2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 05:39
Saab will also offer all of its models as BioPower versions in the future.
Even before the world premiere of the 9-3 at the Geneva Motor Show, we were able to test the latest bioethanol vehicle.
By Frank Mertens
The discussion about reducing CO emissions is a godsend for Saab. With its BioPower models, the Swedish car manufacturer, which belongs to the GM group, has been enjoying sales successes in its home country for a long time. BioPower vehicles account for more than 80 percent of the new 9-5 registrations. With a total of 10941 vehicles sold in the so-called “flex fuel” segment, Saab is the market leader in Sweden ahead of Ford (7237) and Volvo (6624).
Same price as conventional model
"The success of the 9-5 BioPower has encouraged us to transfer this environmentally friendly concept to the 9-3 series," said Saab Managing Director Jan Ake Jonsson at the presentation of the 9-3 BioPower series on the sidelines of the Geneva Motor Show. The 9-3 BioPower models will celebrate their market launch in Germany in late summer, as Saab spokesman Patrick Munsch said.
Against the background of the EU Commission's demand to reduce the CO2 reduction to 130 grams by 2012, Saab hopes for a further boost in sales for its bioethanol-powered vehicles. Saab will be offering the 9-5 BioPower in Germany at least until the middle of the year at the same price as the conventional model. For the customer this means a price advantage of 1000 euros. Munsch has not yet been able to say whether the marketing campaign that has been running since January has already influenced sales. "The time span is still too short for that, but we are of course expecting a lot from it in terms of sales."
CO2 compensation through the cultivation of biomass
However, the premium manufacturer has definitely achieved one thing with its BioPower models: it has positioned itself as an environmentally conscious car manufacturer. Because with a view to the finite nature of fossil fuels, Saab relies on renewable energies with its BioPower models. Bioethanol can be produced from a large number of renewable natural plants.
Correspondingly, the C02 emissions generated during the journey can be offset by the cultivation of biomass. "With our BioPower models, we are already facing the challenges that global warming poses to us today, not just in 20 years," said Saab Executive Director Knut Simonsson.
And the performance of the new 9-3 BioPower with its 1.8 liter turbo engine is quite decent, as our driving test before the official world premiere showed. Because it is filled with bioethanol E 85, the 1.8 liter engine has a 17 percent increase in output. Instead of 111 kW / 150 PS, the engine provides 129 kW / 175 PS due to the higher octane number (104 RON instead of 95 RON) of bioethanol. At the same time, the torque increases from 240 to 265 Nm compared to pure petrol operation.
The 9-3 accelerates from 0 to 100 km / h in 8.4 seconds. The intermediate sprint from 80 to 120 km / h is covered in 13.9 seconds. The 9-3 is not really dynamic, but you don't have to hide with it either, although other manufacturers with a smaller displacement have the same performance data. Be that as it may, the 9-3 does its job with great ease. However, anyone interested in this car should opt for the manual 5-speed gearbox. It does its job much better than the automatic, which needs something before it gets going.
Saving effect when refueling
Compared to the gasoline engine, however, the BioPower Saab consumes between 15 to 30 percent more, depending on the driving style. But with a view to the price of bioethanol - the liter currently costs between 82 and 86 cents - there is ultimately a saving effect for the owner at the gas station.
The number of bioethanol filling stations in Germany is currently still extremely low: there are just 80 stations where E85 or E50 can be refueled. However, the driver of a BioPower vehicle does not need to worry about getting stuck with his car. After all, you can only drive on petrol.
An expansion of the filling station network is only a matter of time. In France, for example, the government wants to install 500 bioethanol pumps this year. “The costs for the retrofitting are kept within limits. Expect costs of between 5000 and 10,000 euros per filling station,”says Munsch.
Combination with hybrid
Saab thinks ahead with the BioPower models. In Geneva, the Swedes are presenting a concept car that can be powered by E100, i.e. pure bioethanol. And the next step is to combine the E100 with a hybrid. «The advantages of this drive concept are obvious. We offer sporty driving performance with a balanced ecological balance,”says Simonsson.
With a view to the future, the BioPower motors offer another advantage, they offer the option of downsizing. So the use of engines with less cubic capacity and thus even lower consumption.
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