When a major EV and battery expo takes place at the same time as EV charging station maker Ecotality files for bankruptcy, it’s a good question as to how much of the EV and hybrid vehicle industry is truly sustainable and how much exists solely to chase government incentives, but there is no question that it’s a substantial industry, even if, according to the most optimistic forecasts, cars and trucks with electric drive will never make up more than a fraction of annual sales.
After years of rumors and speculations of the will they/won’t they variety, a brand-new Saab 9-3 has – finally! – managed to roll down the assembly line! Don’t be fooled by the fact that this new Saab looks just like the 2009 models the company was building when it was spun off from GM’s bankruptcy, however. This car features all-new components designed by Saab engineers and manufactured in Trollhättan, Sweden.
National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), the Chinese backed company formed to buy the assets of Saab, says that it has hired 300 workers for the factory in Trollhattan, Sweden and that it hopes to start making cars again there by the end of this year. Mikael Oestlund, a spokesman for NEVS, told Automotive News Europe that the Trollhattan plant is “practically ready” to begin production of the 9-3 sedan. That production is dependent on coming to agreements with suppliers. Also, some of Saabs former suppliers failed when the automaker went under and replacements for those parts must be found. “We are not there yet and therefore we are not able to make the decision of start of production,” Oestlund said. (Read More…)
Behold! The American military electric vehicle! Also known as the Columbia ParCar, it’s part of a broad-based Department of Defense program to purchase off-the-shelf NEVs and electric cars for non-tactical use. Seems like a very reasonable idea; in case of war, gasoline might be required for other things like fighter jets and napalm.
After reading some details of Zero Motorcycles’ 2013 range of two-wheeled electric vehicles, however, I’m wondering if there isn’t more that infamous military-industrial complex could be doing to make the next generation of Nissan-Leaf-a-likes more useful.
After an alleged Swede, Kai Johan Jiang a.k.a. Jiang Dalong bought bankrupt Saab’s remaining assets for cheap, we could not help but reminding the faithful that this will not result in a resurgence of the Trollhättan industrial base. We figured that at the very best, Saab will march off to China. If Saab won’t manage to destroy investor’s dreams and money yet again. Both rise in probability. Saab’s buyer, Chinese-controlled NEVS, has secured an investment deal with the Chinese city of Qingdao, Reuters says. (Read More…)
TTAC’s eulogy on Saab was premature. The Chinese willing, there will be new Saabs in the future. Surprisingly, Swedish defense contractor Saab AB licensed the Saab name to National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) to be used in future vehicles, a press release of NEVS says. NEVS also “finalized its acquisition of the main assets of Saab Automobile AB, Saab Automobile Powertrain AB and Saab Automobile Tools AB, effective August 31, 2012.”
The ultimatum given to NEVS last week apparently instilled fresh urgency into the parties, and an undisclosed amount changed hands on Friday. For the money, NEVS also received “IP rights for the Saab 9-3, IP rights for the Phoenix platform, tools, the manufacturing plant, and test and laboratory facilities.” There are others who think they also own that Phoenix platform. And the people of Trollhättan better don’t get their hopes up on EV exports to China. (Read More…)
Part of Saab’s presumptive “quirky” image is a serious lack of funds. Saab “bled red like a stuck pig” as Car & Driver so delicately put it. Saab was sold when GM ran out of money. Victor Muller didn’t have the funds, and Saab’s future owner, Made-in-China Swede Jiang Dalong also seems to suffer the cash flow problem that is so familiar to all who touch Saab. The presumptive buyer has received an ultimatum by the bankruptcy administrators: Pay in full until Friday, or the deal is off. (Read More…)
A hitherto unknown Chinese business man who leads a shadowy “consortium” buys the assets of Saab. The media eats it up. Dalong “Kai Johan” Jiang takes the microphone and says what everybody wants to hear: “Electric cars powered by green electricity is the future and electric cars will be built in Trollhättan.” Jiang says there is a huge market for these made-in-Trollhättan EVs, waiting in China.
Nobody dares to say that it does not make sense at all. We say it. (Read More…)