Saab at Geneva

In comments to a MY2008 9-3 posting the other day, OLW noted that Saab were planning a world premiere at Geneva. A quick look a the GM-Saab Geneva website indicates that this is indeed the case.


Saab will be hosting a BioPower Breakfast at 7:30am on Tuesday March 6 and included in the buffet are a concept car and a world premiere.

I’d be willing to bet you a big bowl of Corn Flakes that the world premiere will be the BioPower version of the 9-3 range of vehicles. Even though they’re available for order in Sweden right now, there’s been no big hoo-ha over them because Geneva is the place for the official debut.

The concept, of course, will be the BioPower100 version of the 9-5, the vehicle with the coolest tail lamps EVER.

I’ll have some more photos of that little beasty later and I can tell you that they look VERY good.

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  1. Swade, what is it that you like about those tail lights? The picture to which you linked didn’t strike me as incredible for some reason.

    Here in Ohio, USA, the clear turning signals are not very helpful as you don’t know what direction the driver is turning during the day until they are right next to you.

    Perhaps that’s why I’m not as excited as you are. Or it may be that I’m an old fogey. 🙂

  2. Hmmm…. I wonder if they’ll unveil a plug-in hybrid? Wouldn’t that be nice.

    Andy: I don’t know what you’re on about with the comment above. They’ll work just like any other signal in theory…. the bulbs will have the color, not the lens. That should be enough.

    I do like the look. And I think that those tail lights will sell vehicles here in the US.

  3. Andy,
    I don’t really understand what is your problem with the clear lenses. Of course, the bulb should emit orange/amber turning signal.
    It’s much more confusing for us in Europa if we see US made cars and their turning signal is the same red color as brake light and tail light.
    Last but not least: it’s better to don’t judge it until we couldn’t see it in traffic.

  4. Clear lenses are great, and colored ones can be great too. What I hate are federalized bumpers. Do these reflectors exist for safety? What is the point except to make certain beautiful european cars look really ugly?

  5. eggsngrits: unfortunately after seeing the hybrid system in the Chevy Volt, I think it makes the SAAB system look overly-complex and a bit of a fossil. Take a look at the system in the Chevy Volt:

    It’s basically an electric car with a flex-fuel-capable gasoline engine to act purely as a generator for the batteries. They call the IC engine a “range extender”. The IC engine doesn’t drive the wheels in any way, just powers the batteries when they run low.

    Though the SAAB plug-in hybrid was exciting at the time, I think now it looks like a relic and I think it’d be a bad time to come out with a concept model of it, after GM already showed the Volt to critical acclaim. Now if the SAAB hybrid was the same type system but a diesel… oh sorry. Volvo’s already announced that they’re coming out with this in Autumn:

    I guess SAAB could “one-up” them by coming out with the same thing but have it B100-capable! Or biobutanol-capable! Or E100 capable! Okay, sorry I got a little excited there…

    As for the taillight visibility, I think that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has a requirement that a taillight have the same light output whether the lens is colored or the bulb (or the LEDs). I too like the look of the BioPower100, but I don’t know if it’s more the white color, the Hirsch kit, or the taillights. The clear taillight thing was so “ricer” a few years back, but it does look good on the SAAB, especially with that slight blue tint. Can they make it a slight green tint, just for this treehugger? 😉

  6. oh. Sorry I didn’t get that. 🙂

    However, I do think that it’s a great opportunity for SAAB to “borrow” what looks like a great technology from GM cousin Chevrolet and improve on it by replacing the IC engine with a B100-capable diesel engine and drop it into oh, say a 9-3 convertible! SAAB is still the only manufacturer I know of to have come out with a convertible hybrid concept…

  7. Can someone explain to me why the world premier is not the face lift of the 9-3? Also, The ethanol car – will that be sold in more than a few countries?

    I would guess a face life of the 9-3 in geneva. The 94 shown in Trollhattan this summer, and maybe a 92 next year…


  8. cj: I don’t think that a refresh of a current model justifies a “world premiere”. “World premieres” are usually reserved for brand new products. I’m with Swade that it’s probably the 9-3 BioPower that’s getting the “world premiere” treatment.

    I’m not sure the SAAB Festival will be the place to introduce a new model. I would think they’d reserve that for an international auto show where they’ll have press from all over the world present to cover it. I’m not sure how much of the automotive press will be present at the SAAB Festival.

    I’m not expecting to even see a 9-1 (or a 9-2 as you say) CONCEPT until around 2009.

  9. cj, I’m quite sure it’ll be the BioPower. It’s a significant release for Europe and Geneva is a big show. Too early for the MY08 car at this point. The 9-3 Biopower is now available for order in Sweden and I believe it’ll be available soon in other Euro markets where BioPower is currently sold (UK, Ireland with others coming very soon).

    Also Saab Festival will be an appropriate time for the MY08 car. The Festival is finishing on the exact 60th Anniversary of the day when the first Saab was unveiled to the press in 1947, the 10th of June.

    If you go to the festival website, you’ll see that they have something big planned for Sunday 10th, but won’t reveal what it is.

    There’s been other indicators that this would be the case too, though they escape me right now and I’m too busy to go through the archives and look them up.

    A 9-4x sneaky-peek might be a small possibility to debut at Frankfurt later this year, but Geneva will be all about BioPower: the 9-3 getting it and the E100 concept.

  10. Gripen,
    Chevy Volt is a quite different approach and quite different car. It’s a smaller concept coupe with lightweight composite body.
    Saab hybdrid is an existing car with well proven safety features and much higher power and torque, furthermore all-wheel-drive, and possibly at least 10-20% heavier than Chevy Volt, however Saabs performance is far beyond the Volt.
    In Saab hybrid the “concept” is the hybrid drivetrain only, in Volt the whole car is a concept, it’s very doubtful how it will keep it’s parameters (based on the usage of possibly costly special plastics to reduce weight) for a mass production…
    So, I thinks the Saab BioPower Hybrid is still a promising technology.

  11. Ivan, I just worry about the increased complexity of the SAAB hybrid system. It seems a very complex way to simply get more power and a little fuel savings out of a car. As you know, the more complex a machine is the more prone it is to failure.

    As for power, the electric motors are very powerful. In an electric motor you get maximum torque immediately. I know the SAAB hybrid also has electric motors in addition to the IC engine, but it just seems overly complex to me. Also, it’s reportedly VERY expensive. Though I’m sure the Chevy Volt wouldn’t be cheap to build either…

  12. Gripen,
    Ok, you are right, the complexity is a real problem. It’s the price to get a much more powerful engine for highway cruising(just compare the accelerations and top speed, and I’m sure, the overtaking is also better with Saab hybrid), all wheel drive, and almost the same clean emission in city use where Saab hybrid can run also in zero mode (IC engine turned on only if needed).
    I have also doubt about how could be possible to use it in mass production… but it fits much more to the Saab character than Volt’s solution.

  13. Actually Ivan, hybrids get you less at highway cruising than in stop-and-go city traffic. They use the regenerative braking to recharge the batteries.

    Seems to me for all intents and purposes an AWD BioPower SAAB would get you just as much (or more) power than the SAAB hybrid with just as little fossil fuel burnt (running on E85 you’re only burning 15% the fossil fuel of a regular gasoline car). A hybrid will save fuel, but will it reduce gasoline consumption by 85%? And I’m not even getting into CO2 emissions, which I’m guessing would still be less in an E85 car than a gasoline hybrid. Now if we’re talking about running E85 in the hybrid, then it’s another story.

    I’m just saying for the power increase I’d take a BioPower over the hybrid. It’d be less complex (therefore more reliable) and less expensive.

    As for the Volt, it is less complex a system and it also runs on E85 like the SAAB Hybrid. It is also capable of running in “zero mode”. The only difference is that the Volt has less overall horsepower and torque and is FWD rather than AWD. It would also get much better fuel economy.

    I think SAAB could easily make a new BioPower hybrid convertible using the Volt-type system and AWD.

  14. Bengt: the 9-5 is surely the BioPower100 Concept. However, the real news is that you found that indeed the other premiere will be the 9-3 BioPower as Swade speculated!

  15. Grippen, I suppose that the Saab hybrid should run with E85 (or even E100). There should be no problem to apply the BioPower engine in hybrid technology, and it would be much more “green” than the current hybrid cars.
    I’m not sure that the technology from Volt can result a real Saabish characteristic…

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