This month's Paris International Motor Show will host the world premiere of Saab's first ever EV, the 9-3 ePower. Based on the SportWagon variant of the current 9-3, the prototype model will lead to a test fleet of 70 vehicles that will participate in field trials in Sweden early next year.
The car is motivated by a 184HP electric motor driving the front wheels through a single-speed transmission. Energy is provided by a compact 35.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack located in a modified floor-pan, in a space occupied by the exhaust system and fuel tank on the standard 9-3 SportWagon
The Swedish automaker says the EV can accelerate from zero to 100km/h (62mph) in a respectable 9.5 seconds and continue on to a top speed of 150km/h or 93mph.
The projected driving range on a full charge is approximately 200 kilometers or about 124 miles. Saab said the battery can be fully recharged from a domestic mains supply in three to six hours, depending on depletion status. However, the company claims charging times can be reduced significantly if the voltage of the electrical feed is raised.
The only noteworthy styling changes over the regular gasoline/diesel models concerns the new gearshift lever that provides selection of 'drive', 'neutral', 'park' and 'reverse', the revised instrument cluster that gains read-outs for battery status, power consumption and driving range, as well as the addition of an electric park brake.
Jan Åke Jonsson, Saab Automobile's CEO said: "By 2015, annual global sales of electric vehicles are expected to reach 500,000 units and Saab is determined to be represented in this important, growing segment."
"The 9-3 ePower programme is our first step towards developing a potential production vehicle that will deliver the sort of advanced performance our customers expect."
The 9-3 ePower is the 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).