Australian Saab 9-3 gets BioPower option – and pumps to fill it with!

I didn’t see this one coming!

Not only will the Saab 9-3 range here in Australia be boosted by the addition of BioPower models, buyers in Sydney and Melbourne are going to get E85 pumps to fill them with the high octane juice as well.

E85 on it’s way in Australia

Saab convertibleSaab Oz used the launch of the 2008 Saab 9-3 range to announce that United Petroleum would be setting up an E85 pump in both Sydney and Melbourne to cater for what it hopes is a growing biofuel market.

One pump in each of Australia’s two biggest cities doesn’t sound like much, but that’s 2 pumps more than were publicly available before, and it solidifies Saab’s decision to break the chicken-and-egg argument by providing the cars earlier this year when there was no E85 to run them on.

A spokesman for United, who was present at the launch, indicated that the pumps should come on line early in 2008 and will be placed fairly centrally in both cities, though no final location had been decided on as yet. The fuel is expected to come in at around $1.00 per litre.

The E85 fuel would be sourced from both Manildra Group and CSR. Manildra make their E85 from grain byproducts, and CSR make theirs from sugarcane byproducts.

Saab 9-3 BioPower

Here in Australia, the 2008 Saab 9-3 will initially get one BioPower engine, the 2.0t.

It will be available in two levels of trim, Linear and Vector, and it’ll be available in all three body styles (sedan, combi and convertible).

The 2.0t, when running on E85 produces an extra 18kW of power (147 vs 129 on dinojuice) and an extra 35 Nm of torque (300 vs 265). When running on E85 the car produces only 40 grams of fossil-based CO2 and even the very efficient diesel model produces 120 grams per km.

The BioPower option will cost buyers an extra $1,000 – and whilst that’s more than I’d like to see as a premium, it’s less than the original $1,500 premium they mentioned as a possibility earlier this year.

BioPower Pricing

Sport Sedan:

Linear 2.0t BioPower
M – $44,400
A – $46,900

Vector 2.0t BioPower
M – $50,900
A – $53,400

Sport Combi:

Linear 2.0t BioPower
M – $46,900
A – $49,400

Vector 2.0t BioPower
M – $53,400
A – $55,900


Linear 2.0t BioPower
M – $66,500
A – $69,000

Vector 2.0t BioPower
M – $70,600
A – $73,100



Saab and United are basing their decisions on the fact that now there’s cars in the market and pumps coming online, other manufacturers are likely to offer their E85 cars in Australia.

There’s a number of other brands that E85 capable vehicles, so it’ll be interesting to see which ones make it to market here.

Saab have taken the leadership stance on E85 here in Australia and should do everything they can to drive that point home. With BioPower coming online to join Saab’s regular petrol and diesel models (including the TTiD coming next year) they have a decent tri-fuel lineup available to provide maximum choice for the consumer.

It looks like Saab Oz will be continuing their carbon offset program for new and used cars, so I think they’ll be pushing their Grrrrreen credentials more in the future.

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  1. With Saab Oz investing in Greenfleet for each Saab sold in Australia and Saab Global (I’m assuming) deciding it’s worth their while to sell BioPower cars in Australia, I’d like to commend them in trying to do something real to curb global climate change. Kudos Saab! (but now give us a low-emissions biodiesel hybrid E-Flex variant 9X!) 😛

  2. Gripen i think you’ll be disappointed if you believe this kind of action will curb climate change.

    I’ll just be satisfied that its one less source of pollutant. The whole climate change argument (if you call it that because any debate on it is effectively stifled amongst the histeria) has turned into a religion and as we know religion is more based on faith and emotion than fact.

    Anyway, kudos to SAAB. This will get us by until the fuel cell. BTW SAAB get working on fuel cell, don’t get left behind.

  3. craig: They’re doing something to TRY to help curb climate change. I didn’t write that it would curb climate change.

    You’re going to be disappointed if you believe BMW’s and GM’s fuel cell hype. Hydrogen takes more energy to extract than it puts out. Talk about being energy-negative! “The only emission is pure water”. Sure, if you only look at the car’s tailpipe. Why not look at the emissions from the plant where they produce the hydrogen?

  4. Hi Gripen,

    The implication was there but it doesn’t matter as the effect is negligible in terms of Co2. The effect on overall pollution is more significant.

    Don’t believe i was referring specifically to BMW or GM on fuel cells or hydrogen for that matter.

    Fuel cells don’t need to be hydrogen based. You’re not suggesting the internal combustion engine is here to stay?

    BTW, ethanol has its energy ratio deficit as well which is expected to be reduced somewhat by new technology. This could certainly be the case with hydrogen in years to come. As much as i love to drive a good internal combust, their days are and should be numbered.

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