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Saab releases BioPower 9-5 in UK

16 November 2006

Faster Saab 9-5 BioPower executive cars that can run on environmentally friendly ethanol-rich fuel go on sale next Monday.

The car can run on pure petrol or up to 85% ethanol/15% petrol. The biofuel is produced from cereal crops and is known as E85.

The Saab 9-5 2.3t BioPower costs from £23,270 for a saloon in Linear trim to £29,015 for a Vector Sport estate equipped with an automatic gearbox. That makes the 9-5 BioPower £590 more than the conventional petrol.

Power rises from 185bhp to 210bhp when running on high-octane E85 fuel, so the 0-62mph time drops from 8.5sec to 7.9sec.

However, carbon dioxide levels are unchanged at 214g/km, but if owners fill up with E85 instead of pure petrol, much of the car's carbon dioxide emissions will already have been absorbed from the atmosphere by the crops grown to produce E85.

Unfortunately, unlike in many other European countries, the Treasury in the UK provides no incentives for ethanol-powered cars, so company drivers won’t enjoy lower tax bills.

Along with Ford, Saab has written to Chancellor Gordon Brown calling for more incentives for motorists who choose ethanol cars in a bid to encourage growth in the use of the fuel.

There are just 13 forecourts equipped with E85 pumps, all run by supermarket chain Morrisons and predominantly found in East Anglia and south-west England. Morrisons, which has opened a new forecourt with E85 in Cardiff today, has also written to the Chancellor calling for better incentives for the fuel.

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