UPDATE: Due to a mistranslation, Autoblog initially reported the wrong range for the Saab 9-3 EV. The text below has been updated to reflect the correct information. We apologize for the error, and thank those astute readers who pointed out the mistake.

To say that Saab has had a tough time lately would be like saying that it's been a little colder than usual this winter. After General Motors finally gave up and sold it to Spyker in 2010, Saab declared bankruptcy the following year. GM successfully blocked Spyker from selling Saab to Chinese automaker Youngman the following year, but ultimately it ended up in the hands of another Chinese consortium called NEVS. Standing as it does for National Electric Vehicle Sweden, the new owners promised not only to restart production of the long-suffering 9-3, but also to turn it into an electric vehicle. And that's just what it's doing.

The latest news coming out of Sweden indicates that NEVS/Saab has started building the first examples of the 9-3 EV. These first 200 or so examples are set to be shipped off to Qingdao – the Chinese city that is home to the Tsingtao brewery, hosted the sailing components of the 2008 summer games on Beijing, was supposed to host an IndyCar race in 2012 before it was canceled, and also itself just happens to own 22 percent of NEVS.

These first EVs have their batteries mounted down low in the chassis for a low center of gravity and have a range of about 124 miles on a full charge., approximately splitting the difference between the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S. They're installed in the latest version of the Saab 9-3 (pictured in the updated image gallery above), which has been on the market since 2003, outlasting any of its GM Epsilon platform-mates.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 23 Comments
      Frank Wulfers
      • 8 Months Ago
      The range on a full charge is 20 mil, not 20 miles. A mil is a Swedish unit for distance and 1 mil is 10 kilometers. So 20 mil = 200 km = 124 miles.
        saabyurk
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Frank Wulfers
        And, now I see that you answered while I was typing. My 71 year old fingers are so slow...
      air8271
      • 8 Months Ago
      Why does Saab never get a break? Re-read your information...or to quote the proper stats: With an electric range of 20 Scandinavian miles (~124 statute miles), the 9-3 EV is capable of driving 50 percent farther than the Nissan Leaf but only half the distance of a Model S, according to Swedish magazine Auto Motor & Sport. Read more: http://www.leftlanenews.com/nevs-builds-its-first-saab-9-3-evs-range-limited-to-20-miles.html#ixzz2yUY0FfS8
        no1bondfan
        • 8 Months Ago
        @air8271
        That makes a huge difference! An edit is definitely in order.
      saabyurk
      • 8 Months Ago
      The "20 mile" range is just a bad interpretation of Swedish "20 mil" which is 200 km, or approx 125 niles. And that is just for these 200 early models being shipped to China. When they enter full production on the regular production line this fall, the range will be higher (280 km has been quoted elsewhere).
      MJC
      • 8 Months Ago
      That car still looks good IMO.
        GoodCheer
        • 8 Months Ago
        @MJC
        The benefit of not chasing the latest design trends is that you tend to age well. And nobody would accuse Saab of chasing design trends.
          ChaosphereIX
          • 8 Months Ago
          @GoodCheer
          damn straight, always looked good and performed well. Wish them best of luck getting back on their feet.
        jonnybimmer
        • 8 Months Ago
        @MJC
        I'd leave the exterior alone, but it wouldn't hurt to revisit the interior.
      PJPHughes1
      • 8 Months Ago
      It should be a range of 124 miles, which is equivalent to 20 Scandinavian miles mentioned above and from other articles. Not sure why the need to reference the latter measurement, as it just causes a lot of confusion. Odd that they would not just use English miles or metric distance. Nevertheless, that's a decent range that will help avoid "range anxiety."
      Adrian Elliot
      • 8 Months Ago
      The range is completely wrong. Fact check please.
      jpegger
      • 8 Months Ago
      Wrong... Please edit the stated vehicle range (and the subsequent commentary). I mean really, as if SAAB already didn't have enough to deal with, it can't even catch accolades from the auto press for actually doing a halfway decent job on range. The only thing "Paltry" about this cars range was the budget in which they had to develop it.
      Lucky Stars
      • 8 Months Ago
      I am sad to see Saab go under, I would of been in the market for a 9-5 or 9-3. Well looks like Mercedes is going to get my money for the first time as the E class has great lease deals and can be purchased for not much more then a loaded 328i!
        jallen
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Lucky Stars
        If the car battery dies in your benz. make sure you youtube how to jump start it from the passenger floor.
      hadskeath
      • 8 Months Ago
      That was the old Champ Car World Series that scheduled and then canceled a races in China. That was before the Open Wheel merger in 2013. Indy Car's at that time were part of the IRL.
      akahn
      • 3 Months Ago

      Niceee

      Rob
      • 8 Months Ago
      Looks 15 years old already. GM never should have bought this company and put it on life support just to prolong the inevitable
        ChaosphereIX
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Rob
        I think it looks a lot better than even many contemporary designs...seen Lexus or Nissan styling lately?
          Rob
          • 8 Months Ago
          @ChaosphereIX
          yes and I agree that they are horrible. Never said the Saab looked terrible, it just looks the same and if the issues that killed Saab are not fixed this is will short lived. Hard to charge luxury car prices and have to pay luxury car repair/maintenance costs for a "premium" niche boutique vehicle and sustain a company. They need to pull a page from Volvo and reinvent themselves if there is going to be a remote shot of success with the rebirth.
      eideard
      • 8 Months Ago
      Gotta love people with parochial brains. "...a little colder than usual this winter?" Not if you live in the southwestern quadrant of the United States. You write about cars from all over the world and can't wrap your head around the differences within the 6% of this planet that is the United States. Lazy.
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