Until late last year, the car company known as Saab hadn’t produced a single car since late 2009. Then along came National Electric Vehicle Sweden, which restarted production with the hopes of introducing all-electric models to China and Sweden, but those hopes are hanging by a thread as NEVS struggles to pay its bills.
Determined to show they’re not kaput yet, executives have rolled out a new Saab 9-3 EV prototype, which can go faster and farther than earlier prototypes. Too bad it probably isn’t enough to save the struggling Swedish automaker.
Saab claims that the latest 9-3 EV has a maximum range of 124 miles per charge, a top speed of 75 MPH, and can sprint from 0 to 62 MPH in about 10 seconds. None of these are game-changing numbers, but rather par for course in the EV world. Stig Nodin, Vice President Engineering and Product Development, had this to say about the latest Saab 9-3 EV
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.
Prior Saab EVs had much less range (as little as 20 miles per charge) and were based on dated platforms…which the new 9-3 EV shares as well. However, with China making a big push towards EVs, and NEVS securing most of its funding from financiers in the quasi-communist nation, there remains a glimmer of hope that Saab might live on as an electric automaker. By putting the batteries beneath the floor, NEVS maintained legroom and trunk space, and they are hoping the entry-level luxury market will be receptive to the rebirth of this zombie brand.
Just don’t hold your breath.