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Saab announces hybrid plans

Saab announces hybrid plans

By 2010, Saab will produce hybrid versions of its vehicles. As reported by Automotive News, Saab's updates to the 9-5 and 9-3, due in 2007 and 2008 respectively, should have hybrid versions. This schedule roughly coincides with GM's hybrid plans, which I covered in this space earlier. GM showed off its Saturn Vue Greenline SUV at the Detroit Auto Show, and it plans to launch a hybrid version of the Chevy Malibu in 2007. But Saab is developing its own hybrid system and wants to be a technology leader in the automotive market. If so, the company has some catching up to do with the likes of Honda and Toyota. Saab has been showing off its BioPower 9-5 at recent car shows, demonstrating the company's interest in alternative fuels. The BioPower system runs on E85 fuel, a mixture of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. The BioPower effort is also in line with GM's biofuel campaign.

We had a Saab 9-3 Convertible in for review recently, and it seems like a good candidate for a hybrid. It has a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a fair amount of room under the hood. With a hybrid system, the electric motor would essentially replace the turbo for extra boost, saving gas in the bargain.