Tag Archives: energy

The New Saab USA “Recycle” Television Advertisement

Posted on 09. Jul, 2008 by .

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On September 20th, 2007, I reported to you that Saab Automobile USA changed their advertising agency from Lowe Brindfors in New York City whom they used for nearly 7 years, to McCann-Erickson, also an IPG company.

Today, through some source, the first television ad by McCann-Erickson for the United States market that was filmed recently in the Freezeout lake region of Montana, is now here in not the 3rd or 4th quarter but in the 2nd, so I would encourage your comments about this advertising message:

Here is the storyboard message:

For the perfect balance of fuel efficiency and power, we take energy from exhaust and recycle it (repeat 3x), turning repitition into joy.

Here is the new tagline, with the understated Born From Jets campaign slogan continuing.

“Efficient, Powerful, Saab Turbo”

Do you like it or not like it, and why?

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Saab and Swedish Government’s “Vision Zero” concept

Posted on 22. Jun, 2008 by .

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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?

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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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The 2008 Saab 9-3 Turbo-X Test Drive in Boston

Posted on 03. Jun, 2008 by .

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Photo Credit: Saab History

On Tuesday, May 20th, 2008, Saab History attended an event hosted by Saab Automobile USA to test drive the 2008 Saab 9-3 Turbo-X Test Drive Event in Boston, Massachusetts. This event was the sequel to the Saab 9-3 Turbo-X North American Debut that took place last November in Boston, so my anticipation and expectations were flying high.

The Saab 9-3 Turbo-X is Saab Automobile’s halo vehicle for their new Cross-Wheel Drive (XWD) system and their highest performing vehicle to date which comes in any color you want as long as it is jet black. This color reference dates back to SAAB’s first production vehicle at the time, the SAAB 92 which came in watermelon green due to a military surplus of that color, of course both colors connects to their aircraft roots, hence the modern reference “in any color you want as long as it is…”

I arrived at Saab History’s site sponsor
building_300.jpg, Herb Chambers Saab of Boston right on Commonwealth avenue, where I noticed a fleet of 11 Saab 9-3 Turbo-X’s, 6 SportCombi’s and 5 Sport Sedans all lining the parking lot. As I continued towards the main entrance of the dealership for the breakfast, I began meeting other individuals from the media, some of them were familiar faces and some unfamiliar faces that I had the pleasure to meet for the first time. As I made my way inside, I also met with Steve Shannon, Jan-Willem Vester, Joanne Krell and Roger McCormack, Saab Automobile USA’s President, Communications team and Marketing Director, respectively.

Shortly after our informal meet & greet in the main showroom of Herb Chambers Saab, the entire media of about 25+/- sat down to a presentation by Saab USA beginning with a brief introduction of their history in the New England region starting in Boston. Following this historical overview, we were then educated on the details on Saab’s cross-wheel drive system, followed by a “rules of the road” safety overview before we all hopped into the Saab 9-3 Turbo-X’s awaiting us in the parking lot of the dealership.

driving.jpgAs we “depaarted” from Boston heading North to the test facility, I got my first opportunity to test drive the Saab 9-3 Turbo-X SportCombi at speed on I-495 in real life driving conditions. I must admit that the first thing I noticed was not just the performance, but stronger and more stable suspension system over some of stretches of taxachusetts highway that were, ironically, in dire need of repair.

Arriving at the test facility in North Andover, Massachusetts, the media were escorted to have a “light” lunch under a tent alongside the MBTA’s commuter rail track. During this lunch, there was an informative session by Saab Automobile Sweden’s project leader, Tommy Sundin who explained the ins and outs of Cross-Wheel Drive for us. I was happy that he offered to take questions following his presentation, unfortunately, many of us could only hear every other word due to infrequent disruptions from the commuter train adjacent to the facility.

The first phase of our experience at this closed course complete with cones, was a parade ride around the slalom, straight aways, curves and sand filled stretches in order to orient ourselves before we put the Turbo-X through its paces.

end.jpgFinally, I had the chance to sit behind the wheel of a Saab 9-3 Turbo-X SportCombi with a 6-speed manual transmission. As the instructor signalled, I was off and making the rounds with high intensity like a storm chaser, hitting all of the corners with accuracy and confidence as though the stronger suspension communicated confidence to the driver through the steering wheel directly. There were 2-3 iterations of this course that I did before I offered up the ride to other media, so that I could reflect, and take notes of my experience.

On Performance:

My first impressions consisted of key Saab values, performance as well as unparalleled handling. The speed of the Turbo-X was quite impressive, and with a balanced suspension system that provides no over nor understeer, it seemed like Saab finally got it right with the Turbo-X. I should indicate however, I would have been more impressed with the Turbo-X had it been a 4-cylinder instead of a V6, especially with Saab ironically focusing on “right sizing” their engines for higher output in a smaller physical size. Furthermore, with super performance and handling complete with a cross-wheel drive system, there also comes the approximately 15 miles per gallon and a CO2 output that is seriously concerning in today’s era of energy and environmental crisis.

On Safety:

The course driven, was a perfectly dry asphalt parking lot with some semi-sandy surfaces on a sunny afternoon in late may, not exactly the height of snow season in New England right? While I certainly got my adrenaline pumped with the performance and handling, I was extremely disappointed that I could not experience cross-wheel drive on an icy & snow filled unplowed road during a windy evening on a secondary road in rural New England. This is also my second experience test driving cross-wheel drive, where I test drove a prototype from Sweden back in August of 2007 back in Washington, D.C.

Having two opportunities to experience cross-wheel drive now under my belt, I understand the technology in “theory”, but I have have not had any real conditions where I could put that theory to real life “application”. I have recently e-mailed the idea to Saab Automobile USA so that I could experience an XWD equipped Saab 9-3 SportCombi with a 2.0T engine sometime this coming winter season in New England for an all-out real life test drive experience in the most “appropriate” inclimate conditions. I am hopeful that they too will see the real value in a real life test drive, in fact they are the ones that created these for customers years ago anyways.

turbox_end.jpgThe Conclusion:

The halo vehicle for XWD, the Saab 9-3 Turbo-X, undoubtedly embodies “performance” and “safety” for this 30th anniversary of bringing turbocharging to the masses from Saab Automobile ever since the Saab 99. As I have indicated, the performance as driven, is super, and exceeded my expectations since the debut last fall. In terms of safety, with regards to cross-wheel drive, I am missing the critical element of a right real-life testing environment to communicate such an experience. Once I can produce a real review specifically devoted to the technology, in inclimate weather in winter, not dry asphalt in the spring, we will see some tangible findings on cross-wheel drive. The Turbo-X needs to be test driven in the “Turbo-X Zone” as Saab-Salomon refers to it.

A thank you to Saab Automobile USA, Bader TV as well as site sponsor Herb Chambers Saab of Boston, for making the 2008 Saab 9-3 Turbo-X Test drive possible.

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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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Saab History Attends AIA Conference in Boston

Posted on 18. May, 2008 by .

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As an entrepreneur who has had a longtime interest in both the world of architecture as well as the automobile, has attended for the first time, the AIA Convention. The AIA is the American Institute of Architects, the governing body for architects and designers in the United States, of which I have been a member since 1999. This year, this convention conveniently has taken place in Boston, Massachusetts, ironically the same state that Saab Owners Convention will be taking place later this year in August.

During my time at this convention over the past few days, I visited a number of product vendors in addition to attend a number of seminars. The subject matter of a lot of these seminars have a lot of analagous principles in terms of energy use, sustainability and making the leap to zero carbon emissions in both the architectural as well as the automotive industries.

Here are the seminars I attended, can you see the similiar subject matter discussions that transcend both industries?

Thursday – May 15th, 2008

7:00AM – 8:00AM Daylighting Obstacles and Opportunities
8:15AM – 10:00AM Sustainable Design
3:00PM – 4:00PM Autodesk Autocad / Revit Training
4:00PM – 5:30PM TH66 Have You Been to An Architecture School Lately?

Friday – May 16th, 2008

8:15AM – 9:45AM Geothermal Systems: An Alternative Energy
10:00AM – 11:30AM Urban Security in the 21st Century
2:00PM – 3:30PM Z Squared: The New Green Office (Zero Energy Use : Zero Carbon Emissions)
4:00PM – 5:30PM The Leap to Zero Carbon
6:00PM – 7:00PM Going Green; What Should You Do?

Saturday – May 17th, 2008

8:15AM – 9:45AM Solar And Wind Power

Out of all of the experiences I had at this convention, the most memorable one involved the “Urban Security in the 21st century” which relates to the building security seminar I hosted at the House of Sweden back in 2006 as well as the final seminar, “Solar and Wind Power” which reminded me of Saab Automobile’s attempted use of both the solar powered battery system as well as the solar powered cabin fan systems in their 9-X BioHybrid and EV-1 concept cars respectively.

In addition, I find it very important to continue to illustrate the pie chart that many of us have been getting more and more familiar with, that is the output by industry in the United States of our carbon output.

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48% Buildings / 27% Transportation / 25% Industry

I am excited about having a foot in both industries, much like an architect in the U.K. does, I can contribute by doing my part to reducing these percentages over time. Let’s remember, the AIA wants to reduce the buildings equation to zero carbon emissions by 2030 and Sweden as a country wants to reduce their carbon output in all industries by 2020. While some may think these are lofty goals, they are imperative for our global sustainability.

So what are the United States goals as well as Saab Automobile’s and General Motors?

In the United States, we must look beyond the current administration in order to see results. Today, some future candidates offer an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050 as their plan. In terms of General Motors, they plan to reduce carbon output in all of their automobiles by only 30 percent in the next 15 years according to bloomberg news which would be 2023, three years after Sweden eliminates it. In addition GM promises a reduction by 40% carbon emissions in all of their buildings by just 2010 according to Treehugger.com

So what can we do as an individual to reduce our carbon footprint right now? I urge you to check out the Carbon Footprint website for more information, your local and state government representative and if you are a Saab owner or enthusiast, your local Saab representative at your dealership for more information as to when their hybrid vehicles will be in production.

I found that attending this convention for the first time, yielded me a highly educational and impressive experience overall about not only the state of the environmental approaches to the build environment, but the transportation industry as well.

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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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College Students March For Environment in Detroit

Posted on 12. May, 2008 by .

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I recently picked up another copy of Solar Today, a publication produced by the American Solar Energy society that has been peaking my alternative energy interests as of late. I was immediately drawn to an interesting article that referenced an event I was part of, the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. I attended this event that took place in January this year, to provide coverage of Saab Automobile as a guest. While I was attending the event, apparently there was an organized march that took place outside of the event at both the COBO center as well as the GM Renaissance center.

I am bringing this article to light because I think it is important to share with us news that some strong undercurrents moving these days are forcing industries to change their old ways of thinking when it comes to how they think, create and otherwise affect the air, water and land in which we all live with.

Here is a snippet from the article that discusses the march a number of students initiated towards the auto industry alongside GM’s global headquarters in the renaissance center in Detroit:

students.jpgWhen the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency refused in late 2007 to grant California the waiver it needs to require automakers to slash emissions, young people and college students responded. Fifty Michigan students rallied at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January, demanding a clean energy economy with sustainable transportation as the centerpiece. The students marched throguh downtown Detroit dressed in green hard hats and blue coveralls – a dynamic symbol of the reinvigorating potential of green jobs and energy-efficient auto manufacturing for Michigan’s economy.

Source & Photo Credits: Solar Today May/June 2008

So here’s a question for you, what kind of responsibilities do you believe that the automotive industry has in society, with the understanding that many infrastructures today (especially in the U.S.), are dependent upon private transportation?

Secondly, what do you think that GM & Saab Automobile need to do or do more of?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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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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Production Concept