In its long history of existence and development, Saab has presented a large number of interesting concept cars and technological innovations. Here are just a few of the more well-known concept cars: The “Saab Fjord” Concept based on the Saab 9000, Saab 9000 Coupe Concept, ”Saab Viking” concept or Saab 9-X Air, and among the last concepts we mentioned was Ethanol Powered Saab Diesel Car (in fact, this is the concept of the BSR company, but it was performed on the Saab diesel platform).
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BioPower Hybrid concept
During the last decade of its existence, Saab has been dealing with concepts with alternative fuels, especially ethanol – as a renewable energy choice and they called them BioPower concepts. One of those concepts was the BioPower Hybrid concept that combined ethanol-powered and electric propulsion. In neighboring Sweden, ethanol cars are widespread, and in parts of the country, the majority of Saabs sold are so-called BioPower cars.
The commitment to ethanol is no wonder in Sweden, because ethanol cars are widespread, and in parts of the country, the majority of Saabs sold are so-called BioPower cars. These cars can be run on regular petrol, but also on a mixture of petrol and alcohol called E85.
The exciting concept car Saab BioPower Hybrid concept that was shown 2006 at the car show in Stockholm can also be run on regular petrol, or it can be run on pure bioethanol – E100 – that was World’s First Fossil-free Hybrid Vehicle. Ethanol is a renewable but limited source of energy based on alcoholic sources from plants and trees.
The engine was a two-liter turbo engine that produced 260 horsepower and delivered 375 Nm. Packing formidable pulling power from its 260 hp (191 kW) 2.0-liter turbo BioPower engine and 53 kW electric motors, the BioPower Hybrid Concept in the Saab 9-3 can briefly generate torque values three times greater than its gasoline-only equivalent.
It retains a flex-fuel capability and features a Spark Ignited Direct Injection (SIDI) system for optimum combustion with E100; ensuring the same cold starting performance as a normal gasoline engine. Variable inlet and exhaust cam phasing is used for optimum breathing and more durable valves and valve seats are fitted, together with bioethanol-compatible materials for the fuel system.
Two electric motors
In this concept, Without disturbing the luggage space or other parts of the interior, Saab got space for two electric motors and a battery. One electric motor was a 15 kilowatt starter motor located between the gearbox and the motor. It works mainly with starting, and means, among other things, that the internal combustion engine can be stopped completely when the car is stationary.
The second and larger electric motor of 38 kW is located between the rear wheels, and ensures rear-wheel drive. For short periods, these two electric motors can deliver a full 786 Nm of extra torque, and with the help of these, the concept car starts reasonably quick, 0-100 km/h should be completed in 6.9 seconds. Also at intermediate accelerations, the rear electric motor helps well with 666 Nm over short periods.
Saab 9-3 BioPower Hybrid Convertible
It is probably no coincidence that Saab has chosen to showcase this exciting hybrid solution in an attractive convertible 9-3. In practice, the solution could be used in all cars from the Saab factory at the time.
, and although the technology on both ethanol operation and the start / stop engine at the gearbox is relatively accessible, it will probably take some time for the electric motor between the rear wheels and especially the cooperation between the three different engine is fully developed. The cost of using lithium batteries is also a bit too high for production cars as it is today.
And, although the technology on both ethanol operation and the start/stop engine at the gearbox is relatively accessible at that time, it took Saab engineers a little more time to fully develop this technology, but unfortunately the company ran into financial problems that escalated into bankruptcy.
Saab ahead of its time
Anyway, this project allowed Saab engineers to evaluate and explore the potential of hybrid technology in combination with BioPower. And as far as we can see now, most of today’s companies are switching to hybrid and electric propulsion, which tells us that Saab was on a very good track back then.