Saab has been bought out of receivership by a Japanese-Chinese conglomerate which says it will use the revived carmaker to specialise in building electric vehicles. 

The newly-formed National Electric Vehicle Sweden says the first new Saab model will be a battery-powered version of the current 9-3, which is due to roll off the revived Trollhattan production lines at the end of 2013. 

NEVS bosses say that the Saab will combine Swedish expertise in manufacturing and design with Japanese EV technology and aims primarily to supply EVs to the burgeoning Chinese market. 

NEVS also says it is in negotiations with Scania and the defence and security company Saab over the use of the name and the badge.

At a press conference today, NEVS said it had bought the rights to the current 9-3 and the new Phoenix platform that was under development when Saab folded last year. It does not have the rights to build the 9-5 or 9-4x SUV.

Development of the Phoenix platform will be completed and used as the basis of a new generation of electric vehicles. 

NEVS is expected to launch a production version of the Saab 9-3 ePower, which was unveiled nearly two years ago. It was powered by a 184bhp electric motor and driven by a 35.5kWh lithium-Ion battery which was positioned under the floor. The car was claimed to hit 62mph in 8.4 seconds. Saab said the car’s battery would give full power even at -30Cdeg.

Kai Johan Jiang, one of the founders of NEVS and a fluent Swedish speaker, owns Hong-Kong based National Modern Energy Holdings Ltd, a major shareholder in State Power Group which runs 28 biomass power plants in China. 

NEVS is also backed by the Japanese Sun Investment group, which specialises in backing green technologies. NEVS say it is in a strong position to move forward with the re-birth of Saab because it already has long-term funding and there is no need for government approval of its plans from Asia, a common hurdle for many automotive tie-ups between Europe and China.