Tuesday Snippets


The Detroit News has published an article by Neil Winton that tends to suggest that he doesn’t have money tied up in corn futures. OK, I embellished the photo and that last sentence a little. But the sentiments holds fairly true if you read his latest work.

Many of these anti-ethanol tirades assume a position where ethanol is proposed as a replacement for all fossil fuels. Ethanol is only one piece in the puzzle and as the technology gets better with time, it’ll be even more valid.

Saab are in on the ground floor with the best application of the technology – right where they need to be.


It’s funny, but I was reading in The Truth About Cars just last night how gasoline engines are more adaptable than diesels and will probably overtake them in time in terms of efficiency etc.

Today, as per the note above, I’m reading an article entitled Diesel efficiency likely to trump even subsidized ethanol. I wonder what I’ll pick up tomorrow. How hydrogen engines don’t actually emit water, but Coke.

I’d like that.

You can find a study to back you up on any point of view.


StraightLine, the Edmunds blog, went and paid a visit to the Saab factory on their way to the test drive event for the 2008 Saab 9-3.

Saab USA’s Steve Shannon also attended this press session for the new car, which I guess is where Edmunds got their ‘over lunch’ stories from last week. The word on the street is that all in attendance enjoyed themselves and all were suitably impressed with XWD.

The Edmunds folks loved the museum, and were even more chuffed when they got the chance to drive a few of the old timers at the XWD section of the press event. I wish I’d had the time to do the same, but we were on a very tight schedule that day.

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  1. Swade, thanks for the response to Winton’s article. You know someone is going to bash ethanol as soon as they mention the word “corn”. Guess I should take his word over those professors at Lund University who must not know anything.
    About the Edmunds article. I got a kick out of their appreciation of the unrestored 99s: “Yet, they were both pleasant to drive, reasonably quick, and get this, eager around corners in a way that current Saabs just aren’t… especially the ’74 EMS, which had the quickest steering ratio of any 99. They represent an intangible, emotional place that the company needs to find a way back to.” I still remember my 73 and 75 99s. And, as good as my 04 9-3 is in the bends, it’s a struggle on quick turns compared to those old 99s, even without power steering.

  2. I will get a 99 again. Some day. It will happen.

    Actually, it might have to be my 2008 website project. If I can get the lion’s share of the Viggen work done this year, that’s a real chance.

    And yes, Jon, I do mean the cola 😉

  3. Current Diesel engines have a couple of short comings regarding exhaust gas emmissions. It is the same with Ethanol.

    Actually, Saab Ethanol cars produce very harmful emmissions as well and therefor should not called green or eco-friendly. I thing, Ken Livington´s advisers got the clue.

    About the Swedes. As a matter of facts, hardly any other people In Europe produce so much CO2 per head as the Swedes do. But why is the governmet supporting Ethanol? Saving some 100s jobs in Trollhättan?

    In the begining, when they talked about the Etahnol thing, they mentioned to use wast from forestry to produce Ethanol. Do they? Maybe? Btw, Swedes are usually liveing in very small cities where air pollution is not a real issue. There is no L.A. or London in Sweden, just Malmö, Göteborg and Sthlm.

  4. I find the ‘diesel versus hybrid’ discussion quite artificial.

    The prejudice against diesels also seems to be very strong indeed. Almost any argument(from old, smoky truck/bus engines to trashy Cutlass diesels to huuuge particle and nox emissions) is good enough to bash diesels – regardless what the current technology is.

    Then, the hybrid tech should be seen as a part of the transmission and not as a part of the engine. Hybrid tech can be combined with a diesel engine as well to produce even better fuel economy than a gas hybrid.

    In both cases, of course, biofuel (alcohol, diesel or other) can be used. In case of biofuels the main issue isn’t the cars’ emissions but the emissions from biofuel production and using raw materials as sugarcane or corn.

    I agree with those who say that biofuels are a marketing gag only (the only good thing so far being saving the life of Saab 9-5). But still I believe that it’s a necessary phase in starting the change away from fossil fuels. (…and perhaps leading to hydrogen (or other) power and better battery technology and… ?)

  5. The argument shouldn’t be whether a gasoline engine more efficient than diesel can be developed. It should be how far away we are from reaching the practical limits in technology of the ICE.

    I don’t know why they’d think that they can improve the gasoline engine to the point where it’s more efficient than a diesel engine. These engine technologies have been around for over 100 years. What’s the hold-up?

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