These days we don’t hear much about Saab anymore, a company perhaps better known for Aircraft manufacturing, Saab has been slowly dropping out of the spotlight in the last few years. The new SAABs, powered by Subaru’s WRX engine and drive train are good to make an impact, but whilst that is happening, Saab have brought the Saab BioPower cars to Australia.
The Saab BioPower, an ethanol powered version of the Saab 9-5 vehicle, is capable of running on E85 (85 per cent ethanol fuel) or petrol, in any combination, from the one fuel tank. The car is also able to with petrol alone if ethanol is not available.
“Saab is currently a step ahead of the industry. BioPower is a market-ready ethanol powered vehicle that we want to launch in Australia as soon as possible. Anecdotally we have had extremely positive feedback to our plans to sell BioPower in Australia. Visitors to our stand at the Australian International Motor Show expressed a willingness to invest in BioPower despite E85 not being available yet and we have been contacted by a number of ethanol producers who can’t wait to get their hands on the vehicles.” Director Saab Australia and New Zealand, Parveen Batish said.
Although the Saab Vehicles have already shown their capability in Europe, Saab Biopower vehicles still have to prove themselves down under, so Saab has stated that the vehicles will be ready for loan to media, government, industry and fleets for real-world evaluation testing. Nonetheless, the enthusiasm for the cars is so high that the Biopowered Saabs are already scheduled to join the fleets of the QLD Government.
“Saab Australia has recognised the Queensland Government’s commitment to promoting the use of ethanol blended fuels among motorists and our leadership in building up this burgeoning industry. Presently most motor vehicles in Australia are compatible with ethanol blended fuels up to 10%. However, blended fuels are here to stay and based on overseas trends E85 will be the next step.
“The Beattie Government is championing +e fuels in Queensland and the opportunity to partner with Saab Australia will demonstrate to the automotive industry and the community that this is a fuel for the future.” Minister for State Development John Mickel.
So why bother? What the benefits of running a car that can easily get around on E85 fuel? Well Saab estimates that drivers can reduce their fossil fuel carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by up to 80% compared to conventional vehicles. Furthemore, bioethanol is made from natural compounds such as crops or forest residue and the CO2 released by the vehicles is better absorbed by the atmosphere by the photosynthesis of the crops grown to produce the fuel.
So what other types of incentives are there to buy a BioPowered Saab? Well in Ireland constumers of the new bio-fuel car were rewarded by the Irish government with a new tax benefit equal to a €6,000 refund on a 9-5 BioPower. So what the catch? Its slow right? Not at all!
The Saab 2.3t BioPower puts out approximately 154 kW and 310 Nm of torque on E85, up from 136kW and 280 Nm on normal fuel whilst the 2.0t BioPower gives around 132 kW (up 22kW from Petrol powered version) and 280 Nm (up 40Nm from petrol powered version). However it is still not confirmed if Australia will infact recieve the 2.3t version, the 2.0t version is alreay here.
“In a truly Saab approach to problem solving, it has engineered the BioPower Trionic engine management system to deliver better performance when running on E85. Ethanol also has a higher octane (104) than petrol which helps Saab BioPower generate up to 20 per cent more power and 16 per cent more torque than when driven on pure petrol.”
It would be great for the QLD government or the federal government to give a similar tax benefit incentive for buyers of environmentally friendly cars such as the Saab!