Ethanol Snippets

Whilst a number of markets are gearing up for the release of the 9-3 BioPower onto their sales floors, CAR Magazine asks if we’re almost on the verge of a VHS/Betamax type showdown.

It’s not quite that divisive as there’s three major green products out there (diesel, hybrid and E85) but from the floor of the Geneva Motor Show, CAR was in no doubt that green is the new black as all major companies were out to show the credentials.

E85 is the fastest growing alternative fuel out there. Here’s hoping for Saab’s sake that it continues both its growth and its development.


Saab Australia got some good coverage from CarsGuide earlier in the week. This is quite possibly the exact type of article they were looking for by bringing the BioPower range here to Australia.

It covers the issues facing BioPower here (lack of availabiity and concern over green credentials given the inputs) but over all it sees ethanol as a good contributor and quite definitely a debate worth having.

And the article has Saab plastered all over it.


A ‘green’ rating scheme is expected to be implemented by many European countries in the near future. There’s several already using it and Switzerland is promoting it during the Geneva Motor Show.

It rates vehicles from an ‘A’ to a ‘G’, depending on the environmental impact of the vehicle. It’ll therefore allow a readymade comparable guide for consumers to judge their potential purchases. As many countries tax vehicles based on emissions, it’s forecasted to be a big thing for car companies to impress consumers by showing their green-ness.

This will have good and not-so-good implcations for Saab. According to the article, the “Biodiesel” 9-3 SportCombi (their description, not mine) earns an ‘A’, whilst the regular gasoline powered equivalent gets a ‘G’ – and that ain’t ‘G’ for ‘Green’.

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  1. The newest EU directive about emissions from car is causing concerns in Germany beacuse it spells B I G trouble for BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Porsche. They are even saying it’s someting that is being pushed forward by France and Italy because they make smaller cars. It’s almost as they now try to engage journalist in the battle against ethanol. In February, Auto Motor & Sport in Sweden told us the “shocking truth” about how bad ethanol is and used a 9-5 as an example. But they are afraid in Germany. Now, VW said they gonna sell an ethanol version of Golf later this year to fend competition from Ford Focus. And with the Geneva auto show, I really think it’s getting momentum. Ethanol is the best way to do someting now without massive investments in new infrastructure.

  2. If this is a “light posting” day because of a family medical issue, I’d hate to see what you could do if you really had a lot of free time.


  3. The three alternative products E85, hybrid, and diesel really only make sense in totally different markets.
    E85 is for short trips, low use vehicles where its 20% mileage “hit” will be less noticeable.
    Hybrids are for moderate use, city, stop & go.
    Diesel/BioD are best for constant use commercial types, either city or cross-country.

  4. The “20% mileage hit” you reference has to do with most cars to this point being incapable of (or just not putting the effort towards) burning ethanol at full efficiency. With an octane rating that rivals racing fuel, large portions of the fuel will go unburned during the engine’s combustion cycle. I believe Saab is really (has at least started) addressing this with the turbo, ECU mapping, and compression ratio to maximize the energy potential contained within E85 – E100 mixtures.

    Combine the work they have already done in this area (along with some refinements?), their VCC technology & the possibility of the plug-in hybrid to handle stop/go traffic, and we may see a truly efficient “flex-fuel” vehicle of the first order.

  5. I agree with 93Aero. Saab has done a great job at making vehicles optimized for Ethanol, not just capable of it. This huge difference is what helps nullify anti-E85 arguments, such as the one CR made some months ago.

    And sure the 20% mpg reduction may suck (literally!), but a similar increase in power is nice. Isn’t that what you do when you drive aggressively? More power, less mpgs. What a concept.

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