Saab BioPower Hybrid Concept Preview – 2007 Detroit Auto Show: Car buyer, meet the future, Saab-style, with a bio-power hybrid 9-3 Convertible that promises to run cleaner, faster and, frankly, better than anything currently on the road. Of course, you won’t find the Saab concept on dealer lots, either, but you will find it in Detroit at the 2007 Auto Show, with a nudge, a wink and promise for future development.
Bio-ethanol we know about, thanks to the PR efforts of Congress, the White House, Iowa farmers and domestic automakers. What makes this bio-power concept unique, however, is the idea that it can run on any percentage of ethanol with a boost from three electric motors. It’s also the first front-drive adaptation of GM’s two-mode hybrid system, the one they’ve been working on with Chrysler and BMW. In terms of future clean skies, acceptable performance and fuel efficiency, the Saab BioPower Hybrid Concept matters very much indeed.
The Saab BioPower Hybrid Concept is significantly more powerful than a regular ‘ol internal combustion 9-3 convertible, thanks in part to the type of fuel it uses. Increased concentrations of ethanol make for better performance, and the Saab BioPower Hybrid’s engine is a 2.0-liter turbo that can run on any mix all the way up to “E100,” or 100 percent ethanol. It’s pretty much the same engine currently used in Sweden to propel the Saab 9-5 2.0t BioPower. This concept iteration takes that engine and ups the ethanol to 100 percent capability, boosting performance to 260 horsepower and 277 lb.-ft of torque. The E100 fuel is ignited by a Spark Ignited Direct Injection (SIDI) system.
Saab’s BioPower engine joins up with the Two-Mode power system being developed by GM, Chrysler and BMW. It’s called Two-Mode due to the high- and low-speed electric continuously variable transmission (ECVT). The technology combines two electric motors, four fixed gears and six operating functions within a single transmission housing, enabling fossil fuel-free operation, more torque and better fuel economy thanks to the full-hybrid style of starting, stopping and “Zero Mode” city driving. Part of the groundbreaking nature of this technology is also its increased load carrying capacity, making it ideal for less fuel-efficient vehicles such as SUVs and trucks. The Two-Mode Hybrid system modeled in the Saab BioPower Hybrid Concept will make its production debut in the Saturn VUE Greenline for the 2008 model year.
General Motors says “the Saab BioPower Hybrid Concept is designed to deliver enhanced performance and valuable energy savings. The concept enriches driving appeal while also moving further toward the goal of sustainable mobility.”
The merging of these two types of technology – ethanol power and electric mobility – makes for a promising hybrid powertrain. But what’s most exciting about the Saab BioPower Hybrid Concept is the Two-Mode Hybrid technology. No matter what type of fuel, a Two-Mode Hybrid system like the one showcased in the Saab BioPower Hybrid Concept could one day significantly decrease vehicle emissions and increase fuel economy, while improving performance.