Here’s something I was thinking about earlier today, however I have no idea about who to contact to get the info needed to make an informed comment.
So here’s my uninformed opinion….
I think that if Saab are serious about BioPower, which I’m sure they are, then they should make their entire range of gasoline engines BioPower compatible.
Right now, most BioPower customers pay a premium to have the flexfuel capability. I say most as those lucky leprechauns in Ireland actually receive a hefty discount. They get to Hirsch the daylights out of their 9-5s and still have change left for a night’s supply of Guinness. The rest of Saab’s BioPower aspirants pay in the order of A$1,500 for the privilege.
Recently, Richo and I attended the Australian launch for BioPower. On the way to the event we were speaking with one of the grand poobahs of the ethanol industry here in Australia and we asked him how difficult it is to convert a car to run on E85. He seemed to think that the changeover parts would add something in the order of A$10 – A$30 to the cost. He’s an ethanol guy rather than a car guy, but you’d think he would make it his business to know such things. Even if he’s underestimating, there’s a heck of a lot of wiggle room between $10 and $1,500.
At the press session of the event I asked Parveen Batish why Australia didn’t just go all BioPower on the 9-5 range. If they want to get rid of the chicken-and-egg argument over E85 then just make the decision, price the cars reasonably and say “Here they are”.
The response was that they didn’t want to force the technology on anyone that didn’t want it. With all due respect to Parveen I’d say that’s bollocks. I’d say the price for BioPower is set in either Germany or Sweden and they’re making an extra buck or thousand on it and a minnow like Saab Oz has to take the price they’re given.
So, if there’s anyone out there in a position to know, or find out, I’d love to know that the additional incremental cost is to include the necessary hardware for BioPower.
Could Saab realistically be the BioPower company, with their entire range of gasoline engines capable of running on E85? If anyone can source those additional costs and either email me or leave the info in comments, I think it’d be very interesting.