Saab's deal with Chinese manufacturer Hawtai Motor Group, announced on May 3rd, would have brought at least 120 million euros ($171 million U.S. at the current exchange rate) to the ailing Swedish automaker. The deal, however, crumbled, leaving Saab's future – as well as the fate of the firm's electric 9-3 ePower – in jeopardy.
Saab, along with Boston-Power, a Massachusetts-based lithium-ion battery manufacturer headed by Christina Lampe-Onnerud, were in the midst of wheeling out a 70-vehicle test fleet of ePowers when the Swedish automaker's financial struggles came to light. So, how will the collapsed deal with Hawtai and Saab's just-announced tie up with China's Pang Da affect the ePower?
For a hazy answer to that question, we turn to an article written by Jim Motavalli for the New York Times. Lampe-Onnerud, in a telephone interview conducted before the Hawtai deal fell apart, told Motavalli that:
However, Michele Tinson, a spokeswoman for Saab, told Motavalli that if, and only if, the automaker secures financing, will the electric vehicle project move forward.Saab's financial situation hasn't affected the electric car program at all. Both companies are determined to bring a really great electric vehicle, with high-performance batteries to the market, as soon as possible.