Saab Sweden may go all BioPower/Diesel

The Swedish sales figures for October 2007 speak for themselves.

Of all the Saabs sold in Sweden during October, 80% of the Saab 9-3 models sold were BioPower vehicles and a whopping 87% of all the Saab 9-5s sold were BioPower models.

Of the remaining vehicles, the vast majority of them would have been diesels.

Jan-Ake Jonsson gave a presentation at the Australian launch of the Saab 9-3 today and during this presentation, he mentioned that one scenario Saab Sweden are looking at is making all Saabs sold there either BioPower or Diesel models. This would mean that there would be no gasoline-only models sold, that gasoline use would be left to the BioPower vehicles, which run efficiently on 100% gasoline.

The issue that would need to be resolved in this scenario is that of the V6 engine in the 9-3 Aero. This engine does not have a BioPower option available at present. Jan-Ake Jonsson was non-committal about a possible BioPower variant for the V6 in the near future, but stated that the V6 Aero currently makes up a very small portion of Saab sales in the Swedish market.


The video and audio on which this story is based will be published in the next few days.

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  1. It’s interesting because earlier this week I read one of our Swedish commenters here (sorry I don’t remember this friend’s name) mentioned that he opted for the gasoline version of his new Saab after seeing a friend’s atrocious fuel economy with a BioPower 9⁵ Combi towing a trailer (“caravan”) running on E85. So at least one of the Swedish Saab owners who visit this ‘blog would choose the gasoline version over the BioPower and diesel variants.

    Due to the low sales numbers on the V6 Aero in Sweden they may opt to make that variant for-export-only. Someone else here in comments (sorry, again I forget who) who is apparently much more technically-savvy than I pointed-out that the reason Saab has so far failed to be able to make a BioPower version of the Holden-produced V6 engine is because it lacks direct-ignition. The notoriously fragile direct-ignition cassette monitors ions in the arc of the spark plugs and can detect detonation, then the Trionic 7 (the V6 has Trionic 8 ) system can adjust engine parameters to avoid detonation. Saab pioneered this idea, as mentioned deep (do a “find in page” search for “Saab”) in this several-years-old (I believe) article on BMW taking the idea and expanding on it for their M5. The D.I. Cassette replaced the knock sensor which was previously used for the same purpose on older Saabs like my ’85 900T.

  2. Grip,

    Most people I know who own an 85-car gasp at the consumption.
    My coworker said “in my V70 I refueled every 700km, now every 350!” (my08 9-3 2.0T)

    Let’s continue using him as a reference.

    Last I road a taxi, it was a 9-5. The cab driver said that the economy for him was the same regadless of which fuel he uses, but driving the 9-5 Bio allows him to not have to pay the congestion charges.

    And there you have it: most people buy an E85 car to avoid the congestion charges (max 10 USD/day) then fuel using what they feel gives the best economy.
    Most Saab-owners however have yet another aspect in that equation: more Hp under E85.
    So, most people I know use “whatever is cheapest” during the weeks, then use E85 when they want to have fun.

    So, what is the consumption under E85? Well, let’s do that backwards, using what the cab driver told me as a starting point.
    If a 9-5 was to use 12l/100 km using dead dinosaurs, that would roughly be SEK 138/100 km (current road price SEK 11,50 per litre).
    RE85 costs 7.85, making it 17,6l/100 km.


    There are some driver sthat donät do the above; those are the ones that feel that using E85 contributes in real terms to the decrease of CO2 in the atmosphere. Those drivers will use E85 all the time.

    Then there’s winter: in Sweden, most pumps sell what really is E70 as “E85” when the winter stikes. How that affects consumption is not clear to me yet, but… I… think… it… will… not… be… cheaper…

    The bit above where I said that Saab drivers have an additional parameter in the equation is important, coz it’s Saab’s way of making sure their drivers really fill up using E85, and not dead dinos.
    Comparing with a Ford-flexifuel (Volvo etc), where they use the extra octane in E85 to lower the consumption while using E85, is not as clever, as chances are that more Flexifuel drivers fill up using deadosaurus than BioPower drivers.

    So what will I do? I think I’ll use E85 when I can, and canned flesh only when I can’t. Why? Coz I believe E85 helps – even though it’s harvested in brazil using trucks using dirty diesel. But what’s used to harvest gasoline, I ask?
    Is E85 in itself a reason I chose a Saab? Not really. In fact, the congestion charges in Stockholm, and finding a way to avoid those was more important, and even more was the fact that my employer’s lease-plan is more aggressive with an alternative fueled car.

    I think that I represent a large portion of swedes in how my decission was taken.

  3. Funny, Saab might only sell diesels or E85, neither of which are offered in the US.

    Doesn’t that tell you something about how far behind the US is?

  4. That is funny, I didn’t think of that, joemama.

    A lot of things seem weird when in a few years we won’t be able to buy a Saab made in Sweden. We’ll get a 9³ or 9⁵ from the Opel plant in Russelsheim, Germany, a 9³ ‘vert from Graz, Austria, or a 9⁴X crossover made in Mexico. Sure, the 9¹ will be made in Sweden, but that’s not expected until 2011 at the earliest.

    They might as well make the 9³ Aero in Mexico as well if it’s primarily sold in the U.S. 🙁

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