The Saab Volt?

OK, that headline’s probably going a bit too far, but this info from CTM sure makes for some interesting reading. It may be fair to say that certain fields of expertise might have been the deciding element in whatever discussions GM have ever had about Saab’s future.

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I don’t think it’s new but it’s once again in the press in Sweden this week. The thing goes like this:

Saab engineers are responsible for much more of the GM hybrid thing than people might know. Especially with Lund University in Sweden. The work aim to make the hybrid technology more of a “plug-n-play” technology, where pieces can be combined together in more than one way to suit different models and different markets. This will also reduce cost, and the work there is important since hybrid need to be mass produced to really have some effect. And since smaller cars is the most important segment, both in Europe and in places like South America and Asia, the goal is to make it small and cheap enough that it will be competitive in this segment in just a few years from now. That is, the buyer should get the extra money spent back in just 1-2 years of using the car.

The Chevrolet Volt concept is a hybrid, and Saab engineers has done a lot of work on that. Lutz recently stated that work has begun to make that concept ready for production, something that usually takes about 24-36 months. That means something like 2010. Also, the Volt will be built on the new Delta platform – the same that the new Opel Astra and the new smaller Saab will be built on. This has started rumors that 1) the Volt can be built in Trollhättan, and 2) that the new Saab and Opel will be offered as real hybrid from start.

Just loose things, but I would really like to see a hybrid on the market from Saab in 3 years time.

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As a reminder, the Lund University connection was the vital one in the conception of the Saab BioPower Hybrid shown in Stockholm in April of last year.

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11 Comments

  1. I want to ad as I am living in Lund. That Lund University and Saab has worked for some time. Lund university has also heavy research in ethanol (production, and engine).

    hopefully they can a real good product out. Biopower hybrid with 1,6l and 200hp would be sweet.

  2. This might explain why it seemingly takes SAAB five years (in the case of the 9-4X) to bring an entirely new vehicle to market. Maybe there’s a shortage of engineers due to them all being spread throughout GM working on other projects?

    This lends credence to my wish that the next E-Flex platform concept (Biodiesel) goes to SAAB. I’m betting Opel will get it, but it makes sense to give it to SAAB as well for these reasons:

    1. SAAB engineers are doing a lot of work on it

    2. SAAB is the acknowleged biofuel (ethanol) expert within GM as well as the turbocharging expert (the Volt is turbocharged so I’m guessing the new E-Flex car introduced under a GME brand will be a turbo-diesel)

    3. Unlike Opel SAAB is a brand sold in both Europe as well as the U.S. Worldwide SAAB will have more brand recognition than Opel.

    4. SAAB has been taking a back seat to Cadillac in GM’s push in Europe so it’d be nice if GM “threw them a bone” and let them have the Biodiesel E-Flex Concept glory.

  3. 5. I’m sure a biodiesel powered car (well, technically an EV (electric vehicle) with biodiesel “range extender”) would be popular in SAAB’s strong home market of Sweden as the country has pledged independence from oil by 2020.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_phase-out_in_Sweden

    I’m just not sure if diesel can be a factor up there because I remember reading that diesel is very difficult to run in very cold climates and has to be heated-up or something. But I’m sure they’ve figured a way around this as Scania trucks are diesel. If anyone can figure out how to work biodiesel to their advantage it’d be SAAB’s engineers! Maybe they can partner with Scania.

    I’m sure SAAB and Lund University have also been working on the issues with batteries in cold weather in conjunction with their hybrid vehicle studies.

  4. This goes off topic, but I just wanted to share this. I bought our 9000 Aero four years ago from Lund, Sweden. Previous owner was Professor who was working at Lund university on a program of “developmental biology” – whatever it means.

    Original owner of that car was some other guy from University. So there´s at least few Saabisti working over there!

  5. It takes GM 5 years to bring ANY all-new product to market, that’s just how they operate. It’s not like Saab has a great track record with new products anyway, Saab has only had, what, 4 all new cars in its entire history?

    Also, if Opel gets the next E-FLex car, they could show it off here as a Saturn…who knows?

  6. Good point on Saturn. I’ve speculated that before as well. However, I don’t think Saturn would tout it because the next E-Flex car is set to be a biodiesel. In order for Saturn to actually sell a diesel (SAAB already does in Europe and Australia, amongst other places, I’m guessing) they’d have to have it comply with the new more stringent 50-state emissions laws, which GM doesn’t seem interested in doing with ANY of their marques. They don’t have any “BLUETEC” or urea-injection or NOx filtering systems in the pipeline that I know of.

  7. As the Astra and small Saab will be built on the same platform and in the same factory, you can be assured both cars will be supplied with hybrid tech if it is available.

    I also think that 5 years to develop the 9-4x is a hell of an improvement on the 100 or so years it took to replace the c900…

    On an unrelated topic I was talking to a guy I know about his Jag and mentioned my SAAB. Turns out he had a 9000 Turbo. His verdict? Great car for motorways, no one ever over took him but the car rattled like crazy and bits kept falling off. He in turn was talking to a pilot mate of his who told him “don’t worry the planes are exactly the same, I just thump whatever aint working”. Some things NEVER change 🙂

  8. Please don’t flame me but this is a hoax. Don’t ask me how I know but I know. Sorry CTM, I appreciate your effort though. Let me add that I am big Saab fan myself and I L.O.V.E. the new 9-3 design!

  9. AeroDynamics: It’s rumors like a lot other stuff we see here. A hoax is something else, namely something that someone openly claim is true although is false.

    Saab/GM is working with Lund University on hybrids. No secret in Sweden. GM said the other week that the Volt concept is beeing worked at for production. No secret. The other thing is just tie up of loose ends, a rumor – one that make sense and follow logic but is not necessarily true.

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