Saab EV-1 Concept Car

Saab’s first concept car - the acronym stood for Experimental Vehicle Number One - was a fully functioning design study based on Saab 900 turbo running gear. First shown at the Los Angeles Auto Expo, it was truly a car ahead of its time.

The futuristic, 2+2 coupé styling from designer Björn Envall included the use of solar power as an alternative energy source, long before such technology was popularized. Solar cells were embedded in the glass roof and powered an electric fan to provide cooling and ventilation inside the cabin.

Window demisting was achieved by near invisible tungsten wiring woven into the glass. The technology was later adopted for production cars. Another feature to be seen in production was EV-I’s ‘black panel’ instrument illumination cut-off facility. It used a principle derived from aircraft cockpit design and was introduced in the second generation Saab 900 in 1993.

EV-I’s front and rear bodywork was constructed from Aramid reinforced glass fiber, and the bumper sections were designed to resume their original shape after a light impact. Safety requirements were met by lightweight carbon-fiber side impact protection within the doors. Continuing the lightweight theme, the front seats were half the weight of conventional seats but retained full electric power functionality, including adjustment of the side bolsters.

The narrow, high-efficiency headlamps illuminated the road even better than much larger conventional units.

Power came from a production-based, 2.0-liter, 16-valve turbo engine giving 285hp, over 100 hp more than a standard engine. It enabled zero to 100 kph acceleration in just 5.9 seconds, performance comparable to some of the best sports cars of the time.

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