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Tony O'Kane | Sep 14, 2009

SAAB IS REPORTEDLY readying a hybrid variant of its 9-5 sedan, and may make use of the Chevy Volt's engine in its first-ever production petrol-electric model.

Rather than exploit diesel engines like most of its European competition, Saab is apparently keen to focus on hybrid powertrains.

According to British publication Autocar, a 1.4 litre petrol engine and electric motor will be used in the 9-5 hybrid. With the Chevy Volt slated to utilise a 1.4 litre petrol engine as an on-board range extender, Saab's links to General Motors may see the same engine powering both cars.

2010_saab_9-5_03

Where the Volt uses a series hybrid setup, which mechanically separates the engine from the driven wheels, the Saab is expected to be more conventional in its drivetrain layout.

The petrol engine will reportedly be the primary source of motivation, assisted by a small electric motor only when peak power is called for. Consequently, the 9-5 hybrid's battery pack will be much smaller (and cheaper) than the Volt's, and plug-in charging functionality likely won't be offered.

saab_9x_air_biohybrid_01

The Saab 9-X Air Concept revealed at last year's Paris Motor Show (above) was also powered by a 1.4 litre turbocharged petrol engine and an electric motor, and took power to the wheels via a six-speed twin-clutch gearbox.

Although a production version of the 9-X concept never eventuated, it may give some clues as to what technology the 9-5 hybrid will feature.

A launch date for Saab's petrol-electric 9-5 isn't clear, but insiders say Saab is aiming to undercut its German rivals on pricing when its hybrid launches.

The 2010 Saab 9-5 is due to launch tomorrow at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

[Autocar]

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