Posted by: motorvationsaab | April 10, 2013

SAAB,NEVS and Hybrid Technology!

 Saab 9-3 E PowerThis Monday a representative from Saabs United conducted a phone interview with NEVS Vice President Mattias Bergman. During the conversation they discussed hybrid technology and in this interview he elaborated on several issues. I have given a summary below of the primary matters of interest to Saab owners.

Is NEVS considering Hybrid Drive?

On that question Mattias said YES, but no decision on who the supplier will be or if it will be built in-house has yet been taken. Right now NEVS is looking at the big picture of the Phoenix based car, in other words what targets the car needs to reach in order to succeed. That hybrid drive is one of them is now confirmed. He pointed out that future cars will have to be guided by emission regulations and requirements by customer groups that could be even tougher than legislation such as company car policies as an example. Its not only to get the car to qualify for legislative demands, one must also meet the demands of such groups as company car requirements.Hybrid Drive

Will Hybrid drive be available on the current 9-3 version?

Since the life span of this car will be extended a few years, no major design changes will be made since these are expensive and take time. Implementing such a big design change into the current 9-3 would require a new crash-test approval and could take as much as a full year of development. The extension of the 9-3′s lifespan is relative to both technology / design upgrades and most significantly due to geography. The 9-3 being a somewhat unknown car in China is clearly a good selling point for NEVS in that region. There are different types of hybrid drives one can consider, a company like Ferrari is of course focusing on a performance driven drive while others are thinking mainly of range. The differences are the types of batteries used but also the control-mechanism of the batteries.

Will the petrol-powered 9-3 and the EV-Cars share the same facelift?

The 9-3 will get a facelift that is based upon the EV1 but the EV1 will also differentiate it self somewhat to the gasoline range. The EV needs to look a bit different but also it won’t be too radical like a “moon-car”. Some of the facelift design-lines will be the same on both EV and ICE cars. The EV that NEVS will launch early next year is a car that meets todays requirements for everyday use.

Has the battery technology and design in terms of cell-structure been changed for cars in the light of what happened on the Boeing 787?

Regarding batteries there is a three step ladder which we are climbing: Step 1: existing proven technology which gives about 147 kW / kg of power, this is the system that will be implemented into the EV1, Step 2 and 3 is something that will reach future models. The development of batteries can be seen as the development of computer processors, they get more power and cheaper at the same time. A lot of the issues with batteries has to do with packaging, cooling and control-system, as well a consumer trust.  Mattias pointed out that when the Prius was launched some people were afraid of it since they thought the car would become conductive when it rained !

This is once again good news for Saab owners. Typically NEVS has remained tight lipped about their plans and progress. However the pattern that emerges is that when they do speak their plans are already developed and are not just speculative ideas. We look forward to the next few months.

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