Two of the most widely discussed approaches to reducing carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles are the use of hybrid technology and the use of biofuels. It doesn’t take a big a leap of the imagination to wonder about combining the two strategies into one car.
Enter the Saab BioPower Hybrid Concept. Saab dubs the concept as “the world’s first fossil free hybrid vehicle.”
Of course, the kitchen sink approach to solving environmental problems in cars would be expensive and couldn’t solve a number of “structural” problems – but Saab deserves credit for using the concept to try to jump over each hurdle.
First, biofuel is not yet widely available in Europe. Today, there are more than 650 E85 fuel pumps in Sweden. A total of 800 pumps, covering 25% of the country’s filling stations, are targeted by the end of 2008, and there are similar efforts to establish ethanol pumps throughout Europe. Saab addresses this issue by using a direct injection system designed to burn 100% ethanol or any mixture of ethanol and petrol.
Ethanol has a higher octane rating but packs less energy per gallon of gasoline; therefore, Saab BioPower uses turbo charging to give the engine more power, without risk of ‘knocking.’ Performance is also enhanced via extra boost from the electric motors.
Even the most eco-friendly car, when stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic burns fuel unnecessarily, unless you have a “zero-mode” button on the dashboard, giving you the ability to drive all-electric at speeds lower than 20 miles per hour. The Saab BioPower Hybrid Concept has that too.
And if all that wasn’t enough, the Saab BioPower Hybrid is a convertible – which completes the fantasy of a care-free high-performance drive through the country in a bio-fuel powered hybrid.