The unveiling of the 9-3 EV – one of a series of prototypes built in May – marks the beginning of the next phase in NEVS’ plan to mass-produce an electric model based on the old Saab 9-3.
The 9-3 EV prototype teams a 100kW electric motor with a lithium-ion battery produced by Chinese company Beijing National Battery Technology.
The battery is placed under the floor of the modified Saab 9-3 Aero sedan, keeping the complete interior space and boot intact. NEVS claims to have preserved the 9-3’s “famous driving experience” by delivering a low centre of gravity and a 50:50 weight distribution.
NEVS says the 9-3 EV prototype has a range of approximately 200km on a full charge, accelerates from 0-100km/h in 10 seconds and has a top speed of 120km/h.
NEVS engineering and product development vice president Stig Nodin said the company was happy with the initial 9-3 EV prototypes.
“The Saab cars’ well known performance and safety is maintained and we foresee a very good product for the market,” Nodin said.
“When we developed the Saab 9-3 Aero sedan MY14, we focused on enhancing the driving experience, safety and quality. The starting point for our development of the electric vehicle project was to maintain all the good attributes and characteristics.”
NEVS relaunched the petrol-powered Saab 9-3 in China in December. At the time, it said it planned to introduce the electric version in March/April of this year.
Production of the 9-3 halted in May, however, with NEVS confirming a “short-term cash problem” meant it needed to temporarily idle its operations.
NEVS last week confirmed it had narrowly avoided bankruptcy proceedings, though admitted it still owed money to suppliers and was seeking a partner to shore up its long-term future.
NEVS has not announced an updated timeline for the introduction of the Saab 9-3 EV.