The Biopower Story (a little of…)

This is a story appearing in today’s Dagen’s Industri.

Once again, I’m having to go with my dodgy internet translator. If I’ve made any material omissions or misstatements then please, one of you Swedish types feel free to correct it in comments.

This is a little bit of backstory into the development of what’s become Saab’s claim to environmental progress in Europe and possibly the lifeline the 9-5 needed. Saab Biopower.

And if there’s any truth in their article, the US market will be getting it in 2007.


Saab Automobile’s recent market success, The Biopower model ethanol engines, were nearly intercepted by the management for General Motors’ Europe. When the proposal to develop an ethanol engine came in the autumn of 2002, it met strong obstruction from GM Europe’s CEO: Carl Peter Forster.

”Why will we develop and to produce an ethanol engine in Europe? There is nowhere that sells ethanol here apart from 50 petrol stations in small Sweden.“

Each reaction from GM-leadership was skeptical when we raised the proposal, says Kink Simonsson, Market Director on Saab automobile, when DI new cars interview him along with Kjell AC Bergström, manager for Saab’s engine production.

The two were each initiators and driving spirits in the ethanol project and convinced about the fact that road cars carried problems (really unsure about that one – SW).

Saab must hook on to the trend toward less environmentally harmful engines and to find a road away from oil dependancy.

”An absolute condition in order to pursue the project was that we could convince GM that the investment could become profitable even only on just the Swedish market. We did this”, says Simonsson, who is happy that the authorities are now building out the infrastructure in order to store and sell ethanol in Great Britain, Germany, France and Norway. Saab has already sold 7,000 biopower vehicles and the number of ethanol petrol pumps in Sweden have grown from 50 to 500.

Even in 2002 Bergström and Simonsson both understood how important this was.

”We each TV young to create a point technology stem to starch Saabs trademark, as each on road downward then in connection with all rumors about closure of Trollhättefabriken “, says Kjell AC Bergström, the civil engineer and the engine expert that early saw the distributers with ethanol that alternative car fuel.

Saab’s then-turbocharged petrol engines coped with the environment legislation without problems but the company had no alternative fuel to tempt environmentally conscious customers. By now, Toyota had launched their hybrid model, the Prius, and sensitive to that trend Simonsson understood that Saab must do something.

”The environment is a public trend. This applies to all things from food to clothing and especially passenger cars”, says Simonsson as he began to discuss the issue with Bergström in order to establish a fast preliminary study.

Bergström thought the idea was luminous. He saw the most direct possibility to create a sporting “environment engine” that also ran equal as a petrol engine. Through building further on Saab’s competence within the ???? technology he developed an ethanol engine that saw a four cylinder turbo engine on 150 hp increase in power on to 180 hp.

”Unlike a heart, an turbocharged engine can regulate the amount of air, which makes it easier to develop a tuning system that fits the ethanol fuel”, says Bergström, who developed the ethanol car in three months.

”it’s a glorious feeling to drive it and to know that actually each vase area even the petrol mock-up”, says Simonsson, who quickly ensured that Saab automobile’s company management were with them in force – CEO: Peter Augustsson in the point…….

………..Both driving spirits are pleased with the success for the ethanol engine. Saab has sold 100 per cent more cars than what one believed from the start.

Now launches Saab yet another – a Biopower motor on 2.3 liters – and beginning next year a model is to be launched in the USA where the infrastructure is on road to being built out.


Interesting stuff.

It’s another in a long list of progressions in the Saab operation. Started, nurtured and developed by Swedes.

Keep it going, lads!


Thanks to ctm for the heads up.

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  1. Hmm, the URL in my previous post got chopped off. The rest of it after “article=” is:



  2. Take this in consideration; “””When the proposal to develop an ethanol engine came in the autumn of 2002, it met strong obstruction from GM Europe’s CEO: Carl Peter Forster. “”””

    Now Carl Peter Foster is CEO of Saab……this politics of obstruction in the innovative development, risky technologies that could give a big advantage to the company, its something that with GM, Saab was unable to do like in the 80’s. As an example the APC, Saab DI-Trionic(both of them used in the new M5 and BMW says its a big step in the automotitive industry), safety…….


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