Saab UK take a tough one


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.

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  1. One need only visit Sao Paulo to realize that local gaseous emissions are not positively affected by the switch to ethanol. It is the net effect that is positive — that is, you offset the CO2 and CO emissions with corresponding CO2 and CO consumption by the ethanol-producing plants. NOx emissions actually may be a little higher with ethanol.

    So… London made the call that keeps local emissions low. Sounds reasonable.

    Again, I’m NOT an E85 fan. Biodiesel hybrid — now you’re talking.

  2. Thats what happens when you have a bl**dy idiot running a city like London but then again eggngrits has a valid point.

  3. that ‘bl**dy idiot’ is Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London. Famous for not having a driving licence and hating cars with a passion.

    The electric cars that you see are those G-Whiz things that are about 1:43rd the size of a Saab.

    I am not surprised that Red Ken has banned biofuel Saabs. I understand he is extending the congestion charge zone and the cost has risen, too.

    I sat next to Red Ken on a commute from London to Brighton once. I was surprised that nobody heckled him (or thumped him). Next time I see him on the train perhaps I should have a chat with him about biofuel?

  4. While it’s true that ethanol doesn’t really provide too much benefit LOCALLY as far as CO2 emissions are concerned, it sure does globally.

    Also, fueling an auto with ethanol reduces other pollutants (which affect local air quality more than CO2) like hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide (CO), and nitrogen oxides (NOx).

    I don’t have the numbers available but biobutanol emissions are supposed to be on-par or even less than ethanol emissions and a 100% biobutanol-powered car saw reductions in hydrocarbons by 95%, CO to 0.0%(!), and NOx by 37%.

    Maybe when the BP/DuPont partnership comes out with their biobutanol product in Britain later this year London will allow cars running on it to be exempt from the London congestion charge.

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