Saab to launch revolutionary green car

Swedish carmaker Saab is to showcase the world's first ethanol-electric hybrid car at next week's

Stockholm car show, Dagens Industri (DI) has reported.

Unlike the Toyota Prius which combines an electric motor with a petrol engine, Saab’s hybrid will combine an electric motor with an E85 Ethanol engine.

Ethanol, or grain alcohol, is produced by fermenting biomass, usually corn. The ingredient emits no greenhouse gases in itself, but when used in vehicles is blended in a mixture of 85 pct ethanol, and 15 percent unleaded petrol, hence the E85 name.

Saab, a subsidiary of General Motors, has been developing the hybrid in conjunction with Lund Technical University in southern Sweden, and claims that whereas the Prius emits 104 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre, its new E85 engine hybrid should emit just 15-20 grams.

Saab’s chief executive Jan-Ake Jonsson declined to comment on when the company will start to produce and sell the the new hybrids.

“It’s in our production plan but I don’t want to say when it will be,” said Jonsson.

However, DI said the most likely date is around 2010.