FuturAuto, an annual award for innovation given by the Professional Journalists of the Automobile Press (Beroepsjournalisten van de AutomobielPers; BJAP) in Belgium, has been won this year by Saab BioPower.
Saab leads the premium segment in offering a model fuelled by ethanol, an eco-friendly renewable energy source. The Saab 9-5 2.0t BioPower is not only kinder to the environment, it also produces more power and performance than its gasoline equivalent. It is already an outstanding sales success in Sweden, where more than 5,500 cars have been ordered following its launch last July.
Ethanol fuel is produced commercially from agricultural crops, such as corn and sugar cane. Unlike gasoline, its consumption does not raise atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), the 'greenhouse' gas that contributes to global warming. This is because emissions during driving are balanced by the amount of CO2 that is removed from the atmosphere when crops for conversion are grown. It is currently blended 85% ethanol/15% gasoline and sold in Sweden as E85 fuel.
Using sophisticated turbo technology and the adaptability of its Trionic engine management system, the Saab 9-5 2.0t BioPower engine takes full advantages of the higher octane rating of E85 fuel. It delivers 180 bhp and 280 Nm of torque, compared to 150 bhp and 240 Nm when using gasoline, a significant 20 per cent increase in maximum power and 16 per cent more torque. This gives even sportier performance. In the 9-5 Sedan, zero to 100 kph dash can be accomplished in 8.5 secs and 80-120 kph in fifth gear in 12.6 secs, compared to 9.8 and 14.9 secs when running only on gasoline.
Trionic monitors fuel quality after every visit to the filling station and automatically makes any adjustments necessary for running on E85 and/or gasoline in any combination. That means Saab BioPower drivers can also use gasoline, should E85 not be available.
The FuturAuto award recognises an innovative product or technology that benefits the motorist, in the broadest possible sense. The innovation may relate to safety, environmental performance, fuel consumption and/or comfort.
From a total of twenty candidates, five products were shortlisted for final voting. The 2006 FuturAuto award will be presented on the Saab stand at noon on Press Day, Tuesday 10 January, at the Brussels Motor Show (European Motor Show Brussels 2006).