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March 08, 2007

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Saab BioPower 100 Concept: Bioethanol Performance Potential Unleashed

  • First production-based turbo engine optimized for pure bioethanol (E100)

  • 300 hp with greatly reduced CO2 impact

  • Demonstrates further potential of bioethanol fuel

  • Scope for future ‘rightsizing’ with turbocharging to give ‘large’ engine power

  • Saab extends leadership of bioethanol engine technology

  • World premiere at Geneva International Motor Show, North American debut scheduled for New York International Auto Show in April

The Saab BioPower 100 Concept, presented at the Geneva Motor Show, showcases the first production-based turbo engine to be optimized for pure, eco-friendly bioethanol (E100) fuel. The result is a level of performance never seen before from a road car using this fuel.

This exciting concept takes Saab BioPower technology to a new level by showing the true potential of combining turbocharging and sophisticated engine management with pure bioethanol fuel. And in demonstrating that greener motoring means even sportier driving, it also extends Saab’s technical leadership of Europe's emerging ‘flex-fuel’ segment.




At the heart of the Saab BioPower 100 Concept is a modified version of a 2.0-liter turbo production gasoline engine from the current Saab 9-5 range, which in standard specification gives peak power of 150 hp. A test and development program - involving modifications to the engine management system and internal components - now enables it to exploit the high octane benefits of E100 fuel by using a higher compression ratio, together with more boost pressure. The outcome of this work is peak power of 300 hp and a remarkably high specific power output of 150 hp per liter.

The Saab BioPower 100 Concept is presented as an evolution of the Saab 9-5 SportCombi. It is visually distinguished by styling features such as ‘ice block’ front and rear light units – extending a theme seen on the 9-3 SportCombi – and 19-inch ‘turbine’ alloy wheels inspired by those of the award-winning Saab Aero X concept, first shown at Geneva last year. The interior is upholstered in unique white leather, complemented by the main fascia and door trims, which are finished in black leather overlaid with a carbon fiber-effect pattern. The car is also equipped with Saab’s innovative AlcoKey, an easy to use, pocket-sized alco-lock device that helps drivers steer clear of drinking and driving.

Total BioPower

Saab 9-5 BioPower, Europe's top-selling bioethanol (E85)-powered car 300 hp and 295 lb.-ft. of torque from concept’s production-based engine E100 enables high compression ratio with high boost pressure Saab is already established as the leading player in Europe's emerging market for ‘flex-fuel’ vehicles able to run on gasoline and/or bioethanol (E85). Its current Saab 9-5 BioPower model is the best-selling flex-fuel car in Sweden , a title which also extends to the European continent. At Geneva this year, Saab also announces BioPower’s introduction throughout its 9-3 product range in Europe.

So far, Saab BioPower development has been focused on using E85 fuel, (85 percent bioethanol/15 percent gasoline). Now, with the announcement of the fully functioning BioPower 100 Concept, Saab confirms its leadership position by showing how bioethanol technology could be further extended. In combining pure bioethanol with Saab’s expertise in turbocharging, the BioPower 100 Concept offers drivers an exciting win/win proposition: greener motoring with dramatically enhanced power and performance.

Running on E100, the concept car’s engine delivers peak power of 300 hp at 5,800 rpm and an exceptionally strong 295 lb.-ft. of torque between 3,000 and 5,100 rpm, with almost 85 percent available at just 2,000 rpm. This strong and flexible power delivery gives the Saab BioPower 100 Concept car zero to 62 mph acceleration in just 6.6 seconds and 50 – 75 mph (fifth gear) in an even more impressive 8.2 seconds. The standard 150 hp gasoline engine produces 177 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,800-3,500 rpm, giving zero to 62 mph in 10.2 seconds and 50- 75 mph (fifth gear) in 16.3 seconds.

The secret behind such enhanced performance is the ability of E100 fuel to resist harmful self-ignition, or ‘knocking’, as the fuel/air mixture is compressed in the cylinder. This attribute is denoted by E100’s high 106 RON octane rating. It permits the use of an engine compression ratio that is higher than normally possible with turbocharging, giving more power and greater combustion efficiency without risk of knocking.

The BioPower 100 Concept’s engine operates with a compression ratio of 11.0:1, compared to 8.8:1 for the standard gasoline engine. This has been achieved by modifying the shape of the piston crowns to reduce the volume of the combustion chamber, thereby raising the engine’s compression ratio.

New software for Saab’s powerful Trionic engine management system, which controls the throttle setting, ignition timing, fuel injection and turbo boost pressure, looks after the different ignition timing and fuel/air mixture requirements of E100 fuel.

More durable valves and valve seats are fitted to the engine, together with bioethanol-compatible materials throughout the fuel system. The only other modification necessary is pre-heating of the fuel. This is required to achieve good cold-starting performance, which is the main reason why bioethanol is currently blended with gasoline and sold as E85 fuel.

In ambient temperatures below 60°F, the chemistry of E100 makes it resistant to vaporization and, as a result, it can be difficult to start the engine. To overcome this issue, the Saab BioPower 100 Concept has an experimental fuel heating system, using small heating elements in the inlet ports downstream of the injectors. When the engine is cold, these elements warm the incoming fuel sufficiently to allow it to vaporize. Shortly after start-up, the function is automatically deactivated.

Photos: Saab

(March 7, 2007)

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