Saab and Volvo to co-operate in plug-in hybrid project

From Autoblog Green.

Saab introduced their BioPower Hybrid concept vehicle at the Stockholm Motor Show in March 2006. It didn’t get a whole lot of mainstream coverage, largely because it was hot on the heels of the Aero-X appearing at Geneva just a few weeks before.

There were several interesting things about that concept car, though. Firstly, it was the first hybrid concept ever shown in a Convertible body. Second, it combined a hybrid drivertrain with a BioPower engine running on 100% ethanol and featured a “zero mode” for full electric propulsion for short trips.

But the most interesting thing about the BioPower Hybrid concept is something that you won’t find in the Saab press releases. It was also a plugin hybrid. The original press release for the vehicle was updated at the last minute and the plugin nature of the car was removed from the updated version, most likely to tone down the feature due to the Chevy Volt, which was GM’s new enviro-hero-in-development. The full story is summarised here.

That’s all old news now (but I like to repeat it anyway).

The new news is this report out of Sweden (and in Swedish) saying that Saab and Volvo are both going to participate in a plug-in hybrid project that will see 10 vehicles out on the road in Sweden for evaluation in just over a year from now.

The project is seeking government funding to assist with research and development in order to “demonstrate what a simple customer-attractive total solution for plugin-hybrids could look like”. It seems the news story has been gathered from information recorded on the funding application.

It was recently reported that hybrid vehicles are definitely in the Saab’s future and it seems that this project will likely play into those plans. The next Delta platform, which will underpin the future Saab 9-1, has been designed with hybrid capability from the ground up.

There are two other companies involved in the collaboration in addition to Saab and Volvo. These are Vattenfall AB, a power company, and ETC AB, who work with batteries and fuel cells.

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1 Comment

  1. This is very strange news to me. It amounts to a Ford/GM partnership. Also, with all companies being involved being Swedish it seems more a regional program than a company-wide one.

    GM (and I’m sure Ford) consolidates its hybrid development and doesn’t have each of its marques independently using R&D funds to develop hybrid drivetrains.

    This story just seems wrong somehow…

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