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Saab goes electric

Date: 28 September 2010

Saab is to unveil the prototype for its first electric car at the Paris International Motor Show this month.

The Saab 9-3 ePower has a projected all-electric driving range of 200km (124 miles). Early next year a test fleet of 70 of the electric family estates will be put through their paces in field trials in Sweden.

Under a variety of "real world driving conditions", Saab aims to achieve its targeted driving range through the use of high-density energy storage in lithium-ion battery cells.

The carmaker's first electric vehicle is the result of co-operation between Saab, Boston Power (batteries), Electroengine in Sweden AB (electric powertrains), Innovatum (project management) and Power Circle (Sweden's electric power industry trade organisation).

Saab claims the 9-3 ePower does not compromise on comfort, size or practicality but integrates an electric architecture within the dimensions of a conventional 9-3 sportwagon.

A 184hp electric motor drives the front wheels through a single-speed transmission and instant torque propels the car from 0-62 in 8.5 seconds and onto a top speed of 93mph.

Inside the cabin an automatic-style gear shift offers selection of drive, neutral, park and reverse.

The 35.5kw battery pack is designed to operate in temperatures as low as -30°C, 10°C lower than other battery packs on the market, according to Saab.

Jan Åke Jonsson, Saab Automobile's chief executive 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."

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