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Saab Lands First Ethanol Car in Australia



18th January, 2007

Saab 9-5 BioPower

A real-world demonstration programme of the first ethanol production car in Australia, Saab BioPower, has began in Queensland.

Saab BioPower, an ethanol powered version of the Saab 9-5, can run on E85 (85 per cent ethanol fuel) or petrol, in any combination, from the one fuel tank.

This flex-fuel capability allows drivers to refuel with petrol if ethanol isn’t available. Importantly, this means Saab can move quickly to launch BioPower for sale locally and help stimulate the demand needed to make renewable fuels, such as E85, commercially available in Australia.

Director Saab Australia and New Zealand, Parveen Batish, says the BioPower programme will help Saab, and the community, gauge demand for ethanol powered vehicles and renewable fuels.

“Saab is currently a step ahead of the industry. BioPower is a market-ready ethanol powered vehicle that we want to launch in Australia as soon as possible,” Mr Batish said.

“Anecdotally we have had extremely positive feedback to our plans to sell BioPower in Australia. Visitors to our stand at the Australian International Motor Show expressed a willingness to invest in BioPower despite E85 not being available yet and we have been contacted by a number of ethanol producers who can’t wait to get their hands on the vehicles.”

After the Queensland BioPower event, the UK-sourced Saab 9-5 BioPower vehicles will be loaned to media, government, industry and fleets for real world evaluation. Vehicles are already scheduled to join the fleets of the Queensland Government and ethanol producers such as the Manildra Group.

By running on E85 Saab estimates that drivers can reduce their fossil fuel carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by up to 80 per cent. When extracted fossil fuels power vehicles, they add CO2 to the atmosphere during the combustion process of driving.

Conversely, Bioethanol is produced from biomass, such as crops or forest residue and the CO2 released when driving is absorbed from the atmosphere by the photosynthesis of the crops grown to produce the fuel.

The best selling environmentally friendly vehicle in Sweden, BioPower has also been launched across Europe, including the UK, Ireland, Germany, France and Norway.

When Saab launched BioPower in Ireland in October, environmentally conscious bio-fuel car buyers were rewarded with a new tax benefit equal to a €6,000 refund on a 9-5 BioPower.

“Like Australia, Ireland also has a local ethanol industry so the launch of BioPower is seen as a real boost for the local economy and we see similar potential in Australia,” Mr Batish said.

In overseas markets Saab currently offers BioPower versions of its turbocharged four-cylinder 2.3 and 2.0 litre engines. The vehicles being used for the Australian trial are BioPower 2.0t vehicles from Saab Great Britain.

Running BioPower on ethanol actually improves performance, which Mr Batish says should appeal to Australia’s performance car loving market.

“In a truly Saab approach to problem solving, it has engineered the BioPower Trionic engine management system to deliver better performance when running on E85.

“Ethanol also has a higher octane (104) than petrol which helps Saab BioPower generate up to 20 per cent more power and 16 per cent more torque than when driven on pure petrol.”

Saab 2.3t BioPower generates approximately 154 kW and 310 Nm of torque on E85, up from 136kW and 280 Nm on petrol.

The 2.0t BioPower generates approximately 132 kW and 280 Nm on E85, up from 110 kW and 240 Nm on petrol.

To support the BioPower trial, local ethanol producer the Manildra Group has provided the E85 fuel for the vehicles.

Other Saab news is: here

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