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit being large, adequately lit and more open, I found that the Saab stand in New York was challenging from a photographic, and video production perspective. I clearly had my work cut out for me.

As I began to make my way through the Saab stand, I was surprised to see that the Saab 9-X BioHybrid was not presented as prominent as I would have thought in the display, where the Saab 9-4x BioPower Concept appeared to be more front and center as you will see in the photograph. I also got to see on the stand, the Saab 9-3 Turbo-X that was suited with the proper three-spoke wheels that made its North American launch at the Boston Auto Show this past November. What was most surprising about the Saab stand was that outside the smaller scale, and 9-X BioHybrid set in the background, there was no single Saab 9-5 in either sedan or wagon (combi) configuration. This refined model for the Saab brand, now in its 10-year anniversary is still a great model, so I see no reason to exclude it as it is part of the lineup.

2.jpgNear the end of my experience at the Saab stand during the show, I did get the opportunity to have an interview with both Steve Shannon and Jan-Ã…ke Jonsson, the president of Saab Automobile USA & Global operations respectively. This experienced helped me formulate my in person opinions on my previous thoughts on the Saab 9-X BioHybrid as well as the the future of Saab Automobile.

The final program for the day involved a nice informal group meeting with Bryan Nesbitt, GM Vice President of GM North America Design located at the GM Design Center in Warren, Michigan. I really enjoyed his information, on the Saab 9-X BioHybrid design, as well as the driving as well as associated lifestyle differences in North America versus Western Europe. I am glad that this chance to talk about the 9-X BioHybrid with a designer, took place in addition to the GM Next chat some days later with Anthony Lo, online.

The take aways I had from my experience seeing the 9-X BioHybrid in person was that while I like the idea of this vehicle, I was not entirely convinced that every bit of theory that this vehicle was communicated to have, will see be one hundred percent applied to a production vehicle. I also think it is critical that this concept car, once it goes to market as a production model, includes everything indicated in this premiere as well as cross-wheel drive as an option. I believe that everything including the solar-powered roof as outlined in the specifications of this concept car, will need to see production, because Saab is always about innovative industry firsts, so it is about time that they maintain that position once again here in this vehicle segment for the brand.

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This North American launch for the Saab 9-X BioHybrid was an important venue for Saab Automobile. I believe that the aforementioned reflection event combined with the New York Auto show complimented the Geneva Motor Show. As a member of the press invited to this event, I was fortunate to to get the chance to see the Saab 9-X BioHybrid in person and my thoughts on this concept car have remained unchanged, following this experience.

I appreciated this experience thanks Saab Automobile USA, General Motors as well as Saab of Hunterdon & JMK for making it all possible.

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Saab Designer Anthony Lo On the Saab 9-X BioHybrid

Posted on 27. Mar, 2008 by .

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Photo Credit: Saab Automobile

I recently participated in another installment of the GM Next chat with Saab Designer, Anthony Lo. Anthony Lo joined Saab Automobile AB in October, 2000, as chief designer for Advanced Design. Lo has lead the design of the Saab 9-X, 9-3X, 9-3 Sport Hatch, and Aero-X, 9-4x, 9-X BioHybrid concept cars.

I was very interested to hear many of his responses to the questions posed: Please keep in mind that the order in which the questions posted did not necessarily sync up with all answers, so please use your own intuition.

Here is the full chat transcript below:

NoSpeaker: Anthony Lo, Director of Advanced Design, General Motors Europe
Region: North America
Date: 25 – March – 2008
Time: 10:30 –11:30 a.m. (EST)

SME: Anthony Lo, Director of Advanced Design, General Motors Europe
Date: 2008-March-25
Time: 10:30 –11:30 a.m. (EST)

A.Lo.Moderator:
Hello everyone, I’m Dave Roman, Director of GM Europe Technology & Design Communications, and I will be your moderator for this webchat session. Anthony has arrived and he is logging into the chat right now. We’ll get started in a moment.

SaabHistory.com:
What are your thoughts on the Saab 9-X BioHybrid?

Anthony.Lo:
Good morning! The 9-X BioHybrid is our vision on what a compact size Saab would look líke.

SaabHistory.com:
On model nomenclature: Why was the Saab 9-X reusing the 9-X again, instead of 9-1x?

Anthony.Lo:
As it remains as a concept, we would like to reuse the 9-X nomenclature.

SaabHistory.com:
On Technology: What will be making production (ie. Solar Panels, etc.) and do the solar panels on this car actually work this time or is it just theoretical?

Anthony.Lo:
The hybrid system is announced for production on future GM vehicles. On the solar panel, we are working on several studies on how to improve battery performance and solar is one of them. The panel itself does not work on the concept.
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Production Concept