The saga with Saab continues, but this time there’s some good news for the Swedish automaker. Despite rumors that its new owner, National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) possibly heading toward bankruptcy, the company just unveiled a prototype of the electric 9-3 sedan.
The design is based on a 9-3 Aero with the electric motor housed where the gas engine used to be. The batteries are located underneath the floorboards to add to the stability of the vehicle by keeping the center of gravity low. That also means that the prototype doesn’t suffer from a cramped trunk, unlike many hybrid vehicles on the market today. That’s good news since the 9-3’s trunk is actually quite spacious for a compact sedan, making it a fairly practical vehicle to own.
NEVS says the new prototype 9-3 EV was constructed to help understand the production process for electric models. The prototype will also be used as a reference as the automaker moves forward with a production version, although a timetable of when that will happen hasn’t been supplied by NEVS.
The good news is that the prototype is supposed to possess excellent driving characteristics. The configuration of the electric powertrain means there is a perfect 50/50 weight distribution, which when combined with the lower center of gravity contributes to excellent handling. NEVS also says that the safety systems that were built into the 9-3 weren’t compromised in any way.
Range for the prototype is estimated at about 125 miles, beating out most production electric cars. It has a 0 to 60 acceleration time of 10 seconds and can reach a top speed of 75 mph.
NEVS is still insistent that it’s not headed toward bankruptcy, stating that it has more assets than debut at the moment. Pulling out the prototype Saab 9-3 EV is no doubt a move to show strength and progress. Whether or not the company pulls of making a production version of the car remains to be seen.