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NEVS Reincarnates the Saab 9-3 As an Electric Car, in China

By: · June 2, 2017

NEVS 9-3 EV concept

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It has been more than five years since Saab Automobile ceased to exist. Yet now the company that is in possession of most of the remains, National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), is ramping up to revive one of the brand’s mothballed designs from Trollhättan—the 9-3—as a China-built electric car.

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NEVS has fashioned itself not just an automaker but—lip-sync with us, please—a mobility company. It has launched a pilot program in Tianjin, China, that involves yet-to-be-detailed mobility services that will involve car-sharing and possibly ride-hailing services.

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Although this is sounding a lot like Lynk & Co, the effort from China’s Geely that employs fresh-looking vehicles engineered via Saab’s longtime Swedish rival, Volvo (owned by Geely), and available through a slick car-sharing interface, the NEVS effort likely will feel a bit less state of the art. Its services will center around two vehicles that NEVS hopes to build in China: the 9-3 sedan and the 9-3X wagon. Both appear much like the 9-3 that made its debut for the 2003 model year with extensive input from General Motors and its Opel unit. As such, they have a strong resemblance to a generation of GM vehicles that have long since gone out of production. One thing the NEVS cars won’t include is the Saab badge; NEVS didn’t gain the right to use that.

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NEVS 9-3X EV concept

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NEVS first showed the 9-3 EV in prototype form in August 2014. Since then, the company completed a reorganization and broke ground on production and R&D facilities in Tianjin.

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The new 9-3 EV has a claimed driving range of 186 miles. It will also include an integrated Wi-Fi hotspot, over-the-air software updates, remote tracking capabilities for fleets, and a smartphone app for battery management.

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There are no other specs and very little information about the mobility pilot program so far, but the company says that more details will be released next week, at CES Asia in Shanghai.

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The company claims it already has 150,000 orders for the 9-3 EV in China. If it ever arrives to the United States, it’ll merely be an aged design from an unknown brand. With electrified vehicles and mobility a technology mantra for nearly every automaker in the years ahead, NEVS is going to need more than Saab’s tooling and spare parts to make a mark.

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Filed under: News,Saab

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