Archive for 'Innovations'

A Rare Saab Engine Concept From The Seventies

Posted on 09. Mar, 2009 by .



Photo Credit: Saab Car Division of Saab-Scania

This photo was provided to Saab History a few years ago and today I have decided to let it surface.

I am hoping that anyone that is familiar with this concept, can help share their knowledge about what it is exactly, why it was developed, etc.

In the meantime, we can add this engine to the list of the many engines that never came to be included in production cars. These engines consist of the 9-cylinder steam engine developed the same decade, the Saab V-8 concept in the late eighties as well as two other engine concepts developed in the early 2000’s, those being the SVC and SCC engine concepts three decades later.

If there are other engines developed, that never surfaced, I would be interested in learning more about those as well!

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Saab Car Divisions Secret Saab-Scania V8 Project In 1989

Posted on 31. Dec, 2008 by .



Photo Credit: Raimo

According to a Saab History frequent visitor, Ivor M, the Saab Car Division worked with Saab-Scania to produce their first V-8 engine, effectively two combined 2.0 liter 4-cylinder engines in 1989.

He’s actually be in touch with one of the original design engineers responsible for the production of this engine! Great work Ivar! Although this is an interesting project, I believe it’s probably best that it was not given the green light because it would go against Saab’s philosophy of “rightsizing” anyways.

I have spoken with the test driver, design engineer and the person responsible for the production (all the same person) of totally 10 engines from SisuDiesel in Linnavouri.

Only 2 were assembled. 8 engines went back to SAAB Valmet factory and according to Valmet today, they have no parts or tools for casting left and they do not know what happened with the parts after the project was shut down by GM.

The engine had a specially made gear box and it will be very difficult to reproduce this engine again.

I will search more in Finland, if somebody assembled more engines from the parts of the remaining 8 engines.

Best Regards

Ivar M

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What Will Saab Automobile AB’s Next Innovation Be?

Posted on 17. Nov, 2008 by .



With all of the news lately, especially with the Swedish legislature banning fossil fuel vehicles by 2025, what will the next innovation be from Saab Automobile?

There has been a lot of “real” hybrid projects (not concept cars) receiving research and development funds lately, which will of course, only lead to being an interim solution until a fully electric option becomes available.

These projects include the Scandinavian collaborative between Saab, Volvo and Vattenfall as well as the Swedish vehicle hybrid center.

If we look back, we see a lot of progressive innovations for the times from Saab, so could the next solution be the answer to this legislation with a fully-electric sustainable grid powered vehicle?

What are your thoughts?

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Saab Automobile’s Opportunities For Success

Posted on 05. Sep, 2008 by .


Saab Automobile has been a leader in innovative thinking through their technologies ever since their early beginnings back in 1947.

Although things have been tough for them sales wise over the past few years, they will finally begin to see some strong new product introductions by the fall of 2009, but is it too late?

I want to begin with the idea of the Saab 9-1 / Saab 9-X BioHybrid because as Steve Shannon pointed out at the Saturday night dinner at the recent 2008 Saab Owners Convention, it was the first concept evidently built on a “compact premium” platform, so it can be produced as-is and is not a one-off like the prior concept cars, so why the delays and uncertainty? The need is certainly there so just build it!

Secondly, we have the Saab 9-3 XC or Cross-Combi, produced in Trollhättan, Sweden, that has been rumored to be debuting this fall as a direct competitor to the Audi Quattro, Volvo XC and Subaru Forrester. The interesting piece about this segment is that Saab should have had this back in 2002, but the project was halted due to GM at the time, stopping all product development in order to reel in costs.

The Saab 9-4x, the successor to the 9-7x, will be coming by the fall of 2009, produced in Mexico for the North American market as a cross-over as we’ve seen in the recent production photograph, very close to the concept vehicle shown in January this year, however that’s all we know at this point. I was specifically told at the 9-4x BioPower concept car’s launch in Detroit, that it will come with a turbocharged 4-cylinder and be touted as the halo vehicle for E-85 in North America. Although there’s been much speculation in the media of this vehicle coming in with a non turbo larger engine, I am optimistic that what I was told couldn’t be anything other than the truth and that we’ll see a 4-cylinder turbocharged crossover when it debuts. If anything other than that is actually produced, what’s the point, really?

Lastly, we have the new 9-5, shown as a rough design sketch also at the 2008 Saab Owners Convention, it also appears to be debuting just after the Saab 9-4x. It should be interesting to see what becomes of this launch because as old as the current 9-5 is, (10 years), this model to be produced at a GM Europe factory in Germany, must deliver as sales for the current 9-5 are totally flat. I worry that the idea of a larger premium sedan for Saab is another pointless exercise at this time as they should be focusing on smaller vehicles, which brings me to my last point.

There Saab Automobile is, with three out of four products set for launch by the fourth quarter of next year. So here’s the question, as Saab has traditionally been a company all about small “rightsized” vehicles, why wouldn’t the smaller premium compact segment be introduced prior to the 9-3 XC, 9-4X and New 9-5?

If GM is committed to seeing the Saab Automobile brand succeed, why not introduce a vehicle that is actually in demand? I question the need for more gas guzzling large vehicles such as crossovers and premium sedans.

I am also deeply concerned that these three vehicles although nice, won’t significantly contribute to turning the sales around for Saab Automobile as the 600 pound gorilla in the corner of the room (a small premium “rightsized” hatchback) would.

Having read this, what are your thoughts? I have included a poll below to see what you think Saab should focus on first, so let’s see what the results show over time.

Update: As of Saturday, September 6th, I am seeing the following votes:

# New 9-5 (52%)
# 9-1 / 9-X (35%)
# 9-4 X (10%)
# 9-3 XC (3%)

I would like to ask those who have voted for the new 9-5, why did you choose this? Was it because you believe Saab really needs a new 9-5, or that you may own a 9-5 and would like to see and/or own the new version?

What Model Should Saab Introduce Next?

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Saab and Swedish Government’s “Vision Zero” concept

Posted on 22. Jun, 2008 by .


Here is a great article about Saab & the Swedish Government’s “Vision Zero” ideas.

What are your thoughts about this type of orwellian Saab innovation?


You are in your Saab cruising along at 55 mph when you approach a 35-mph zone, you slow down but not quickly enough so that you pass the sign at 42 mph. Suddenly, the throttle pedal pushes back hard at you causing you to decelerate to the speed limit. Shortly after, you pass a 55 mph sign, so you push the throttle hard down to accelerate past a bus, only to receive another severe jolt in the right leg as you hit 55 mph. The trouble is, you are in the left lane, the bus by now is going the same speed, and you have someone on your tail–and you want to turn right at the next intersection. While there is a clear road in front of you and the bus, there is nothing you can do about it. Welcome to the new world of motoring, the world where external forces take away some of the important controls from the driver. It is happening now, in Sweden,on an experimental basis. So far…

Trollhattan, Sweden, is virtually a one-horse town. It has a population of 53,000, 7,000 of whom work for Saab. Last year, its road death toil was two.


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Saab Direct Ignition: Saab Innovation

Posted on 12. Jun, 2008 by .



In 1985, Saab Automobile created a new innovation called “Direct Ignition”, DI for short.

This system effectively eliminated the ignition cables and distributor. Each spark plug in the DI cassette unit had a separate coil which produced a spark voltage of 40,000 volts.

The result of this system involved improved combustion as well as a much improved cold start performance.

The first production vehicle to include direct ignition was the 1990 model year Saab 9000.

Click this link to visit all of Saab Automobile’s innovations.

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1995 – Saab Ecopower : Saab Innovation

Posted on 27. May, 2008 by .


In 1995, Saab Automobile’s engine development took a new direction with an innovation initially as a concept called “ecopower” which was a new technology for turbocharged engines that was presented at the Franktfurt Motor Show.

This technology stands for high performance combined with environmental and economical concerns. The turbocharging technology is a vital component to this development along with Saab’s Trionic engine management system.

The Saab ecopower system ensures that the engine is running as cleanly and economically as possible, at all times.


1995: Ecopower – Saab’s engine development does not simply focus on performance. Power should be instantly available but not at the expense of economy and environmental concern. Ecopower is the collective name for our efforts in this field. Turbo, ignition, engine management and catalytic converters are not treated as separate units, but are optimised to create a harmonious power source

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The Nine Cylinder Saab Steam Engine

Posted on 04. Apr, 2008 by .



Photo Credit: Saab-Scania AB

In 1974, Saab-Scania Sweden’s Saab Car Division began developing what is known as the “Saab Nine Cylinder Axial Steam Engine” also known as project ULF.

This 250-hp nine cylinder steam engine was quite small, but it packed a punch while requiring a boiler and a large condenser with a buffer tank. The best part about this engine was that it required minimal fossil fuels and included miniscule carbon emissions.

At the time, Saab believed that they had overcome the most difficult obstacles with this engine that included everything from freezing, lubrication, cooling and starting time.

The steam generator itself operated at a working pressure of 100 bar at a temp of 662 degrees fahrenheit. This generator consists of 120 parallel tubes, spirally wound and brazed together. The tube’s internal diameter is only one mm.

The main expander included nine cylinders arranged axially in a ring around the verticle shaft, with a swashplate drive to the fina-drive unit and differential integrated with the crankcase. It is a uni-flow type with a variable cut-off control. This unit was geared to run at 3000 rpm at 90 miles per hour. The exhaust temperature from this engine was lower than one would expect at 180 degrees to a maximum of 482 degrees fahrenheit.

There was a liquid fuel burner that warmed up the water boiler that poured into the main expander engine. so there was a slight use of fossil fuels.

This quiet engine was designed and operated to drive the front wheels directly just like a conventional engine of its time and many to this very day.

It is notable that at the time, the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States awarded Saab-Scania AB for this successful steam engine development at the same time they were sending funds directly into stateside research steam-baed projects that never went as far as this project did.

According to a number of the research articles in this source, Saab-Scania AB’s Saab Car Division not only planned to continue this project well into the 1980’s, but they also planned to apply this nearly completed project to all of their production cars in the future.

So here is the question, what happened to this innovative breakthrough from Saab? It would appear that a project like this that was apparently shelved, should be reinstated, updated and included in Saab’s research and development today for alternative energy sources such as their ongoing BioPower and Hybrid programs. It would seem logical that the idea of using water to create steam is not a new idea and that it would be probably a less expensive and simpler solution than all of the existing alternatives being developed today.

Source: The Printed Word For ’74 – Saab-Scania of America, Inc.

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Production Concept