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Struggling NEVS Shows Off Saab 9-3 Electric Prototype

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Saab can't seem to catch a break. Tossed like a hot coal in General Motors' restructuring, its prospects unchanged by Spyker's purchase and now struggling under Chinese-Swedish firm NEVS, watching the story unfold is like watching an old friend on their death bed.

NEVS, or National Electric Vehicles Sweden, does at least appear to have been working behind the scenes. The company has produced a limited numbers of reborn Saab 9-3 Aero models, and has now shown its prototype 9-3 electric cars too. According to Green Car Reports, the firm intends to use the prototypes for further technical development of electric Saabs, both as a reference for upcoming production models and to help the rest of the company understand and experience the benefits of electric power.

The reborn Saab hasn't announced battery capacity for the cars, but does quote 0-62 mph acceleration of 10 seconds and a top speed limited to 74 mph, presumably to preserve range. The car's electric motor is rated at 100 kilowatts (140 horsepower) and range is around 125 miles--greater than that of several current production electric vehicles.

NEVS restarted production of the 9-3 back in December 2013, initially selling cars to the Chinese market but with intentions to expand sales to Saab's native Sweden. By May this year however, NEVS reported that one of its Chinese investors had failed to fulfill its contractual obligation to finance its operations.

Lack of cash put production on hold, a state in which it currently remains.

While some of Saab's suppliers recently petitioned a Swedish court to declare NEVS bankrupt, the firm says it is not insolvent and reiterated that it is suffering from a "short-term" cash flow problem. The bankruptcy petition has been withdrawn, but Saab still looks a long way from success.

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