Neat two-motor soft-top first victim of GM Saab sale?
9-3 Convertible gets battery treatment
Leccy Tech GM's decision to wind down Saab puts the subsidiary's e-car development plans in doubt. Which is a bugger, because Saab's effort looked rather good.
Rather than than cook up some dull-as-dishwater leccy city car, those crazy Swedes opted for a twin-motor 250kW (335bhp), 115mph two-door convertible that could hit 60mph in around 6.5 seconds.
That's the sort of thinking we like here at Register Hardware.
Saab's ZE 9-3: utterly lovely?
The car is called the ZE Saab 9-3 and is essentially an electric version of the ageing but still utterly lovely 9-3 Convertible.
The project is the work of group of companies including Saab, US battery maker Boston-Power, Swedish power train developer Electro Engine and Power Circle - Sweden’s electric power industry trade organisation - who have come together to “fuel the advancement of zero-emission, high performance vehicles”.
The fact that this isn't just a Saab project gives us hope the ZE may yet see light of day.
The development of the ZE is being funded to the tune of 86m Kroner (£7.4m/€8.2m/$12m) by a grant from the Swedish Energy Agency.
The first prototype is powered by a 26kWh li-ion battery pack giving it a range of around 150km (90m) but, according to Boston Power, future models will sport higher-capacity power packs giving a range closer to 185 miles.
Only 100 examples of the ZE 9-3 were planned to be produced for lease to selected customers. We hope they still will. ®
Are they serious at all?
During the whole automotive industry crash, all the American firms pledged to develop leccy cars and change the way they're operating. (I think GM had the great homepage slogan "This isn't a bailout for failure, but an investment for success!", all in green.) Now the banks are in hot water and the attention has shifted, first Crysler and now GM have mothballed their eCar projects.
When will these guys realise that innovation is required, and they need to move with the times! Their business model is flawed, no that's not right, I mean FUBAR, and they need to SORT THEIR SH!T OUT! They can complain about imports, unions, and a recession all they like, but if they build crap that noone wants to drive, guzzling a gazillion litres a mile, they're going to go bust no matter what.
*breathe in* *breathe out*
Think I'm done here...
I think the market is saturated before these hit the streets. Until charging and range problems are solved, all of these e-cars need a tiny diesel charging generator. Nothing big like the Volt - just something that can quietly work while the car is parked outside. As a generator, the diesel motor could operate at peak efficiency and take advantage of emissions controls that require high temperature exhaust. When close to home the generator won't be needed at all.
I don't see any environmental friendliness in needing to buy one long-range car and one short-range car.
The problem with Leccy
Is that it needs a big lead.
This is ok if you are a motoring journalist and live in the Cotswolds and have a big garage with a power outlet.
Those of us who work in IT and rent affordable slums do not have this luxury. Half the time I cannot get parked near the door, and assuming I did, would have to keep the front door / window open to run a power lead out, whilst some burglar sneaks in and steals my Xbox360 (only for them to get suspended community service and counselling, but if I were to defend by property, nuLabour would throw me in jail and throw away the key cf: Tony Martin, but that's another rant for another day).
Even assuming that you get a power lead out, you will have the feral youths pulling the plug out so you're left with no charge in the morning, or someone is guaranteed to trip over it, sprain an ankle, and sue you via ClaimsDirect such that you can't afford the monthly payments for your leccymobile.
The alternative of filling up at a filling station is also useless, as I don't have 8 hours to fill it up every 90 miles.
The real alternative is in Hydrogen power / Nuclear Fusion.