Archive for 'Innovations'

1972 – The First Use of Electronically Heated Seats

Posted on 03. Apr, 2007 by .


It was once again, the SAAB 99 that continued the application of new technologies and in this instance it was the electronically heated seats that first debuted in the 1972 model year.

The electronically heated seats were designed as a precaution for driver’s backaches, ensuring better driving pleasure and ultimately more safety.

Here is a video showing the heat signature through the front seats of the 99. Enjoy.

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1970 – The First Use of Headlight Wipers

Posted on 03. Apr, 2007 by .


It is the SAAB 99 model that saw the introduction of headlight wipers in 1970. The electronical Headlight wiper and combination washer system were designed and integrated into the model and promoted as a safety feature. This feature continued in the wiper / washer form until 2001 on the 9-5 and 2003 with the 9-3 Convertible.

Today, the high pressure headlight washer is now the standard that is used in all of Saab Automobile’s models.

Here is a 1971 Finnish television advertisement complete with a transition thanks to Ilmarinen. This television advertisment the shows the headlight wiper & washer system on the 99 model in real-world application.

Translation of 1971 television advertisement from Finland:

When headlights are covered with mud, asphalt and salt, most of the luminosity
is lost. Dangerous at day and night.


If You own the eye washing Saab. It can see and it will be seen at all the time.
And eye washing Saab is safe investment in other respects too. It’s plates are
almost twice as thick than normally and all models are now eye washing.

Welcome to test drive the new Saab.

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Saab BioPower 100 Concept: Bioethanol Performance

Posted on 07. Mar, 2007 by .



Photo Credits: Saab Automobile

The Geneva Motor Show has unleashed a lot of positive press for Saab Automobile and their move into the Ethanol Industry.

Here is another press release on the Saab BioPower 100 Concept.

World Premiere

Saab BioPower 100 Concept: Bioethanol Performance Potential Unleashed

* First production-based turbo engine optimized for pure bioethanol (E100)
* 300 hp with greatly reduced CO2 impact
* Demonstrates further potential of bioethanol fuel
* Scope for future ‘rightsizing’ with turbocharging to give ‘large’ engine power
* Saab extends leadership of bioethanol engine technology

The Saab BioPower 100 Concept, presented at the Geneva Motor Show, showcases the first production-based turbo engine to be optimized for pure, eco-friendly bioethanol (E100) fuel. The result is a level of performance never seen before from a road car using this fuel.
This exciting concept takes Saab BioPower technology to a new level by showing the true potential of combining turbocharging and sophisticated engine management with pure bioethanol fuel. And in demonstrating that greener motoring means even sportier driving, it also extends Saab’s technical leadership of Europe’s emerging ‘flex-fuel’ segment.

At the heart of the Saab BioPower 100 Concept is a modified version of a 2.0-liter turbo production gasoline engine from the current Saab 9-5 range, which in standard specification gives peak power of 150 hp. A test and development program – involving modifications to the engine management system and internal components – now enables it to exploit the high octane benefits of E100 fuel by using a higher compression ratio, together with more boost pressure. The outcome of this work is peak power of 300 hp and a remarkably high specific power output of 150 hp per liter.

“This exciting concept shows the tremendous potential of bioethanol, in terms of both performance and future opportunities to ‘rightsize’ engines,” says Jan Åke Jonsson, Saab Automobile’s Managing Director. “Bioethanol is already entering the European market as E85 fuel and we look forward to seeing further supply infrastructure developments that will make it more widely available in the future.”

The Saab BioPower 100 Concept is presented as an evolution of the Saab 9-5 SportCombi. It is visually distinguished by styling features such as ‘ice block’ front and rear light units – extending a theme seen on the 9-3 SportCombi – and 19-inch ‘turbine’ alloy wheels inspired by those of the award-winning Saab Aero X concept, first shown at Geneva last year. The interior is upholstered in unique white leather, complemented by the main fascia and door trims, which are finished in black leather overlaid with a carbon fiber-effect pattern. The car is also equipped with Saab’s innovative AlcoKey, an easy to use, pocket-sized alco-lock device that helps drivers steer clear of drinking and driving.

Total BioPower

* Saab 9-5 BioPower, Europe’s top-selling bioethanol (E85)-powered car
* 300 hp and 400 Nm of torque from Concept’s production-based engine
* E100 enables high compression ratio with high boost pressure

Saab is already established as the leading player in Europe’s emerging market for ‘flex-fuel’ vehicles able to run on gasoline and/or bioethanol (E85). Its current Saab 9-5 BioPower model is the best-selling flex-fuel car in Europe and Sweden and, at Geneva this year, Saab also announces BioPower’s introduction throughout its 9-3 product range.

So far, Saab BioPower development has been focused on using E85 fuel, (85% bioethanol/15% gasoline). Now, with the announcement of the fully functioning BioPower 100 Concept, Saab confirms its leadership position by showing how bioethanol technology could be further extended. In combining pure bioethanol with Saab’s expertise in turbocharging, the BioPower 100 Concept offers drivers an exciting win/win proposition: greener motoring with dramatically enhanced power and performance.

Running on E100, the concept car´s engine delivers peak power of 300 hp at 5,800 rpm and an exceptionally strong 400 Nm of torque between 3,000 and 5,100 rpm, withalmost 85% available at just 2,000 rpm. This strong and flexible power delivery gives the Saab BioPower 100 Concept car zero to 100 kph acceleration in just 6.6 secs and 80 – 120 kph (fifth gear) in an even more impressive 8.2 secs. The standard 150 hp gasoline engine produces 240 Nm of torque from 1,800-3,500 rpm, giving zero to 100 kph in10.2 secs and 80-120 kph (fifth gear) in 16.3 secs.

The secret behind such enhanced performance is the ability of E100 fuel to resist harmful self-ignition, or ‘knocking’, as the fuel/air mixture is compressed in the cylinder. This attribute is denoted by E100’s high 106 RON octane rating. It permits the use of an engine compression ratio that is higher than normally possible with turbocharging, giving more power and greater combustion efficiency without risk of knocking.

The BioPower 100 Concept’s engine operates with a compression ratio of 11.0:1, compared to 8.8:1 for the standard gasoline engine. This has been achieved by modifying the shape of the piston crowns to reduce the volume of the combustion chamber, thereby raising the engine’s compression ratio.

New software for Saab’s powerful Trionic engine management system, which controls the throttle setting, ignition timing, fuel injection and turbo boost pressure, looks after the different ignition timing and fuel/air mixture requirements of E100 fuel.

More durable valves and valve seats are fitted to the engine, together with bioethanol-compatible materials throughout the fuel system. The only other modification necessary is pre-heating of the fuel. This is required to achieve good cold-starting performance, which is the main reason why bioethanol is currently blended with gasoline and sold as E85 fuel.

In ambient temperatures below 15°C, the chemistry of E100 makes it resistant to vaporization and, as a result, it can be difficult to start the engine. To overcome this issue, the Saab BioPower 100 Concept has an experimental fuel heating system, using small heating elements in the inlet ports downstream of the injectors. When the engine is cold, these elements warm the incoming fuel sufficiently to allow it to vaporize. Shortly after start-up, the function is automatically deactivated.

On The Road

* Driver enjoys ‘on demand’ performance typical of 4-liter engine
* ‘Less is more’ turbo philosophy with E100 offers engine ‘rightsizing’ potential
* Future hybrid application for further energy savings
* Gasoline flex-fuel capability retained

In optimizing the potential of bioethanol fuel, the Saab BioPower 100 Concept turbo engine offers improved driveability, as well as greater full power performance. The high compression ratio allows the engine to generate more torque more quickly, particularly from low engine speeds. On the road, the driver of the BioPower 100 Concept will immediately notice a sharper engine response, with a better low speed pick-up before the turbo is engaged.

On full throttle openings, the turbocharger packs up to 1.2 bar boost, without risk of ‘knocking’ from the high octane fuel. It gives the BioPower 100 Concept driver access to the sort of in-gear performance typical of a modern, naturally-aspirated engine of four liters or more. The smooth power delivery – without fossil fuel emissions – takes Saab’s traditional ‘less is more’ turbo philosophy to a new level.

That impressive 150 hp/liter specific power output also indicates considerable future potential for engine ‘rightsizing’, giving the driver the performance characteristics of a ‘large’ engine without incurring its additional weight, greater complexity or higher fuel consumption. In this way, E100 offers significant potential to reduce the displacement of an engine – thereby reducing fuel consumption – while still achieving a desired power level.

The overall fuel consumption of the current Saab 9-5 BioPower engine using E85 is about 30% higher than on gasoline and the optimized BioPower 100 engine is expected to yield a near 10% gain against this. Bioethanol burns at a lower temperature than gasoline, which reduces thermal stresses on the engine and benefits fuel consumption at higher cruising speeds. With the future addition of direct injection and lean-burn technology, E100 fuel consumption can move even closer to gasoline levels.

For optimum energy saving, future E100 applications could also be combined with electric hybrid technology, reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions still further. This development has already been previewed in the Saab BioPower Hybrid Concept, the world’s first such vehicle to use pure bioethanol.

Whilst the BioPower 100 Concept is focused on performance, it still retains a ‘flex-fuel’ capability and the engine will also run on gasoline, or E85, although power levels are not so high. Trionic monitors fuel quality after every visit to the filling station and automatically makes any adjustments necessary for running on E100/E85 and/or gasoline in any combination.

To handle the increased performance, the BioPower 100 show car is fitted with a limited-slip differential and larger front brake discs (345 mm) and calipers, while using the sports chassis settings of Saab 9-5 Aero SportCombi. It also has a dual pipe rear exhaust system, with tailpipes similar to those of the Aero X Concept.

Superb Fuel

* High quality, clean burn fuel
* Single chemical compound allows more precise engine management control
* Modern fuel meets current environmental challenges
* Experience gained from Saab Variable Compression (SVC) engine

Bioethanol is a clean burning fuel that can be produced in many parts of the world from a wide range of agricultural crops and biomass. More efficient second-generation processes, using ligno-cellulose extracted from forestry and agricultural products, are also under development.

Bioethanol’s simple, fixed chemical composition opens up new possibilities in engine management and control. It consists of just one hydrocarbon molecule, whereas retail gasoline is a cocktail of several hundred different hydrocarbons, as well as additives to prevent engine deposits which may not be necessary with bioethanol. It is also biodegradable and will dissolve in water.

As it is a single chemical compound, bioethanol allows engineers to exercise much greater precision in maximizing engine performance. For example, it is possible to maintain an ideal fuel/air mixture (Lambda 1) at all throttle openings without impairing the smooth running of the engine.

Saab’s experimental variable compression (SVC) engine, revealed at Geneva in 2000, has played an important role as a test bed for BioPower development work. It has been used to help determine the optimum relationship between compression ratio and boost pressure for the BioPower 100 application.

“Bioethanol is a potent, high quality fuel which opens up exciting possibilities in helping to meet the environmental challenges that face us,” says Kjell ac Bergström, President and CEO, GM Powertrain – Sweden, who has led the Saab BioPower 100 engine development team.

He adds: “As the need to reduce energy consumption increases, we are exploring ways to run smaller engines that give relatively high power, with and without hybrid technology. Bioethanol can play a key role in this ‘rightsizing’ process, while also minimizing fossil fuel emissions.”

Helping to Prevent Drink-Driving
The Saab BioPower 100 Concept incorporates Saab’s innovative AlcoKey, a vehicle ‘alcolock’ system designed to prevent the car being used if a driver is under the influence of alcohol.

The pocket-sized AlcoKey unit incorporates a cap covering a mouthpiece where the driver provides a breath sample before starting the car. Its radio transmitter then sends a signal to the engine’s electronic control unit. This will allow the car to be started or, if the breath sample is found to contain alcohol above the permitted legal level, keep it immobilized.

AlcoKey recently won the Swedish Automobile Association’s annual award for innovation and it is currently on user field trials in Sweden, where car fleet operators and public service providers want an effective means of reassuring the public that drivers cannot get behind the wheel if their blood/alcohol level is over the limit.

The field trials are focused on verifying AlcoKey’s convenience and ease of use. Its transmitter has a range of up to 10 meters and if a breath sample is provided before entering the car, its quick three to four second clearance process should not delay the driver. In everyday use, AlcoKey can provide a useful check if a driver has had a drink some time before intending to drive or has been drinking the night before. It could be offered as an option for Saab 9-5 and 9-3 models sold on the Swedish market, priced at around SEK 3,000.


Note to Editors:
Bioethanol fuel is produced commercially from agricultural crops, such as corn and sugar cane, and other forms of biomass. Also under development are second-generation processes which offer greater energy efficiency by using ligno-cellulose extracted from forestry and agricultural products, such as wood, straw and grass. Unlike gasoline, bioethanol consumption does not raise atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main ‘greenhouse’ gas. This is because emissions during driving are balanced by the amount of CO2 that is removed from the atmosphere when crops for conversion are grown. In contrast, fossil-based fuels, such as gasoline and diesel, release new amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere which have been locked away underground in oil deposits.

Saab BioPower 100 Concept:

Technical Specifications
1,985 cc. Four cyl. in-line. Bore/stroke: 90/78 mm. Cast iron block, alloy cylinder head.
DOHC chain-driven, 16-valves. Twin balancer shafts. Turbocharged, intercooled.
Saab Trionic 7 engine management. Direct ignition, multi-point fuel injection, electronic throttle control

(All data for manual transmission)

  Saab 9-5 2.0t BioPower 100 Concept
Fuel Gasoline E100
EEC rating 150 hp (110 kW)
@ 5500 rpm.
300 hp (221 kW)
@ 5800 rpm.
EEC peak torque 240 Nm
@ 1800-3500 rpm.
400 Nm
@ 3000-5100 rpm.
Max boost
0.4 bar 1.2 bar
Compression ratio 8.8:1 11.0:1
0-100 kph (sec) 10.2 6.6
80-120 kph (sec)
5th gear
16.3 8.2
Top Speed (kph) 210 250 (limited)

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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.

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Drive a Saab and miss whiplash

Posted on 21. Dec, 2006 by .


Here is a recent press release from Saab Automobile of U.K. about Saab’s SAHR safety system.


For Immediate Release: December 18th, 2006

Drive a Saab and miss whiplash

· Saab highlighted for second year running as Best Practice Example in respected Thatcham Whiplash Tests

· Entire model range receives highest-possible marks for protection against neck injury, compared with just 20 per cent of the German premium cars surveyed

· Pioneering anti-whiplash ‘Saab Active Head Restraints’ (SAHR) continue to be class-leading

For the second year running, Swedish premium car-maker Saab has been commended by the independently-operated Thatcham Motor Insurance Repair Centre for the effectiveness of its Active Head Restraints in reducing neck injury. Thatcham has just released the results of its second annual whiplash testing results for the 2006 Model Year, in which it concludes that the Swedish car manufacturers, including Saab, ‘still regard whiplash injury as a priority’, with 100 per cent of models ranking in the highest-possibly category. This compares starkly with the results of other premium brands. For example, of the 20 German premium cars surveyed, just a fifth of those were ranked ‘good’, whilst a worrying 25 per cent were ranked as ‘poor’.

Even after a relatively minor impact, neck injury following rear-end collisions is a common driver complaint, which can have debilitating long-term effects. In fact, according to Thatcham, whiplash remains still the most common injury in motor vehicle crashes, with over 250,000 cases reported by British Insurers annually.

The Saab 9-5 pioneered the use of Saab Active Head Restraints (SAHR) back in 1996. Since then, the patented technology has been fitted as standard to both front seats of all Saab models sold in the UK. Independent crash investigation ratings from around the world have shown SAHR to reduce serious neck injury to front seat occupants in the event of a rear end collision, by as much as 75 per cent compared to cars not fitted with the technology.

The head restraint is activated in a rear end impact as soon as the occupant’s lower back is pressed into the seatback. The head restraint is connected by a linkage to a pressure plate in the backrest of the seat. Inertia forces the occupant’s body into the backrest against the pressure plate which triggers a mechanism to push the head restraint upwards and forward, catching the head and helping to minimise neck movement. This helps prevent neck injury by reducing the amount of head movement relative to the torso. The SAHR system is entirely mechanical and after activation the head restraint automatically springs back to its passive position, ready for future use.

Further Information about the Thatcham tests and a full list of results is available at:

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Saab AlcoKey Helps Drivers Steer Clear of Drinking and Driving

Posted on 11. Oct, 2006 by .


I got a very interesting press release this morning about Saab’s ongoing development of their Alcohol Key, and it looks much more advanced than the last time we got to see it. I have posted a copy of this press release and a photo of the current key design as well as a copy of the press release in 2004 with a photo of the key in an earlier production.

It is interesting to see how much development has taken place. I see this as another opportunity for Saab to come out strong again being a leader in progressive technology.

Stockholm, October 10 2006

Sweden has one of the best road safety records in Europe, but drinking and driving remains a serious hazard, accounting for about 35 per cent of all crash fatalities in Sweden last year (2005). Now Saab is ready for field trials in 100 cars of its innovative Saab AlcoKey, a simple, reusable device that fits conveniently in the pocket or handbag.

As compact as a small mobile phone, the Saab AlcoKey module incorporates a cap covering a mouthpiece where the driver provides a breath sample before starting the car. A radio transmitter then sends a signal to the car’s electronic control unit, which will either allow the car to be started or remain immobilized if the breath sample is found to contain alcohol above the permitted legal level.

Saab AlcoKey meets an increasing demand in Sweden among car fleet operators and public service providers for an effective means of ensuring drivers cannot drive if their blood/alcohol level is over the limit. It could be offered as an option for Saab 9-5 and 9-3 models sold on the Swedish market.

Senior Saab executives and local car fleet and taxi operators will participate in user trials over the next six months involving about 100 cars. It is the final step in a two-year development program that has focused on miniaturizing the unit to its current small size and maximizing battery longevity, now rated at 12 months when used five times a day.

Quick and easy to use, Saab AlcoKey utilizes existing anti-theft technology, independent of the car’s ignition key. Before being able to start the car, the driver must first switch on Saab AlcoKey and blow into the mouthpiece for about three seconds, until the unit emits a beep. The breath sample passes over a tiny sensor inside the unit and green or red light is immediately illuminated on Saab AlcoKey. The green light indicates a satisfactory sample and the engine’s electronic immobilizer is released via Saab AlcoKey’s radio signal, allowing the driver to start the car and proceed. If a red light shows, the engine cannot be started as the engine immobilizer remains armed. To avoid the need for a second breath sample, the car must be started within a minute of the “green” signal from Saab AlcoKey.

Saab AlcoKey also measures the temperature of a breath sample, allowing it to distinguish between a normal, human sample and, for example, air introduced from a balloon or a foot pump in an attempt to defeat the alcohol check.

An amber warning light flashes whenever the battery pack has less than 20 per cent capacity remaining. The pack should e replaced through a Saab dealership, although a cable connection to the car’s cigar lighter is also included for emergency power if the battery pack is not replaced in time.

Saab AlcoKey is currently intended only for the Swedish market. During the life of a car, subsequent owners could have the Saab AlcoKey functionality removed from the engine management system at a Saab dealership.

The user field trials will focus on verifying Saab AlcoKey’s convenience and ease of use. If a breath sample is provided before entering the car – the Saab AlcoKey transmitter has a range of up to 10 meters – its quick three to four second clearance process should not delay the driver. The software program in the trial cars is currently adjusted so that the engine can be restarted within 10 minutes, without the need for a Saab AlcoKey signal. In everyday use, Saab AlcoKey could provide a useful check if a driver has had a drink some time before intending to drive or has been drinking the night before.
Designed as a reliable and more convenient alternative to wired, in-vehicle systems available on the aftermarket, Saab AlcoKey could be offered at a retail price of around 3000 SEK.

Announcing the user trial program, in which he will take part, Saab Automobile Managing Director Jan Ã…ke Jonsson said: “Car crashes and personal injuries due to drinking and driving remain a great concern and Saab wants to do what it can to help prevent such behavior.”

“We have listened to car fleet operators in Sweden, particularly those running public or taxi services,” Jonsson said. “They want to demonstrate their social responsibility and provide some public reassurance by giving drivers access to a device such as Saab AlcoKey.”

The Saab AlcoKey project has been supported by the Swedish National Road Administration as a means of improving driving safety. “We all have a responsibility to discourage drinking and driving,” said NRA Traffic Safety Director Claes Tingvall. “As Saab is the first car manufacturer to be involved in this work with us, we are together making a big step forward when it comes to increasing the acceptance of and demand for systems like these.”

Saab’s previous press release was made on September 23rd, 2004 that I am providing below.

Stockholm, September 23rd, 2004

Saab unveils Alcohol Lock-Out Concept to discourage drinking and driving

Last year the deaths of 29percent of all drivers killed in car accidents on Swedish roads and 25 percentof those killed in car accidents in Europe[1]can be attributed to drunk driving. To help alleviate this problem, Saab is nowdeveloping a unique, miniature alcohol-sensing device which will assist driversin observing drunk-driving laws.

TheSaab ‘Alcokey’ concept includes a small mouthpiece in the car’s key fob. Atransponder communicates with the car’s electronic control unit, keeping theengine immobilised if a breath sample from the driver is found to containalcohol above the permitted level.

Sucha device could be made available as an accessory through Saab dealers and iscurrently under evaluation and development in response to increasing concernabout drunk-driving, particularly among companies and public services in Swedenresponsible for operating large fleets of cars.

Testswith a prototype for the Saab 9-5 model are expected to verify its reliabilityand accuracy. The concept is intended as a convenient and inexpensive means ofmeasuring a driver’s alcohol level without the need to install more costly,fixed apparatus inside the car. In commercial production the ‘Alcokey’ conceptwould cost about 250 Euros, or a tenth of the cost of a fixed system installedinside the car.

The ‘Alcokey’ concept is an elegant adaptation ofexisting anti-theft technology. When the driver presses the ‘doors open’ buttonon the car’s remote control fob, the alcohol sensor is also switched on. Thedriver then blows into a small mouthpiece at the end of the fob to provide abreath sample which passes down a small internal tube containing asemi-conductor sensor the size of a pin-head. The sample is then analysed and asmall green or red light on the fob is illuminated.

If the green light is shown, the key will transmit an‘all clear’ signal to the car’s electronic control unit. This is in addition tothe usual signal the key always transmits to switch off the engine immobiliser.However, if a red light is shown, the ‘all clear’ signal will not be sent andthe engine will, therefore, continue to be immobilised. The softwareinstructing the engine immobiliser can be adjusted according to the alcohollimits in operation where the car is registered.

Thecurrent prototype ‘Alcokey’ is a separate unit, about 10 cm long and 4 cm wide,additional to a conventional Saab 9-5 combined key and remote control. Inproduction, further miniaturization would allow both to be contained in asingle, pocket-sized unit.
Mountingconcern about drunk-driving in Sweden and many other countries has promptedSaab to develop the ‘Alcokey’ concept. Companies operating large car fleets,with employees driving a great deal on business, are anxious to demonstratetheir social responsibility by having an alcohol-monitoring device fitted asstandard. And in some countries, it may even become mandatory to fit them.

SaabAutomobile’s President and CEO, Peter Augustsson, has taken a personal interestin the ‘Alcokey’ project. “Alcohol consumption is increasing in many countriesand this often leads to a greater incidence of drunk-driving,” he said. “As acar manufacturer, Saab is keen to do what it can to help prevent suchbehaviour. We are an innovative brand and in that tradition the Alcokey conceptis a very practical and efficient solution. It will help those who want to besure they should only get behind the wheel when they are fit to drive.”

TheSwedish National Road Administration is supporting Saab’s work and itsdirector, Ingemar Skogö, says he is pleased to see Saab pioneering such apractical aid to safe driving. “We all have a duty to discourage drunk-drivingand this is a valuable initiative that other car companies should considerfollowing,” he said.

[1] Statistics issued by the SwedishNational Road Administration and EU European Commission.

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Saab Variable Compression engine technology

Posted on 12. Sep, 2006 by .


1985Gripen, a frequent blogger also on found a video on the Saab SVC engine concept that was shelved over the past year.

This video is in French, but the visual appears to be quite interesting. Thanks 1985Gripen!

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Saab Reveals Saab Combustion Control System Which Reduces Fuel Consumption and Exhaust Emissions

Posted on 01. Sep, 2002 by .



Photo Credits: Saab Automobile



The Saab Combustion Control (SCC) system is a new engine control system developed to lower fuel consumption while radically reducing exhaust emissions, without impairing engine performance. By mixing a large volume of exhaust gases into the combustion process, Saab’s fuel consumption can be reduced by up to 10 percent, and exhaust emissions lowered enough to comply with the California Ultra Low Emission Vehicle 2 (ULEV2) requirements, set to take effect in 2005. Compared to today’s Saab engines with equivalent performance, this will reduce the carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions by almost half, and will cut the nitrogen oxide emissions by 75 percent.

Three main components of the SCC concept

The SCC system is based on a combination of direct injection of gasoline, variable valve timing and variable spark gap. Unlike the direct injection systems available on the market today, the SCC system puts to use the benefits of direct injection, but without disturbing the ideal air-to-fuel ratio (14.6:1 = lambda 1) necessary for a conventional three-way catalytic converter to perform satisfactorily.

The most important components of the SCC system are:

Air-assisted fuel injection with turbulence generator

The injector unit and spark plug are integrated into one unit known as the spark plug injector (SPI). The fuel is injected directly into the cylinder by means of compressed air. Immediately before the fuel is ignited in low torque conditions, a second brief blast of air creates turbulence in the cylinder, which facilitates combustion and shortens the combustion time.

Variable valve timing
The SCC system uses camshafts with variable cam timing, which enables the opening and closing of the inlet and exhaust valves to be steplessly varied. This
allows exhaust gases to be mixed into the combustion air in the cylinder, which puts to use the benefits of direct injection while maintaining the value of lambda 1 under almost all operating conditions. In low torque conditions, the exhaust gases compose up to 70 percent of the cylinder contents during combustion. The exact proportion depends on the prevailing operating conditions – with the proportion of exhaust gas to ambient air decreasing as the torque demand increases.

Variable spark plug gap with high spark energy
The spark plug gap is variable between 1 and 3.5 mm. A central electrode in the spark plug injector strikes a spark to either a fixed earth electrode 3.5 mm away (in low torque) or to an earth electrode on the piston (under high torque). The variable spark gap together with a high spark firing energy (80 mJ) is essential for igniting an air/fuel mixture that may have a high percentage of exhaust gases.

Catalyst still most important emission control element
The three-way catalytic converter is still the most important single exhaust emission control component. During normal operation, it will catalyze up to 99 percent of the harmful chemical compounds in the exhaust gases.
The inside of the catalytic converter consists of a perforated core, the walls of which are coated with a precious metal catalyst (platinum and rhodium). The precious metal coating traps carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the exhaust gases and enables these substances to react with one another so that the end product will be carbon dioxide (CO2), water (H2O) and nitrogen (N2).

Weaknesses of catalytic converter

Although it is highly effective in neutralizing the harmful substances in the exhaust gases, the catalytic converter suffers certain limitations. For the three-way catalyst to be fully effective, its temperature must be around 400oC (752°F). The catalyst has no emission control effect immediately after the engine has been started from cold (the concept of ‘starting from cold’ is not related to the weather conditions or the ambient temperature, but in this context denotes all starting circumstances in which the engine coolant temperature is below 80oC (185°F).
Moreover, the proportion of free oxygen in the exhaust gases must be kept constant. The amount of oxygen, in turn, is decided by the air/fuel ratio in the cylinder during combustion. The ideal ratio is 1 part fuel to 14.6 parts air (i.e. lambda = 1) by mass. As a
general rule, if the mixture is richer, i.e. if the proportion of fuel is higher, the emissions of carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrocarbons (HC) will increase. If the mixture is leaner, i.e. if the amount of fuel is lower, the nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions will increase.
Other than converting CO to CO2 for emission control, the catalytic converter does not significantly affect the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) produced, which is directly related to the amount of gasoline consumed. The lower the fuel economy, the greater the carbon dioxide emissions.
Much of the work of designing less polluting gas engines therefore has two objectives – to achieve the lowest possible fuel consumption, and to ensure that the catalyst is at optimum working conditions during most of the operating time. These are the guidelines that have been followed in the development of the SCC system.

Conventional direct injection for lower fuel consumption…

In an engine with a conventional injection system, the gasoline is injected into the intake manifold, where it is mixed with the combustion air and is drawn into the cylinder. But part of the gas is deposited on the sides of the intake manifold, and extra fuel must then be injected, particularly when the engine is started from cold, to ensure that the necessary amount of fuel will reach the cylinder.
Direct injection of gasoline was launched a few years ago by carmakers as a way of lowering the fuel consumption. Since gas is injected directly into the cylinder, the fuel consumption can be controlled more accurately, and the amount of fuel injected is limited to that necessary for each individual combustion process. In such cases, it is not necessary for the entire cylinder to be filled with an ignitable mixture of fuel and air, and is sufficient if only the fuel/air mixture nearest to the spark plug is ignitable. The remainder of the cylinder is filled with air.

…but higher nitrogen oxide emissions
This leaner fuel/air mixture results in lower fuel consumption under certain operating conditions, but makes it impossible to use a conventional three-way catalytic converter to neutralize the nitrogen oxide emissions. A special catalytic converter with a ‘nitrogen oxide trap’ must be used instead.
Compared to conventional three-way catalytic converters, these special converters suffer a number of major disadvantages. In the first place, they are more expensive to produce, since they have higher contents of precious metals. Moreover, they are more temperature-sensitive and require cooling when under heavy load, which is usually done

by injecting extra fuel into the engine. The nitrogen oxide trap must also be regenerated when full, i.e. the stored nitrogen oxide must be removed periodically, which is done by the engine being run briefly on a richer fuel/air mixture. Both cooling and regeneration have a significant effect on the fuel consumption.
In addition, special catalytic converters of this type are sensitive to sulphur, and the engine must therefore be run on fuel with extremely low sulphur content. The gasoline desulphurizing process causes higher carbon dioxide emissions from the refinery.

Direct injection and lambda 1 with SCC

In creating the SCC system, Saab engineers have developed a way of putting to use the benefits of direct injection, while still maintaining lambda 1. Compressed air is used to inject the fuel directly into the cylinder through the spark plug injector. However, unlike other direct injection systems, the cylinder is still supplied with only a sufficient amount of air to achieve lambda 1. The remainder of the cylinder is filled with exhaust gases from the previous combustion process.
The benefit of using exhaust gases instead of air for making up the cylinder fill is that the exhaust gases are inert. They add no oxygen to the combustion process, and they therefore do not affect the lambda 1 ratio.
Therefore, the SCC system does not require a special catalytic converter and performs well with a conventional three-way catalyst. Moreover, the exhaust gases are very hot, and they therefore occupy a large volume, while also providing a beneficial supply of heat to the combustion process.

Reduced pumping losses for lower fuel consumption
At the same time, the SCC system helps minimize pumping losses. These normally occur when the engine is running at low load and the throttle is not fully open. The piston in the cylinder then operates under a partial vacuum during the suction stroke in order to draw in the air. The principle is roughly the same as when you retract a tire pump plunger while covering the air opening with your thumb. The extra energy needed for pulling down the piston requires increased fuel consumption.
In an SCC engine, the cylinder is supplied with only the amount of fuel and air needed for the operating conditions at any particular time. The remainder of the cylinder is filled with inert exhaust gases. The pumping losses are reduced since there is little resistance on the piston intake stroke. With the exhaust valve held open and no throttle plate restriction, the engine can freely draw in the correct proportion of air and inert exhaust gas to achieve lambda 1.

Different sparks for different operating conditions

The fuel/air mixture in the cylinders of a car with an SCC system consists mainly of exhaust gases and air. The exhaust gases account for 60 – 70 percent of the combustion chamber volume, while 29 – 39 percent is air, and less than 1 percent is occupied by the gasoline. The exact relationships depend on the prevailing operating conditions. As a general rule, a higher proportion of exhaust gases is used when the engine is running at low load, and a lower proportion when it is running at high load.
An ignition system that provides good spark firing quality is needed to ignite a gas mixture consisting of such a high proportion of exhaust gases and to ensure that the mixture will burn quickly enough. A large amount of energy must be applied locally in the combustion chamber. In the SCC system, this is achieved by employing a variable spark gap and a high spark firing energy (80 mJ).
The spark gap is variable between 1 and 3.5 mm. At low load, the spark is fired from the central electrode in the spark plug injector to a fixed earth electrode at a distance of 3.5 mm. (A normal spark plug gap is less than 1 mm.) At high load, the spark is fired later, and the gas density in the combustion chamber is then too high for the spark to bridge a gap of 3.5 mm. A pin on the piston is then used as the earth electrode. The spark will be struck to the electrode on the piston (1 mm gap).

SCC developed by Saab
The Saab Combustion Control system has been developed at the Saab Engine Development Department, which is also the Center of Expertise for the development of turbocharged gasoline engines in the GM Group. The variable spark gap in the SCC system is a further development of the spark-to-piston concept that Saab unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1995. In the air-assisted direct injection system, Saab engineers are cooperating with the Australian company Orbital.
The SCC system is a ‘global’ engine system, since it meets the demands in the U.S., where greatest emphasis is placed on limiting the nitrogen oxide and hydrocarbon emissions, and also those in Europe, where greater emphasis is placed on the carbon dioxide emissions.

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Production Concept