BioPower News

Two pieces of BioPower news have come my way, pertaining to both the 9-3 and 9-5.

9-3 BioPower to debut at Geneva

ctm has forwarded a story that appeared in Expressen, a Swedish newspaper, regarding a showing of the 9-3 BioPower range a few days prior to the Geneva Motor Show, which starts next month.

Now, I must preface this by saying that the latest word coming through to me prior to this is that the 9-3 BioPower would be placed on hold for some time. With a mid-cycle enhancement coming up the 9-3 is going to be quite popular anyway. BioPower sales are the main thing propping up 9-5 sales in Sweden so you could imagine them tanking quicker than the 2007 Boston Celtics if a 9-3 variant comes online.

That said, the article states:

Saab has invited a small number of journalists to a test drive of the new Saab 9-3 BioPower. The test drive will take place Sunday, 4 of March, two days before the world premiere at the Geneva Auto Show.

According to Expressen’s sources, Saab will premiere the 9-3 with 1.8t and 2.0t ethanol engines.

Saab will also invite the small group of journalists to the Saab Salomon Design Center in Annecy, where they will show another ethanol project. Most likely, it’s a new engine for pure ethanol – so called E100.

Up until now, only the 9-5 has been available with ethanol engines, but with the new 9-3 Saab will compete directly with Ford Focus and Volvo V50 FlexiFuel.

So I guess we wait for Geneva with some interest…..

The 9-3 will feature the 1.8 and 2.0 variants, so with the 9-5 featuring the 2.3 exclusively, I gather this will help it to retain its market for those looking for a bit more oomph.

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9-5 range to go all BioPower?

A few weeks ago I attended the Australian ‘launch’ of BioPower in Brisbane.

During the question session, I asked Saab Oz Director, Parveen Batish, why they weren’t just going to bite the bullet and sell all 9-5s in Australia as BioPower models. The current line is that if enough people are interested, they may be able to order a BioPower 9-5 later in the year for a $1,500 premium on the price of a regular 9-5. The justification was that it was a user-choice issue.

My question was based on the theory that the conversion to BioPower involves a minimal cost, and if they truly wanted to end the chicken-and-egg argument here (you can’t get E85 here yet), making all the cars BioPower models was the best way to show some industry leadership.

News coming in to me today indicates that the should-we-or-shouldn’t-we question may be taken out of their hands.

With the potential for a BioPower 9-3 line, a new diesel and all the other engines they’re dealing with in Sweden, news is in that the entire 9-5 model range may feature BioPower as standard from later this year.

IMHO, this is a great idea. Personally, I’d love to see Saab be able to claim an all-Turbocharged lineup and where non-diesels are concerned, an all-BioPower lineup too. As noted above though, I’m uncertain whether the 9-5 in its current form could sustain this.

Thanks, T

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6 Comments

  1. “Up until now, only the 9-5 has been available with ethanol engines, but with the new 9-3 Saab will compete directly with Ford Focus and Volvo V50 FlexiFuel.”

    I thought it was called Flexfuel…

  2. Swade, I was thinking, why would’nt SAAB introduce the twin turbo, and Bio-power 9-3s at Geneva? That would be a great showcase, I could even see them showing the “new” 9-3 with this engine in Geneva as a “Concept”. This would be a great showcase for them, and generate some nice buzz. Wasn’t the Aero-X debuted at Geneva?

  3. I think, that was in a Autonews.com issue that I read that Saab anounced its going to launch a Biopower version of the 9-3ss this year, based on the 1.8t with 150bhp and with ethanol it will increase to 175-180bhp aprox.

    There are some official pics(media.saab.com) that shows a 9-3ss convertible Biopwer, with the 2.0t engine

    greetings

  4. I think there *will* be a BioPower 9-3 this spring. It’s been all over the media in Sweden for months now, although I havn’t seen any official statement from Saab about it. Geneva seems logical to me.

    Also, they knew pretty well that the face lift was gonna leak month before it arrive. So they need something to keep sales up.

    And BioPower in the 9-3 is a enough news to have it separated from the face lift this summer, and thus getting more press all over the year.

  5. btw. Saab… I mean Cadillac BLS has won Finnish winter test beating:

    – Chevrolet Epica 2,0 LT A
    – Citroën C4 Picasso 1,8i 16V Confort
    – Dodge Caliber 1,8 SXT
    – Fiat Grande Punto 1,4 16V 95 Dynamic 5d
    – Ford S-MAX 2,0 Trend
    – Honda Civic 1,8i 5d Sport
    – Hyundai Accent 1,6 GLS
    – Kia Carens 2,0 EX 7-p.
    – Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupé 1,8 Base & Pack
    – Mini Cooper Chili
    – Nissan Note 1,6 Visia
    – Opel Corsa 1,4 Enjoy 5-ov.
    – Peugeot 207 Trendy 1,4 16V 5-ov.
    – Renault Clio 1,4 Expression 5-ov.
    – Skoda Roomster 1,6 16V Style
    – Suzuki SX4 1,6 4WD Outdoor Line
    – Toyota Avensis Sedan 1,8 VVT-i Linea Sol Elegant
    – Volkswagen Eos 2,0 FSI
    – Volvo C30 1,6 Kinetic

    I dont have much futher information as I do not have the magazine.
    9-3.. I mean BLS was praised e.g. for good road feeling, ESP, effective interior heater.

  6. As some of you might already know I’m the resident treehugger here and I’m more excited about biobutanol than bioethanol.
    http://www.autobloggreen.com/2006/12/30/biobutanol-the-other-white-meat/

    I won’t go preaching here, but I wonder if SAAB can make all of its models across the board optimized for butanol as well. So “flex-fuel” would refer to gasoline, ethanol, AND butanol. Butanol requires no physical changes to the car’s hardware (unlike ethanol) and can be run without modification, but a car can have its fuel mapping optimized to run butanol. It’d be little to no extra expense for SAAB to build-in butanol optimization into all its models across the board. Be a leader in that “chicken and egg” problem you mention… Couldn’t hurt to have the cars butanol-optimized!

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