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Queensland Premier Trials Australia’s First Ethanol Car - Saab BioPower


6th December, 2006


Peter Beattie (Queensland Premier) with Parveen Batish (Saab Australia Director) and the Saab BioPower

Saab Australia this week welcomed the Queensland Government’s commitment to trial Australia’s first ethanol production car, Saab BioPower, with the vehicle joining QFleet in January.

BioPower is a flex-fuel, ethanol powered version of the Saab 9-5 vehicle – able to run on either E85 (85 per cent ethanol, 15 per cent petrol) or petrol from the same fuel tank.

Since launching just over a year ago in Sweden, BioPower has become the best-selling environmentally friendly car in Saab’s home market. In a clear shift towards renewable fuels in Sweden, ethanol vehicles now outsell hybrid and LPG vehicles by 10:1.

As a result of Queensland's leadership in championing ethanol, Saab has chosen the sugarcane growing region for the vehicle’s launch in January.

This week, Queensland Premier Peter Beattie enjoyed a preview of BioPower. Two BioPower vehicles were also on display as part of the Premier’s Community Cabinet in Toowoomba on Sunday 3rd and Monday 4th December.

Saab Australia Director, Parveen Batish, says with BioPower coming to Australia, Saab can help overcome the ‘chicken and egg’ dilemma of supply and demand when trying to bring a new fuel to market.

“E85 fuel is not currently commercially available in Australia, but because BioPower is a flex-fuel car drivers can fill up with petrol until ethanol fuel is available,” Mr Batish said.

“With this flexibility, we believe Saab can play a role in helping the community take the next step and consider the introduction of ethanol as an alternative, renewable fuel for consumers.”

Saab has already had extremely positive feedback on its plans to introduce BioPower to Australia.

“Australians are becoming more and more focused on reducing their impact on the environment, they support renewable fuels and we think they are willing to invest in a car that is ready to run on ethanol when it becomes available.”

Fossil fuels such as oil and petrol add to atmospheric CO2 because they release new amounts of CO2 which were fixed underground for thousands of years.

However, renewable fuels such as ethanol do not add to atmospheric CO2 levels – instead they ‘recycle’ CO2 that is already present in the atmosphere.

When crops such as sugarcane are grown to produce ethanol they remove CO2 from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. The CO2 is then released back into the atmosphere during the combustion process of driving a car.

In a typically Saab approach to problem solving, the performance of BioPower is actually improved by running on ethanol instead of petrol.

“Saab BioPower delivers responsible performance and proves you don’t have to sacrifice boot space or the environment to switch to an alternative to petrol,” Mr Batish said.

“The higher octane of ethanol gives Saab BioPower up to 20 per cent more power and 16 per cent more torque compared to the equivalent petrol powered model - and Australians love performance vehicles.”

Currently Saab offers BioPower versions of its turbocharged four-cylinder 2.3 and 2.0 litre turbocharged engines in Europe. Saab 2.3t BioPower engine generates approximately 155 kW and 310 Nm of torque and 2.0t BioPower approximately 133 kW and 280 Nm.

Other Saab news is: here

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