Thursday Snippets


I’d like to thank those of you that donated to the Send Swade to Sweden fund after the initial posting last night. I’ve received a little over A$500 in contributions towards the cost of my airfare since that post was put on the site last night.

The airfare will be around A$2,000 (+/- 10% depending on the airline) and with the contributions made so far I should be able to clear enough room on my Mastercard to book a ticket early next week.

As the post with the donations button will slowly slide down the front page, I’ve created a big link button in the left sidebar (look for the Swedish flag!). Any further contributions will, of course, be welcome and will be used to help pay that airfare off my Mastercard.

Thanks again. In the words of George Costanza “I’m speechless. I am without speech”


There’s been some recent press in Sweden saying that hybrid drivetrains will be making their way into Saab products in the next 4 to 5 years.

Which makes this post at Autoblog Green all the more interesting. Members of the automotive media were invited to GM’s battery labs in Michigan to have a look at what the future will require in terms of battery production and technology. ABG give a pretty good review of the technical requirements in layman’s terms.

What’s interesting is the question of whether or not, given all the complex problems faced, GM can actually produce the technology it needs for a car like the Volt to become a reality in the timeframe they’ve quoted. Bob Lutz has said that they’re aiming for a real-life (albeit watered down) Volt release in 2010.

Sam Abuelsamid from Autoblog Green thinks they can do it. The somewhat more experienced (but more jaded?) Jerry Flint says no.


Some of you may have seen in comments that Aaron Gold, the motoring journo who got side-swiped while testing a 9-3 SportCombi recently, dropped in and left a note.

The good news, of course, was that niether he or his wife were injured in the accident. The additional good news is that he put enough miles on the car prior to the bingle to be able to write a complete test.


You’ll have to forgive my total ignorance on how Ireland runs on a day-to-day basis, but I’m assuming from this article in the Belfast Telegraph that Northern Ireland adhere to British regulations when it comes to vehicle taxes etc.

I don’t know how much time the people from the Republic of Ireland and those from Northern Ireland spend in each other’s back yards. But if the Northerners head south and see a lot of Hirsched BioPower 9-3s and 9-5s touring around and feel a pang of jealousy then they just need to blame those British based vehicle taxes.

It’s my understanding that in the Republic, the government treats the BioPower as a ‘green’ vehicle and as such it receives generous tax concessions, most notably a hefty discount on the purchase price. Not so in Britain, where Saab GB are still lobbying for the BioPower to at least get concessional status for the London congestion charge.

The article linked above takes a look at BioPower and its benefits and drawbacks, the main one being a lack of government support in Britain. Worthwhile reading if you live in the neighborhood.

And please feel free to correct my inevitable mistakes in the writing above.

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  1. I know it sounds entirely too cynical, but I get tired of waiting for whatever’s next to come out of SAAB. Everything always seems to be 5 years off. It’s sort of like the hydrogen economy: it’s always just 15 years away!

    So Saturn is getting hybrids now, Chevy Malibu is getting a hybrid soon, and SAAB will get one in five years? Okay. Why? SAAB already released their own plug-in hybrid in concept form a year ago. They have the know-how.

  2. 1985 gripen , i agree. Although most would argue Saab is a small brand and can’t produce as much as nissan, or vws concepts blah blah blah… Is it me, or is GM pulling the plug on all of saabs good (expensive) stuff?

  3. But what did we really expect? Saab was losing money big time – billions of dollars during 15 years. How many truly independet auto makers are going by with a sale of 100.000-150.000 family cars a year?

    So Saab needs a partner, needs to be in a family and share stuff. And sharings stuff is not same as Saab get everything cool from the others, and the others get nothing from Saab. It must goes both way – especially when Saab is losing money.

    Saturn’s och Chevy’s that sell will pay for Saab. That’s the truth, even if we don’t like to hear it… We all like Saab to be first with everything, to be the only brand inside GM to have new technology. Sorry, not gonna happen. 🙂

  4. Swade

    firstly well done on spotting this article – I confess to rarely reading the local motoring press as it normally syndicated articles avail elsewhere.

    You have done your homework and got the facts all straight – NI is subject to UK legislation so BIO gains little under tax regime here. RoI is typically more agressive and innovative to new ideas so not surprised that they have seen the wisdom of the green alternatives.

    My hope is that Gordon Brown when he takes over from Tony Bliar (typo?) will take the intiative to encourage more than the Prius brigade – intesting to note that UK Govnt ministers have two choices of car – a Jaguar XJ or Toyota Prius – and how many do yu think have a Prius? Two!!! Nice if they could add a 9-5 to that list?

    Anyway, well done on picking up the more far-flung corners of this little world!

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