IMPORTANT NEWS: National Electric Vehicle Sweden has agreed to buy the assets of Saab Automobile and the sale is expected to be finalized during the summer.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

New valuable Saab technology

Today Swedish news site NyTeknik has several articles about Saab's upcoming technology. Here is a summary of the main points.

Phoenix modular technology
The technology that will be the basis for Saab's future models, the Phoenix platform, has now been in development since november 2008. It is a very flexible technology which can be used on anything from sports cars to SUVs, and of course on both the next generation 9-3 and 9-5.

For Saab it will be a big advantage to be able to use the same technology on all its vehicles, compared to today when the three models 9-3, 9-4X and 9-5 all use a different technological basis. The new platform will for instance allow for cars to have different track width on the rear axle, but still share a lot of components.

According to Mats Fägerhag at Saab, some points that will makes the Phoenix unique are:
  • Knowledge of the Scania modul approach
  • Extremely good driving and winter characteristics, which set high demands on the suspension, drivetrain, steering, instruments and ergonomics.
  • A new hybrid system for good fuel economy.
  • A new level of crash safety
Diagram from NyTeknik 

A valuable asset
Mats Fägerhag tells NyTeknik that the Phoenix platform is worth billions of Swedish kronor. As an example, Martin Sköld who is a researcher taking a doctorate on platforms at the business school in Stockholm, says that there are platforms internationally that are valued between SEK 3 billion and SEK 27 billion.

Last week Saab announced that the company would loan SEK 640 million from Chinese Youngman using non-exclusive rights to the Phoenix platform as collateral. But there is reason to believe that because Youngman is an important future partner and part owner, the price was set lower than the market value.

According to NyTeknik, Saab has so far not had licensing of the Phoenix technology as part of its strategy. But the company will now when the business plan is revised, also consider selling rights to this new technology. Possible buyers could be companies based in China and India.

Electric rear axle
In September of last year Saab announced that the company had developed a rear axle with an electric motor. This innovation would give four wheel drive to front wheel drive cars without the fuel penalty. This innovation together with a number of Saab engineers were transfered over to a new company, E-AAM Driveline Systems, owned by Saab and American Axle & Manufacturing.

The new company will sell this technology to several automotive manufacturers, not just Saab. The electric axle can be scaled from 15kW to 90kW and can thus be used in both a mild-hybrid as well as a plug-in hybrid using the same basic unit.

Now marketing manager Magnus Rydell reveals to NyTeknik that the company has already secured a handful of contracts and the production for the first two customers will start in 2013.