Saab's financial struggles put fate of electric 9-3 ePower in jeopardy

Saab 9-3 ePower prototype – Click above for high-res image gallery

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:
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.
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.

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[Source: New York Times]

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