Biopower Hybrid goes one better

The Saab Biopower Hybrid first shown at the Stockholm Motor Show earlier this year has been further enhanced for it’s latest display at the British Motor Show.

Now they’ve added the GM Two-Mode Hybrid transmission that’s been developed in conjunction with BMW and Daimler Chrysler. With the additional two electric motors in the 2Mhybrid transmission housing, I think that brings the total number of motors in the Biopower Hybrid to 3,675,921. Give or take a few.

The relevant exciting bits in the press release are as follows:

This unique concept, showcased in a Saab 9-3 Convertible, is the first vehicle to combine a fossil-free bioethanol fuel (E100) capability with electric-only propulsion by utilizing the advanced two-mode hybrid system which General Motors Corp. is co-developing with DaimlerChrysler and BMW Group….

….”This concept allows us to evaluate and explore the potential of hybrid technology in combination with BioPower,” says Jan Åke Jonsson, Saab Automobile’s Managing Director. “As part of this process, we are now developing our expertise further by introducing the two-mode hybrid technology. It shows how we can continue to express the sporty performance associated with Saab while using renewable resources and saving energy overall.”….

And for those that don’t know much about the Two Mode system (count me in) –

Two-Mode hybrid technology

The Saab BioPower Hybrid Concept showcases the state-of-the-art two-mode hybrid transmission. This sophisticated technology represents a major industry milestone, achieving an unprecedented level of integration by combining two electric motors and four fixed gears within a single transmission housing.

Commonly described as a two-mode hybrid due to the low- and high-speed electric continuously variable transmission (ECVT) modes, the fuel-saving technology also incorporates four fixed gear ratios for a total of six operating functions. The result is trend-setting hybrid technology that provides superior fuel economy, performance and load carrying potential.

The two-mode hybrid’s electric motors can be used for electric-only propulsion, boosting the internal combustion engine and providing regenerative braking.

Additional fuel-saving efforts include removing auxiliary functions, such as the water pump, air conditioning and power steering systems, from the engine’s belt drive and transferring them to electric power through the hybrid system.

The two-mode hybrid transmission is similar in size to a conventional automatic transmission. Its adaptable design allows it to be scaled to the size, mass and performance needs of various engines and vehicles.

Hopefully these continued developments might mean that something like this is actually in the pipeline for production rather than just the concept merry-go-round (as fun as that is). This paragraph from Channel 4 would seem to pour some cold water on that idea, however:

Sadly, the Biopower hybrid powertrain is a long way off production. Nash says that there are still many issues to solve, not least the sheer cost of manufacturing it, and problems of safely recycling its materials at the end of its useful life. “We’ll have to pass the cost onto consumers”, he said. “The hybrid is a tomorrow product and solution. The Biopower models are a today solution. “

And no, GM are still not mentioning the plug-in capability of the original concept. Interestingly though, Channel 4 did contain this subtle rebuttal for the plug-in conspirators:

The batteries, charged under regenerative braking and thus requiring no auxiliary plug-in charging,

Don’t believe it.

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