Production has now begun on the first electric Saab model — the 9-3 Aero electric sedan — according to recent reports.
The Chinese-Swedish company that owns Saab — National Electric Vehicles Sweden — is currently in the process of building 200 electric 9-3s to be tested in the Chinese state of Qingdao during the spring or summer months. These first test vehicles are being produced in Sweden despite being headed for the Chinese market.
After these early trials conclude, NEVS will begin larger-scale production, likely sometime in the fall months. The model is expected to debut in the Swedish market sometime in early 2015, if all goes according to plan.
The range for the new EV is reported to be somewhere around 20 “mil” — roughly 200 kilometers, or 124 miles. The range is expected to be increased as new developments in battery technology allow it to be.
Green Car Reports provides some background on the recent developments that led to the electric 9-3 Aero:
NEVS already restarted production of the regular 9-3 sedan in December 2013, producing low volumes of the 216-horsepower turbocharged 9-3 Aero. This too is being sold in China, though Swedish customers can also buy the car through the company’s website.
Recent years have been long and tortuous for fans of Saab, which has a history of technological innovation and blue sky thinking. Following several years under General Motors ownership, Saab was sold to boutique car maker Spyker in 2010.
The company went bankrupt in 2011, later bought by NEVS in June 2013–with promises of restarted production at Saab’s Trollhättan plant in Sweden and production of electric vehicles, taking Saab in an entirely new direction. While NEVS is starting slowly, producing just 10 9-3 Aero sedans per week, the company has so far delivered on each of its promises.
It’ll be interesting to see if NEVS can keep that precedent of delivering on its promises, considering Saab’s difficulties these last couple of years.
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