More on that Saab hybrid business….

There was an article published here during the week that was, well, not quite as accurate as it could have been. I covered it as it appeared to be the first article on the topic that I got access to. But it seems that the writer of the article may have either added something in translation (from German to Swedish) or just added something wrong.

Another Swedish publication, Nyteknik, has also covered the article, and once again CTM has been kind enought o provide us with a translation:

According to information from GM, the new Saab 9-1 will be available as a hybrid from day one. The new smaller Saab goes into production after 2010. Saab in Trollhättan now wants all GM hybrid cars in Europe.

According to auto industry paper Automobilwoche, GM’s new Delta platform is being developed to accept a hybrid powertrain. The paper cites sources inside GM who state that both Opel Astra and Saab 9-1 from day one will be available as hybrids. This is especially important for the US market, where Saab is marketed under it’s own brand name while Opel Astra is marketed within the Saturn brand.

The Trollhättan plant is one of four plants in Europe to produce the smaller GM cars developed on the Delta platform. The others are located in the UK, Germany and Poland. GM has decided to invest about 4 billion USD to adapt the plants for the new platform.

There is no information yet about the breakdown of the investment between the factories, but either way most of it will be used to make production of hybrids possible. There is a big difference between a hybrid powertrain and powertrain with a more common engine. The batteries are one such thing.

The Trollhättan plant will not only build the Saab 9-1 on the Delta platform, and the people at Saab have their sights set on the hybrids.

– “We would love to take on the whole production of GM’s new hybrids in Europe,” said Stig Nordin, then Executive Director Technical Development, Saab Automobile, in an interview with Ny Teknik earlier this year.
– “Our strength is the flexibility. The engineers in Trollhättan have contributed with several key technologies in the development of the Delta platform’s hybrid capabilities.”

For some time now, there has been a mock-up of a lightly disguised Opel Astra hybrid at Saab’s hybrid center in Trollhättan. There, engineers have tried to fit the technology in the car. Thought has also gone into how the car will be produced.

– “Our production line can easily adjust to hybrid cars,” says Stig Nordin.
– “We have the knowledge and the capacity to do it. In a long-term perspective, I can see Trollhättan as a pure hybrid plant.”

The Delta platform is the first one that from the start has been developed for a hybrid powertrain with a compact combustion engine and a powerful electric engine. The developers target a modular construction, where the the combustion engine can be a diesel, petrol or ethanol engine depending on the market.

The electric motor is used when starting the car and in acceleration. Saab has also developed an extra motor for the rear axle as an option for those who want some more power. To store the energy, lithium-ion batteries using nano phosphors technology are used. They are more durable and fireproof than “ordinary” lithium-ion batteries.

A few days ago, Stig Nordin left Saab for a top position at the Italian auto maker Iveco. His successor is yet to be announced. But according to Christer Nilsson, Press Relations Manager at Saab Automobile, the work with hybrid technology continues in Trollhättan.

– “Absolutely. Saab and turbo and hybrids belongs together, and that is something you will see a lot of in the future.”

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3 Comments

  1. I think it’s a good thing that all the factories want to be in on hybrids – part of the GM-UAW agreement was a commitment to build the Volt (also delta platform I think) near Detroit starting in 2010: AutoblogGreen

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