Saab is now taking orders for the Saab 9-5 BioPower saloon and estate, with on the road prices ranging from £21,651 to £26,076.
The 9-5 BioPower models can be run on either a high-blend mixture of bioethanol and petrol (known as E85) or on pure petrol, with no adjustment needed by the driver.
Saab claims that, when run on E85, the car reduces carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by around 70% compared with the standard petrol car. The CO2 emitted during combustion is effectively offset by the amount of CO2 absorbed during the growing process of the crops used to produce bioethanol.
Saab also claims that its turbocharged engines benefit from a 20% power increase when run on E85, thanks to the fuel’s high octane rating. This means the 150bhp 2.0t petrol engine will deliver 180bhp using biofuel, improving the 9-5 saloon’s 0-62mph sprint time from 9.8 seconds to just 8.5 seconds.
In the short term, however, UK buyers of the BioPower cars would largely be restricted to using petrol. (See 'Motor industry welcomes biofuels' story for the Government's plans to force fuel companies to sell 5% of fuel from renewable sources by 2010.)
Initially, only 2.0t models are available in BioPower format, with prices £600 more than equivalent petrol 9-5s. At launch, only manual shift cars can be ordered, with an automatic option scheduled to follow shortly afterwards. First deliveries are expected in January 2006.
The Saab 9-5 BioPower was launched at the Department for Transport’s Environmentally Friendly Vehicles Conference in Birmingham, which takes place today and tomorrow. Further information on the conference and its associated Exhibition, organised by the SMMT, can be found at http://livegroup.co.uk/efvc/
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