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Mike Stevens | Sep 20, 2010

Saab has today revealed the Saab 9-3 ePower, a new electric vehicle based on the ageing 9-3 Sport Combi platform.

As reported in August, the 9-3 ePower was developed by Saab in partnership with Boston Power, along with Sweden's Electroengine and Power Circle.

Powered by a 138kW electric motor driving the front wheels, the 9-3 ePower draws energy from a 35.5kWh lithium-ion battery pack located in the space normally reserved for the regular 9-3's exhaust and fuel tank.

Saab lists a respectable 9.5 second run to 100km/h for the 9-3 ePower, with a top speed of 150km/h.

"By 2015, annual global sales of electric vehicles are expected to reach 500,000 units and Saab is determined to be represented in this important, growing segment," Saab CEO Jan Ake Jonsson said.

"The 9-3 ePower programme is our first step towards developing a potential production vehicle that will deliver the sort of advanced performance our customers expect."

The electric Saab wagon manages a driving range of about 200 kilometres, beating out the likes of Nissan's upcoming Leaf and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV - although production compromises could see the 9-3 ePower's range fall closer to the 140-160km/h range of both.

Bettering many EVs, Saab says the electric 9-3's battery can be recharged on regular mains power in three to six hours, with faster charges coming on specialised recharging points.

Inside, the updated interior (no pictures available) includes status indicators for battery power, energy use and remaining driving range.

As for an all-new 9-3, that's scheduled to arrive in 2012.

Spyker and Saab boss Victor Muller confirmed earlier this year that the new model will be based on a heavily-modified version of GM's Epsilon I platform, the same platform that underpins the current 9-3.

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