Saab 9-5 Aero BioPower Concept
Saab Explores Ethanol-Compatible Powerplant for U.S. Lineup
Automakers often use the Los Angeles Auto Show as the venue to launch their new “green” concepts. Saab revealed its 9-5 Aero Bio-Power Concept at the 2006 LA auto show in January. This 9-5 Aero delivers 310HP from a high-pressure turbocharged 2.3L engine optimized to run on E85 ethanol or on gasoline. While Saab began offering a 2.0t BioPower 9-5 in Sweden in 2005 (and resulting in surprisingly high sales due to Swedish incentives to use bio-fuels), this concept explores U.S. acceptance to the option.
Because bio-ethanol is a higher-quality fuel with a higher-octane rating, allowing for ignition timing to be advanced without engine knock, when the 9-5 Aero BioPower is running on E85 ethanol, Saab promises a 20 percent boost over the regular 2.3 turbocharged engine and 25 percent more torque, for 310HP and 325 lb-ft instead of 260HP and 258 lb-ft. Operating on gasoline, the engine would provide its standard horsepower and torque outputs.
Bio-ethanol fuel can be developed from renewable sources, including corn (as in the Midwest) and sugar cane (as in Brazil). Both Ford and GM have long offered some flexible-fuel vehicles, and Ford is exploring a tri-fuel vehicle on the 2006 auto show circuit that can run on ethanol, gasoline, or hydrogen. The U.S. E85 mixture is 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.
In creating the 9-5 Aero BioPower Concept, Saab needed only to calibrate their Trionic engine management system to assess the fuel quality at every fill up and adjust the engine management program accordingly, as well as using materials for in the fuel system (tank, pump, fittings) compatible with bioethanol and using more durable valves and valve seats.
Though the company is not talking timing, if showgoers respond favorably, you could find this option in showrooms over the next couple of model years.