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Mike Stevens | Aug 2, 2010

That Saab is working on an all-new 9-3 for a 2012 launch isn't new, but reports out of the US this week claim that Saab has also teamed up with players in the electric vehicle arena to bring the first Saab EV to market.

Partnering with lithium-ion battery manufacturer Boston Power, electric propulsion developer Electroengine and the Swedish Energy Authority, Saab is reportedly planning to roll out a test fleet of "100 percent electric vehicles" to a number of global sites in 2011.

"The main purpose is to draw technology from this test fleet, technology that we can then incorporate quickly" Jan Ake Jonsson, CEO of Saab Automobile AB told press in the US this week.

"The key target short-term is to drive fuel consumption down. You can electrify certain portions of the vehicle."

Jonsson would not be moved on a market launch date for an actual production-ready all-electric Saab, saying only that "everybody is looking at that question and nobody has an answer yet."

Saab's push for an ultra-green addition to its line-up is not surprising, with the European Union's ever-tightening emissions laws moving all brand's to invest heavily in hybrid, EV and ultra-efficient combustion-engine technology.

Jonsson confirmed that along with Saab's electric vehicle testing, it will also launch a range of diesel models in the near future.

Launch dates for Saab's new models were also confirmed, with a facelifted version of the current 9-3 to launch later this year, followed by the Saab and GM co-developed 9-4X SUV in April next year.

The wagon version of the new 9-5 will launch internationally in July next year.

Victor Muller, CEO of new Saab owner Spyker, confirmed that the design and specifications of a smaller 9-2 model have been approved, and the hunt is on for a production partner.

"We have a design, we have specifications," Muller said. "The only missing link is making the contract with a potential partner and how we are going to fund it. It's currently not in our business plan, but it has a compelling business case."

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