This has got to hurt. And not just for Saab UK, either. Saab Automobile would have been hoping for a better result here too.
I don’t have access to the full story as it’s from a subscription service, but this excerpt from Automotive World UK tells us everything we need to know:
Vehicles fuelled by the 85% bioethanol-gasoline (E85) blend have been refused exemption from the London central zone congestion charge, even though other forms of ‘green’ fuelling – notably battery-electric and fuel-cell power – qualify,
Saab UK have been lobbying hard for E85 to be granted an exemption from the hefty London congestion charge on the grounds of reduced emissions coming from the BioPower range of engines. In other markets where BioPower has been treated favourably it’s been a remarkable success. As the UK is Saab’s second-largest market it’s fair to say that granting this exemption would have been a real bonus and a definite catalyst for another record year in 2007.
Someone please get Jonathan Nash a stress ball – stat!
I assume the lobbying will continue as this is just one decision and decisions of this nature can be revised and reconsidered. I’d suggest that the reason for the knockback is the small E85 distribution network. Whilst the BioPower engine is capable of miniscule fossil fuel emissions, the reality is that many BioPower owners in England will be running on regular unleaded gasoline most of the time, simply because finding an E85 pump is so difficult at this point.
Will this have consequences for the release of the 9-3 BioPower? I’d suggest not, but there’s certainly going to be less demand for BioPower than what there would have been if this decision had gone the other way.