Saab EV-1: Just another day in Sweden…..

As you can see, we Aussies took the good weather away with us when we left Sweden….

I picked this up on Flickr. There’s not too many places in the world where you could expect to see a one-of-a-kind vehicle on the back of a truck. But if you live in Trollhattan there’s always a possibility it’ll happen.

In this instance, it’s the EV-1 headed off somewhere. I’d love to know where it ended up and more importantly, who got to drive it. A closer encounter with this car is one of my missions for future trips to Trollhattan.

This shot was taken by Rickard, one of my mates in Sweden. Great work.


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  1. I too am very much interested in learning more about this vehicle. Aesthetically, I think it is a montrosity. I would like to know if the car contains any interesting features or technologies that would be redeeming. I think I read somewhere (probably on this site)that its roof contains solar panels that power a system which cools the vehicle while parked. I don’t know if that is true, but that isn’t enough. Ever since I first learned of the EV-1, I have tried to gently ignore its existence. A recent post on this website mentioned that the designer of this car was also one of the primary designers of the car I currently drive. I am kind of shocked.

  2. And for those of us who were around when Bjorn Envall penned this masterpiece of 1980s futurism, it is not a “monostrosity”.

    The car also used composites, solar panels and had a Saab identity.

    It was also aerodynamically sound and based on a Classic 900 turbo, drive train.

    Bjorn was proud of the EV and rightly so.

    Anyone else care to speak up in support?

    Erek mate, you are entitled to your view, I just don’t agree with it.

  3. I just can’t find much more than two paragraphs on this vehicle on the internets. Lance, you pretty much hit on all the info that is available.

  4. Ok Erek, as no one else has:

    EV 1 had 66 solar cells which activated cooling fans as soon as the car was parked. The hotter the temperature and the more sunlight, the harder the fans worked and the cooler the car was when you got back to it!

    The composite chassis and body was made of aramid fibre. There were composite crush cans and anti intrusion panels in the doors.

    Photo-electrics meant the speedometer only showed you your actual speed and a few Kms either side- a ‘blackout’ instrument panel later seen on production Saabs.

    The airflow stayed attached- even at large yaw angles down to the rear critical separation point on the boot/trunk lid edge.

    The wake turbulence was tuned to reduce drag through vortex tailoring.

    The car was crosswind stable too- not easy with curved rear ends (as Ford found out with the Sierra-they had to add plastic trigger strakes 18 months into its production life -on the C pillar window trim). Envall got it right first time.

    The Cda was good as well (cross sesction Cd at yaw angle). The curved screen reduced the pressure bubble build up over the bonnet /hood – a la Saab 99 and 900.

    I think the Cd was 0.27 – check that?

    The solar cells were mounted inside the glass roof. The front and rear sections of the EV-1 were constructed from Aramid reinforced glass fibre and had the ability to resume their original shape after impact.

    The car was strong yet light and the moulded the front seats are half the weight of conventional seats -and had adjustable side bolsters.

    It was the star of the 1985 Los Angeles auto show and was a huge hit in the motoring press in the USA and the UK.

    In some ways teh construction and design echoed the orignal 1950s Sonnet soft top (truly the wrodls first composite car in terms of mixing alu with plastic/grp)

    Envall was rightly proud of the EV 1 and it brought much attention to saab- a sort of 1898s Aero- X then…His detailing was superb.

    I remember going to a lecture at RCA Auto Design School in London and the head professor was raving over EV 1.

    That car was pure Saab …

  5. I think the grille looks a little weird but other than that I don’t see why anyone would think this thing is ugly. It looks a little like a nicer-looking 944.

  6. Erek, so dismissive so immediately? Them’s fightin words around here.

    As Lance mentions, the EV-1 is pure Saab design and innovation, though I agree there’s not enough info out there on the interwebs, a situation I will try to remedy soon.

    My tip: don’t judge it by today’s standards. Think about what else was going around in 1984 and judge it by those standards.

  7. I would be interested to learn more about the story of the car (and the company at that time). Not only is there a lack of info, but the stats on the vehicle are not always similar between sources I have looked at. I don’t see how having a negative opinion on the looks of a particular Saab is fighting words. But furthermore, if I think back to 1985, I would say that running fans with solar panels would be an overly complicated and costly way to address cabin temp. How is that pure Saab? From my point of view, this vehicle seems like a radical tangent for Saab.

  8. Erek, the fighin words bit was tongue in cheek. But I will see what stuff I can dig up on EV-1. Evryonemakes their own decision about whether they like a particular vehicle or not, which is fair enough. But I think you’ll find a lot of support here and elsewhere for the car.

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