Call this one low-key, under the radar, whatever you want.
It seems Saab Australia are going to offer Biopower here in Oz. I mentioned in yesterday’s snippets entry that dealers were going to be driving the Biopower vehicles in Queensland in the near future. The last I heard, Saab Australia were going to bring a few Biopower vehicles in for the press and various government agencies to evaluate.
This article, from NextCar, makes it sound like it’s a launch and release affair. I’d have thought Saab Oz would pass the word around a bit wider (that’s not sour grapes folks, there’s no press release or anything as far as I can see – unusual).
Saab will be launching their Diesel range in January 2007 in South Australia. The big news here is the they will also launch Biopower in Queensland at around the same time. In addition, a Biopower vehicle has been added to the Queensland Government fleet for the nation’s first E85 trial.
As a result of Queensland’s leadership in championing ethanol, Saab has chosen the sugarcane growing region for the vehicle’s launch in January.
This week, Queensland Premier Peter Beattie enjoyed a preview of BioPower. Two BioPower vehicles were also on display as part of the Premier’s Community Cabinet in Toowoomba on Sunday 3rd and Monday 4th December.
Saab Australia Director, Parveen Batish, says with BioPower coming to Australia, Saab can help overcome the ‘chicken and egg’ dilemma of supply and demand when trying to bring a new fuel to market.
“E85 fuel is not currently commercially available in Australia, but because BioPower is a flex-fuel car drivers can fill up with petrol until ethanol fuel is available,” Mr Batish said.
“With this flexibility, we believe Saab can play a role in helping the community take the next step and consider the introduction of ethanol as an alternative, renewable fuel for consumers.”
Parveen Batish assesses Qld Premier Beattie’s driving posture. Beattie’s smiling because he just broke wind.
The acceptance of the vehicle into a government trial is good news. This gives the whole exercise some instant credibility. Queensland is prime E85 country, being the home of Australia’s sugarcane industry. After getting rather badly screwed in the Free Trade Agreement we did with the US a few years ago, I’m sure the industry would be open to some more interest in E85.
Whilst progress is great, and I’m all for more power and torque (oh, and less emissions too), let’s remain mindful of the fact that there’s some dedicated Saab dealers out there who are crying out for some products that they can sell – now. Whilst E85’s a good prospect for the future in Australia, it’s barely a blip on any consumer’s radar right now.
Hopefully the upgraded engines in the 9-3 range and the addition of diesel will give them some reasons to smile as widely as Parveen in 2007.
Thanks to Turbin for the heads-up