Discontinued in 2012 as Saab was filing for bankruptcy, the 9-3 sedan made a surprising return in 2013, when the brand was revived under National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) ownership. But instead of launching the third-generation model that was in the works before Saab went bankrupt, NEVS started building second-gen cars at the company’s Trollhattan production plant. Identical to the 2012 model, the "new" sedan arrived in dealerships without the trademark griffin logos and with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter, four-banger under the hood.While NEVS is undoubtedly working on a modern replacement for the 9-3 , the next-generation vehicle won’t be launched for at least two more years. Instead, the Swedes are reportedly looking to reintroduce the 9-3 SportCombi and have already confirmed plans to offer an electric iteration of the current sedan.
The EV is still not ready to go into production, but NEVS has just unveiled the prototype that will become an actual Saab product in the near future.
Click past the jump to read more about the Saab 9-3 EV Prototype
Saan 9-3 EV Prototype In Detail
The prototype is identical to the gasoline-powered car, as far as design goes, and we can expect the same thing from the production car unless Saab chooses to use the powertrain currently under development in a brand-new vehicle. The Swedes clearly state the prototype was built to "serve as a reference for specification of coming production model(s)," so anything is possible.
Meanwhile, the 9-3 EV test car has its lithium-ion batteries, which are supplied by Beijing National Battery Technology, placed under the floor. This means the emission-free sedan gets to keep its cabin space and luggage compartment intact, providing the same practicality that comes with the standard 9-3.
Actual drivetrain details are still under wraps, but Saab says the motor delivers 140 horsepower in its current configuration, pushing the sedan from 0 to 60 mph in 10 seconds and up to a top speed of 75 mph. Granted, these performance figures are rather modest when compared to the gasoline-powered 9-3, but the thought of not having to empty our wallets at the gas station is enough to keep us hoping the 9-3 EV will eventually hit the assembly line. The prototype’s range is estimated at 124 miles, more than a Nissan Leaf’s.
Of course, all these numbers are expected to improve as development continues, so stay tuned for updates and further details on this Swedish EV.
The Saab 9-3 was introduced in 1998 and it took the company less than five years to launch a second generation model. In dealerships since 2002, the second-gen 9-3 was offered in three different body styles. The sedan was joined by a two-door convertible in 2003, while a wagon entered production in 2005.
Developed around GM’s Epsilon platform, shared with the Chevrolet Malibu and the Cadillac BLS and many other GM products, the Saab 9-3 was sold with a bevy of gasoline and diesel engines, with displacement ranging between 1.8 and 2.8 liters. The latter was the only V-6 unit included in the lineup, while the rest of the powerplants carried inline-four configurations.
Production of the pre-NEVS, second-generation Saab 9-3 ended in 2012. A third-gen sedan was supposed to be launched in 2012 as a 2013 model based on a brand-new platform, but the project was put on hold due to the company’s bankruptcy and subsequent sale.
Gallery Saab 9-3
Gallery Saab 9-3 EV Prototype
Today Nevs presented the Saab 9-3 Electric Vehicle as designed and produced as part of a prototype series in Trollhättan.
The car is a modified Saab 9-3 Aero Sedan where the batteries are placed under the floor, keeping the full interior space as well as the luggage compartment intact. With that, the Saab 9-3 EV is just as practical as the Saab 9-3 Aero with gasoline engine.
The Saab 9-3’s famous driving-experience is of course preserved in the EV, helped by its low center of gravity and a 50/50 weight distribution.
“We are happy to present the result of Nevs engineering into a real Saab EV product. The Saab cars’ well-known performance and safety is maintained and we foresee a very good product for the market. When we developed the Saab 9-3 Aero Sedan Model Year 14, we focused on enhancing the driving experience, safety and quality. And the starting point for our development of the Electric Vehicle project was to maintain all the good attributes and characteristics”, said Stig Nodin, Vice President Engineering and Product Development.
The car shown in Trollhättan today is one from the first prototype series of cars and it was produced in the Trollhättan plant in May.
The car is equipped with lithium-ion batteries from Beijing National Battery Technology, a company within the Chinese group of green tech companies owned by Kai Johan Jiang’s company National Modern Energy Holdings Ltd.
In this phase of the development the performance of the prototype series are limited to:
The range for this prototype series of cars is approximately 200 km.
Acceleration 0-100 km/h, 0-60 mph 10 sec.
Maximum speed of 120 km/h.
Engine power 140 hp, 100 kW.
The prototype series have multiple reasons:
To enhance the understanding of EV’s in the complete company.
To serve as a reference for specification of coming production model(s).
To be used as a test bench for technical development.
To verify the manufacturing setup.