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.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Time for service?

What? You want service already? But I've only had you for four months and I've only put 7500 km on you! I refuse to believe that you can be so vain that you want maintenance already. You're not a sissy Ferrari!

Guess I have to call the dealer tomorrow and ask what this is all about. If the car needs service every 7500 km, then this will turn out to be an expensive car to own!

Update: The last two months I have almost stopped using the 6. gear and have driven with a higher rpm. And I have also done more hard accelerations. And the service message has stopped coming! When I talked to the Saab technician and booked time to do a engine software upgrade, he told me that the service message could turn up due to the engine sensing soot. And he told me to do some hard acceleration to blow soot out of the engine and particulate filter. And so he gave me an explanation to why the service message has stopped coming. I guess the moral is that I was the sissy. But now I drive my car like a man! :)

Update 2: Yesterday my dealer updated the engine software on my car. Evidently the car had sensed soot and flashed a premature "Time for service". With this update the engine will stop flashing "Time for service" since this soot do not pose any danger to the car. But as you can read from my first update, the service message stopped coming when I started driving my car like I should have from the start! :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Saab QuickHeat(er) electric cabin heater

With the new Saab 9-5 diesel cars, Saab offers something called QuickHeat or QuickHeater (both names are in use). This is an electric cabin heater that heats the air that enters the cabin. It is only offered for the diesel cars since diesel engines tend to produce less heat than petrol engines, and thus less heat to warm the air that enters the cabin. (Update: Looks like it is also offered in combination with a petrol engine in some markets).

I was a bit anxious about driving a diesel Saab in Norway where the weather can get really cold. On Christmas Eve e.g. the temperature read -35 degrees Celsius on my car! But I had no reason to worry. The HVAC system in the new 9-5 is without any doubt engineered by Saab to cope with Scandinavian winters. The cabin heats up very fast and snow and ice melts off the windows. Compared to my previous Saab, a 2003 Saab 9-3 1.8t SportSedan, I believe this new 9-5 has an even better HVAC system!

My only gripe with the HVAC system is the buttons. I wish the HVAC buttons were shaped and located in such a way that I can operate them without having to look to ensure that I hit the right button. Bigger buttons and farther apart from eachother please!


Sunday, January 2, 2011

The head-up display through sunglasses

With the new Saab 9-5, Saab does of course for the first time offer a head-up display (HUD). The HUD displays information such as speed, rpm, temperature, navigation info etc. on the windshield. A HUD consists of a computer that sends the information to be displayed to a projector unit, which displays the information on a reflective foil or coating which is on the windshield. But how does wearing sunglasses affect the visibility of the projected image on the windshield? And especially how does wearing polarized sunglasses affect the displayed image?

So earlier today I decided to take some pictures to show how sunglasses affect the HUD image. The brightness of the HUD in the Saab 9-5 can be adjusted (as well as turned off) with a switch. There are 10 brightness levels available. I set the brightness to level 5, i.e. the average brightness, before I took the pictures below.

Here's a picture of the HUD as seen without wearing sunglasses:

And a picture taken through Ray-Ban "ordinary" sunglasses:

And finally a picture taken through Polaroid polarized sunglasses:

Polaroid's polarized sunglasses are supposed to block glare or reflections. Polarized sunglasses are also known as anti-glare sunglasses. From the pictures it is obvious that the Polaroid sunglasses do a good job, as they eliminate the reflection of the HUD!

 So does this mean that if you use anti-glare sunglasses you can't see the HUD at all? Well, the visibility if the HUD is definitely reduced, but if you adjust the HUD to full brightness, then the visibility gets better.

Here a picture of the HUD at full brightness taken through polarized sunglasses: