SAAB Concepts

Unveiling the Saab EV-2: The Secret Prototype Behind the 900 NG

Revealed at Last: The Saab EV-2 and Its Pivotal Role in the Evolution of the 900 NG

Conceptual design model of the Saab EV-2, the secret prototype that inspired the Saab 900 NG.

Introduction to a Hidden Gem

The Saab EV-2, a previously unknown prototype, has remained shrouded in secrecy for nearly 35 years. This concept was the foundational step toward the development of the Saab 900 NG, marking a significant chapter in Saab’s history that has only recently come to light. The discovery of this model unveils a crucial transition in Saab’s design philosophy, shifting from their traditional models to a future-focused vision.

The Genesis of the EV-2 Concept

In the mid-1980s, Saab introduced the EV-1 at the IAA in Frankfurt, a concept supercar that represented a radical departure from its existing design ethos. The EV-1 was not just a showpiece but also a harbinger of the brand’s future direction, combining Saab’s distinctive DNA with avant-garde Aero Design elements.

Following the debut of the EV-1, Björn Envall, Saab’s then head of design, immediately initiated the secretive EV-2 project, enlisting designer Geoff Wardle to evolve the EV-1’s aesthetic into what would eventually inform the Saab 900.

Advanced concept model created by Björn Envall and Geoff Wardle, crafted at Stola in 1985, previously undisclosed.
Advanced concept model created by Björn Envall and Geoff Wardle, crafted at Stola in 1985, previously undisclosed.

The Development and Secrecy of EV-2

The EV-2 prototype, developed without formal planning or approval from Saab’s management, was a bold move by the design team. This project was quickly scaled up in collaboration with Stola (now Studio Torino), utilizing the ‘Type 4’ platform from the Saab 9000. The prototype was meticulously crafted to avoid any potential leaks that could lead to plagiarism, underscoring the highly confidential nature of the project.

The SmartBack Program and Project 102

By 1988, with the design approved, Saab’s design team expanded their vision through the SmartBack program, a modular vehicle initiative. This led to the creation of several 1/5th scale models under “Project 102,” which laid the groundwork for the future Saab 900 NG. This phase of development featured a series of designs and models, including a widely circulated black and white photo of a model from this project, which was mistakenly identified as the EV-2 in historical documents due to deliberate obfuscations by Saab.


Saab Smartback Concept
Saab Smartback Concept

The Legacy and Impact of the EV-2

The story of the EV-2 and its influence on the Saab 900 NG is a testament to Saab’s innovative spirit and its impact on automotive design. The unveiling of this prototype helps to correct historical records and provides a clearer understanding of the design evolution at Saab. The EV-2 was not merely a conceptual exercise but a pivotal project that shaped the future of the company in profound ways.

Saab-EV-1
Saab-EV-1

In summary, the Saab EV-2 prototype was a landmark project that played a critical role in transitioning Saab into a new era. Its recent discovery allows us to appreciate the intricate journey of automotive innovation and the secretive processes that sometimes go unnoticed in the industry. This revelation not only enriches the history of Saab but also underscores the importance of protecting intellectual property in a highly competitive field.

10 Comments

    • Also seen as a background extra in Back to the Future 2, one of the biggest blockbuster movies of the day; so maybe not as big of an undiscovered secret as implied ;-) .

  • Time always has a factor on prototype design. I have seen the EV-1 at the museum and would love to see this there as well

  • Same as woth any other car manufacturing company ev don’twork ans are not an alternative to ice cars inconvenient, expensive, badfor the environmentans all part of a greater world government scheme to restrict freedom, saab is luckilynot around to be as stupidas most greedy manufacturers

    • I miss Saab so much I have a Saab 93 aero V6 2007 cherish it forever I only drive it once in awhile because I drive Honda as a every day cars.

    • Saab’s EV is nothing to do with electric cars. Here it just means experimental vehicle. Stop being so triggered.

  • So which model does Smartback Concept actually affect? For me it doesn’t close to any model that ever released.

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