Interview Saab Talks Electric 93 newmotormag com

27 Фев 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Interview Saab Talks Electric 93 newmotormag com отключены
Saab Electric Cars

Interview: Saab Talks Electric 9-3

Saab’s back! Well, not quite yet, but they made the news last year when the skeletal remains of the once proud Swedish marque where purchased by National Electric Vehicles Sweden (NEVS), which is in turn owned primarily by National Modern Energy Holdings. NME Holdings sounds like a generic, made-up name (a place where Wile E. Coyote might work) but it’s a real live business, as they are also the majority owner of State Power Group, a renewable clean energy company in Beijing. When the sale was made, the plan was to release an electric version of the 9-3 in eighteen months.

We’re about halfway along that timeline, so we sat down (virtually, on two different continents) with Saab Public Relations Officer Mikael Östlund to discuss where they are. We’ve got it all on tape (8-track, actually) and it runs close to thirty minutes, but here’s the nutshell:

The factory in Trollhättan (along with the skilled workforce and supply chain network) was one of the main reasons NME Holdings purchased Saab, as starting from scratch was more costly. About 200 people in Trollhättan (

130 NEVs employees plus consultants, many former Saab engineers) are currently working and more are expected to be hired as production begins. It’s impossible to say whether most of the former employees will be re-hired as it depends upon product demand

Saab has purchased the intellectual property rights for the entire 9-3 line — sedan, convertible, wagon, and four-wheel-drive. They have not announced what body style their first electric vehicle will be. In any case, NEVS expects that 80% of the parts of the gas-engined 9-3 will be re-used in the electric 9-3.

There may be minor changes, but NEVS hopes to leverage the existing design as much as possible.

The 9-5 and 9-4 were too big for conversion to electric. Additionally, the IP rights to those vehicles still belong to General Motors.

Saab is looking at the feasibility of re-releasing a gas-engined 9-3. The motors of the last 9-3s were GM motors, so Saab if will need to source a motor from GM or someone else to make this happen.

Battery technology will come from Japan and will be manufactured by a sister company Beijing National Battery Technology. Current versions of the battery that will be used in the Saab are Li-Ion and rated at 146Wh/kg.

NEVs has reached an agreement with the Chinese city of Qingdao to be the port of entry for Saabs built in Trollhättan and sold to the Chinese market. Furthermore, once Trollhättan reaches capacity, a Saab plant will be built in Qingdao to serve the Chinese market. The City of Qingdao (via the Qindao Qinbo Investment Co.

Ltd.) is a 22 percent stakeholder in NEVS.

While Saab is studying the feasibility of re-releasing the gas-engined 9-3, but this is secondary in importance to the electric 9-3. There are no current plans to develop a hybrid.

Saab Electric Cars

Saab’s goal is to be a global brand again, but their initial focus will be on the Chinese market, as the Chinese government is moving aggressively to address pollution issues, see electric vehicles as part of that solution, and are developing the charge point infrastructure to spur growth. Fleet sales to companies and governments (see Qingdao, above) will be a large part of the early growth strategy. Östlund also mentioned the importance of the US market to Saab’s plans.

Saab wants to re-establish themselves as a premium brand, but not at the luxury level like Tesla or Fisker. In China, Saab wants to be a viable option for the growing middle class.

Saab has reached out to former Saab dealers letting them know that they are planning an electric car. They have not finalized their go to market strategy and thus have not entered into formal relationships with any dealers.

NEVS also purchased the IP rights to the PhoeniX platform for future vehicles.

The full phone interview (around 30 minutes) is available below. Worth a listen if you are a real Saab fan.

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State Power Group (NEVS sibling compan):

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