All the grants from the Swedish government have gone to good use, Saab today unveiled Australia’s first ethanol production car at the Australian International Motor Show.
Labelled "Saab BioPower", the green Saabs are based on the company's 9-5 as is capable of running on E85 (a mix of 85 per cent ethanol and 15 per cent petrol) or petrol, in any combination, from the one fuel tank.
Of course there is one big problem with using E85, its not currently sold commercially in Australia! However Saab says there are a number of ethanol-compatible pumps established around the country, which are capable of switching to commercial sale.
So given the current lack of E85 fuel in Australia, Saab has designed the car to be capable of running completely on Petrol when necessary. Saab believes this is important in the take-up phase of an alternative fuel.
“Saab BioPower is the first production ethanol fuel vehicle for sale in this country,” Director GM Premium Brands, Parveen Batishsaid.
As with all new things. there are some downsides. The Saab will use more E85 per kilometre than standard petrol (although emission offsets are still by far in favour of E85) , and of course there is the whole argument of the actual production of E85, which is producing more pollution than E85 is offsetting!
Thankfully though. that hasn't stopped the government, ethanol producers and the general public from showing massive interest in the Saab.
“Based on this positive feedback we believe Australians are willing to invest in BioPower, which will help stimulate the demand needed to convince fuel retailers and regulators to facilitate the introduction of E85 fuel pumps at service stations locally.”
The actual car it self produces up to 80 per cent less carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions compared to standard fossil fuel cars.
If you're expecting a power downgrade, you'd be wrong, the BioPower series of Saab's actually produce more power! Saab 9-5 BioPower generates roughly 154 kW and 310 Nm of torque on E85, up from 136kW and 280 Nm on petrol.
Saab offers BioPower in 9-5 Sedan and SportEstate body-styles, with a 2.3 litre, four-cylinder turbocharged engine.