Making its world premiere at the Paris International Auto Show later this month, the Saab 9-3 ePower is the prototype for a test fleet of 70 vehicles which will participate in field trials in Sweden early next year. This all-electric wagon represents an important step forward in Saab's pursuit of delivering cleaner and sustainable mobility solutions. The cars will be evaluated under a variety of real-world driving conditions, with targets to be verified including a projected driving range of approximately 125 miles through the use of high-density energy storage in lithium-ion battery cells.
The Saab ePower is the first electric vehicle from Saab and is a result of a co-operation between Saab Automobile, Boston Power (batteries), Electroengine in Sweden AB (electric power trains), Innovatum (project management) and Power Circle (Sweden's electric power industry trade organization).
Under the hood of the 9-3 is a 184hp electric motor driving the front wheels through a single-speed transmission. Instant torque enables 0-62mph acceleration in just 8.5 seconds, together with a top speed of 93mph.
The compact yet powerful 35.5kWh lithium-ion battery pack is accommodated in a modified floorpan, in a space occupied by the exhaust system and fuel tank on the standard 9-3 SportWagon. This allows optimum weight distribution and driving dynamics.
Inside the cabin, a conventional, automatic-style gearshift lever selects 'drive', 'neutral', 'park' and 'reverse'. The rev-counter, fuel and turbo-boost displays in the main instrument cluster are replaced by read-outs for battery status, power consumption and driving range. To optimize space, an electric park brake is fitted. Electro-hydraulic power steering is used and the cabin is equipped with full air- conditioning, via a compressor powered by the battery pack. A separate 12-volt battery, for the lights and cabin ancillaries, is also charged from the battery pack via a current transformer
The operation of the vehicle's powertrain is controlled by a version of Saab's own in-house Trionic 8 engine management system, with new software written for an electric vehicle application.
The battery pack is intended to support re-charge cycles equivalent to 10 years average use. It can be fully recharged from a domestic mains supply in 3-6 hours, depending on depletion status. Charging times can be greatly reduced if the voltage of the electrical feed is raised, as there is no limitation on the battery's input capacity. Its lithium-ion battery cells are also the first to receive a Nordic Ecolabel accreditation for their environmental safety and sustainability, which includes manufacturing processes. The 9-3 ePower meets the crash standards that Saab applies to all its vehicles. The car's power pack is located outside the occupant compartment in non-deformable structural zones, well protected and encapsulated. The battery management and monitoring system supports safe performance during normal driving and in crash conditions.