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First test drive shows promise of Saab 9-3 EV

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We can't read Swedish, so when it comes to a first-drive review of a Saab 9-3 electric-vehicle prototype, we'll trust Inside EVs' translation of a write-up from Swedish automotive publication Elbilen i Sverige. And it's a decent one. The write-up, that is. The translation, too, we hope.

Taken to the test track, the Saab was found to be quieter than a Tesla Model S and had the stability commensurate for a car that tipped the scales at about 4,000 pounds. The sedan accelerated from 0 to 62 miles per hour in 10 seconds, though the goal is to bring that time down to 8.5 seconds. The prototype also uses a 37-kWh prototype battery made by China-based Kai Johan Jiang Annual National Modern Energy Holdings that should be good for over 180 miles (and there's room for a bigger pack in the car, apparently). The 9-3's electric motor will be able to deliver 200 horsepower but, for testing purposes, it was limited to about 140 horsepower. The overall impression was that the car is not yet ready for prime time, but has a lot of promise.

When prototype becomes production is the real question, given the financial condition of Saab parent National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS). The company acquired the brand in 2012 and started making cars at Saab's Trollhattan plant in Sweden last year, but production stopped in May because of cash-flow issues. Late last month, Swedish courts denied NEVS protection from its creditors, so the company is now looking to restructure.

Saab 9-3 Information

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