Saab UK seem to be sponsoring an Eco-Driving section of the Times Online. For those of you that are interested in the Biopower setup, it’s quite likely you’ll be interested in having a read.
There’s an ecodriving weblog tied in with it too, though I’m not sure there’s many people reading it. It’s only been up and running for a few weeks, but so far, counting the total number of comments won’t even involve the use of fingers, let alone toes.
In the Eco-driving section of the site there’s a few interesting articles, including the one below. I’ve taken the liberty of reproducing it and hope the Times don’t mind.
ERIC SOLBERG bought his new Saab 9-5 BioPower three months ago and the 26-year-old Swedish farmer says he has never owned a better car: “There are lots of pros with the car and few cons.”
The BioPower model is Solberg’s first Saab. “I used to drive an Alfa Romeo and a Rover. The powerful Rover was especially useful since I used it a lot on the farm.” But after taking a test drive in a friend’s Saab, he decided to switch to the BioPower.
“I believe this is the future. To drive environmentally friendly is very popular in Sweden and, besides, the fuel is much cheaper.” Petroleum costs an average 97p a litre in Sweden, while ethanol fuel is priced at 53p.
“BioPower is a powerful car. The salesman told us it produced 180 horsepower — 30 more than the petroleum model — and that is a big advantage when overtaking another car. It is a power machine with a lot of speed when needed. Besides that there is a lot of space and the car seats are very comfortable,” Solberg says.
He and his wife, Sofi, run a 150-head cattle farm in southern Sweden. “When not working I enjoy hunting moose, hare and wild boar,” he says.
His wife’s main hobby is horses. “The Saab has no problems with drawing horseboxes so my wife uses it a lot. She drives it every day to work as well.”
The couple intend to use the car for holidays and longer trips. “The fact that all countries may not have ethanol fuel yet is no problem. It can be driven on petrol as well.”
Sweden has what is reputedly one of the highest taxing governments in the world. Any Swedes reading this might want to share their experience. These funds are used for various social policies, one of which is obviously the subsidising of ethanol fuels. I can’t think of any other way that there could be such a disparity in price between E85 and gasoline (aside from huge taxes being placed on gasoline, of course).
Yes, the Brazilian ethanol produced from sugarcane is much cheaper than the US corn-based fuel, but such a huge difference as the one we see here in Sweden is more than likely the result of some government intervention.
This price difference goes a long way in explaining why the 9-5 Biopower has been so popular there. Unfortunately it also explains why it may not work elsewhere, not without similar support from government or a major breakthrough in cellulosic ethanol technology.