A few days ago, it was alleged by Robert Collin in Aftonbladet (Swedish newspaper) that GM had told Saab to cover up the fact that the 9-3 Convertible Hybrid Concept was, in fact, a plug-in hybrid. It was said that GM told Saab to glue shut the plug cover, located behind the badge at the rear of the car. It was also said that GM got Saab to re-write the press material so that the plug-in capability wasn’t mentioned.
It seems Autoweb in Australia received the old press material and ran with it:
To optimise the availability of ‘Zero Mode’, a plug-in-feature is available which allows the battery bank to be connected to a mains electricity supply for additional charging in the garage. This would, for example, allow a driver commuting in heavy traffic to immediately resume in ‘Zero Mode’ the next morning after arriving home the previous evening having used up all its range. A neat socket is located behind the Saab badge on the 9-3 BioPower Hybrid Concept’s trunk lid.
That paragraph is missing from the press release that I received and reproduced here.
So it seems that Saab, after taking a lead role in the development of this technology, was pushed into hushing this up. The question now is what car will the plug-in feature on? And what is GM’s real attitude towards Saab being seen as an innovative, environmentally responsible and yet sporting brand within the GM portfolio?
The full, original story about this issue is here.
My thanks to Kayfer for finding this link and essentially proving the original Aftonbladet claims.
For the record, here’s a screendump of the original story on Autoweb. The offending paragraph is circled. Click to enlarge.