Saab E85 from Nordic with great mileage

This is Jörgen’s Saab:

Nordic E85

Jörgen’s car is a 2004 Saab 9-3 Convertible. But it’s not just that. As you can see, there’s some Nordic graphic work on the side there. This convertible is also a beta test model for Nordic’s latest E85 tune for the Saab 9-3.

This is a ‘conversion’ tune. That means that the car is originally a gasoline model that can now run efficiently on E85. I’m unsure as to how long it’ll be before it comes to market, but here’s what Jörgen told me about it via email…..

    – He’s put 1,000km on since starting the ethanol conversion trial.

    – Thanks to Nordic’s special E85 tune and the Ferrita exhaust he’s had fitted, he’s now getting around 260hp.

    – This is a tune only, no specialised E85 parts have been fitted.

That’s all very good, but here’s the exciting bit:

    – Jörgen’s also averaging around 12 litres per 100 kilometers travelled, which is just a touch more than what I use in my Viggen here in Hobart – on 98oct gasoline.

    – His best mileage so far has been on a flat highway at 94 km/h where he attained 9 litres per 100km.

This Nordic tune provides similar real-world mileage figures to Saab’s own, which are most likely quoting gasoline figures. Saab Sweden don’t provide separate E85 mileage figures for their BioPower vehicles. The website gives just gives one figure, which you would have to assume to be gasoline (have a look at the gasoline and BioPower model’s mileage figures – awfully similar). As you know, running on E85 typically encounters a mileage reduction that can be up to 30%.

With Jörgen getting similar mileage to what I get in my Viggen around the hills of Hobart, I’d say Nordic are doing a pretty good job on this.


Apparently, this tune is still in beta at the moment and I don’t have any indication as to when it might be released.

This sounds like great news, but I’d love to hear more from Nordic about whether they consider changing out fuel lines, injectors etc to be part of the final product. Saab’s BioPower vehicles have several parts changed due to the different nature of the fuel. Hopefully we’ll hear more about this as the beta test progresses.

Remember, Nordic do have distribution in the US as well, so this may be something that US customers can access in the future – just do your homework about it first, OK?

Click here to visit Nordic’s website.

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  1. What I don´t understand is that Saab has to replace quite a lot of gaskets and so on to make engine E85 compatible, how can tuners do it with software only? I wonder if it will last, let´s say like 15 years and 300000km´s?

  2. Agree with Marko, Saab is changing a lot of parts due to the corrosive nature of the E85, it would only make sense if the same changes were necessary on any car driving on E85. I do not think it will take a long time for petrol pumps, valves, gaskets and whotnot will start to break down, without warranty coverage no less. Enjoy the extra horses as long as it lasts.

  3. Although, at the same time, this is a technology which is relatively untested in the “real world”. Remember that Saab also has to make sure that their customers don’t put E85 in a stock vehicle. The easiest way to do that is to emphasize all of the expensive changes required to run E85. The biggest differences in E85 vehicles are higher flow fuel pumps, different filters, and larger injectors. This could possibly be faked by pulsing the injectors longer. I’m still not entirely sure about not changing the pump and filter, but I don’t see why it shouldn’t last for the durration of the factory warranty.

  4. 9l/100km at 94 km/h? That’s roughly 30% more than I get with my 2002 (7l/100km).
    The overall average is also roughly 20% higher, although that number depends more on driving style than the 94 km/h number.

  5. The fuelpump is one thing that might be stressed by an increase in workload. But a better capacity pump would not be expensive to fit. The Injectors works fine for the amount of power the car has. Todays gasoline at least in Sweden consists of 15-20% ethanol so todays gasoline powered cars do have systems that can handle ethanol.
    The car runs great and starts up easily even when the temperatures reaches down to freezing point. I will put the car in the garage in a few weeks time before the put salt on the roads. A rustfree california car should not be out in the winter. My 9-5 Troll R will provide pransport while waiting for the Springtime in Sweden (a name used by SAAB for a limited edition convertible in 1988).

  6. Bernard,
    You miss out on the fact that E85 is aprox. 30 % less powerful than Gasoline. But the octane ins higher aprox. 104.
    So the actual cost of running the car is aprox. 15-20 % lower than on gasoline!

  7. Clearification:
    Should not be that E85 is less powerful. The energy content is lower. The good thing with E85 is the fact that large amounts of oxygen (the usage of turbocharger) is ideal for getting very good performance out of the SAAB engine.

    E85 + Turbocharger + intercooler + tuned engine management = awesome performance + environmental friendliness + less dependency on oil from countries with shall we say other views on a wide range of issues.

  8. Glad to hear about the 15% to 20% ethanol in Sweden.

    Minnesota has passed a law that mandates a shift from E10 to E20 in 2013. The official SAAB/GM line in the U.S. (just asked) is that E20 is not supported for warranty purposes.

  9. Jörgen,

    doesn’t the actual cost of running the car depend on the price difference between gas and ethanol (which is not constant) ?

    Sweden may have given some tax benefits for ethanol at the moment, but I wouldn’t put my money on E85 being cheaper in the long run, as the demand for ethanol increases – and the taxman gets more involved.

    Also, personally, I don’t find the choice between Middle-east oil and sugar/corn-based E85 ethically so straightforward, either.

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