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Brisbane show: United powers Saab

Fuel for thought: Saab's 9-5 BioPower finally gets its intended fuel supply.

E85 ethanol fuel rollout finally begins for Saab BioPower models in Queensland

General News logo5 Feb 2008

DRIVERS of Saab’s ground-breaking BioPower models will soon be able to fill their vehicles with the fuel on which they were designed to run – at least in the northern Brisbane suburb of Virginia.

That was the message from Saab Australia at last Friday’s Brisbane motor show opening in Queensland, one of the nation’s earliest and most widespread adopters of ethanol fuel for industry and where one of the nation’s first E85 fuel bowsers will be installed by April.

“E85 is as close as weeks away from becoming a commercial reality in Australia,” said the director of GM Premium Brands (including Saab) in Australia, Parveen Batish, who announced the imminent local availability of the 85 per cent renewable fuel mix on behalf of United Petroleum.

United, Australia’s largest independent fuel retailer and a leading ethanol supplier, is awaiting local permits before E85 tanks and equipment can be installed prior to opening its 1780 Sandgate Road outlet in April.

80 center imageLeft: Ddirector of GM Premium Brands, Pareen Batish.

Saab’s 9-5 BioPower last year became Australia’s first E85 model to go on sale and was recently joined by the 9-3 sedan, convertible and (SportCombi) wagon, three of which are now on display in Brisbane for the first time and all of which can run on E85 or petrol in any mix in the same fuel tank.

But until E85 becomes officially available to them, owners of BioPower models cannot enjoy the environmental and performance benefits Saab says its “flex-fuel” engines bring.

For example, the turbocharged 2.0-litre 9-3 BioPower engine delivers 147kW and 300Nm of torque running on E85 – 29kW and 35Nm more than the equivalent petrol 9-3, which produces 129kW/265Nm. Saab says E85 can reduce CO2 emissions on a “source-to-wheel” basis (including all CO2 emitted by growing crops, producing and transporting fuel and powering the vehicle) by up to 70 per cent.

“Queensland more than any other state said told us very clearly that there was demand for alternartive-fuel cars,” said Mr Batish. “Saab has hit the ground running and launched BioPower across our entire range, generating demand for ethanol fuel which will allow our customers to enjoy the full benefits of their flex-fuel capable vehicle for the first time.” The GM-owned Swedish car-maker says that BioPower drivers in most capital cities will have access to E85 as pumps come online in coming months. For its part, United says it is looking at E85 in other major centres.

“United is a leader in marketing ethanol fuels in Australia and Queensland is a strong supporter of ethanol, so it makes sense for us to lead with E85 in this state,” said United Petroleum general manager David Szymczak.

“We hope to have Brisbane’s first commercial E85 pump available to BioPower drivers around April. Our Virginia site will give BioPower drivers in and around Brisbane easy access to E85 fuel and make it more attractive to people considering an alternative fuel vehicle to purchase a Saab BioPower.”

Read more:

GM invests in ethanol

Saab offers ‘flex-fuel’ car for Australia

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