Under ownership of National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), which acquired the main assets of Saab when it of business in 2012, the Trollhättan factory will begin building 9-3 EVs in the second half of 2018. It will be the brand’s second production plant, joining the Tianjin facility in north-eastern China.
Tianjin, which has now begun building the 9-3 EV for the Chinese market, has an initial capacity of 50,000 units per year but is planned to be expanded to enable production of 220,000 vehicles per year by 2019.
The 9-3 EV is based on the underpinnings of the Saab 9-3 and has a similar exterior design but ditches the old model’s drivetrain. It has a claimed range of 186 miles and features wi-fi connectivity, over-the-air update software capability and smartphone-controllable vehicle charging.
The 9-3 EV has formed the base for a 9-3X EV, an electric crossover that will be produced for China but could also be expanded to reach into Europe and elsewhere. NEVS aims to use its growing model line-up to become one of the world's biggest makers of electric cars.
It has stated that it plans to operate 'mobility pilot' schemes of the 9-3 EV in Sweden and elsewhere in Europe in 2020.
As part of its push, NEVS is planning to open a second factory in China, where electric car demand has skyrocketed due to stringent emissions limits. It's also considering opening a factory in Turkey.
NEVS chairman Kai Johan Jiang told Automotive News that his company has already received around 300,000 orders for its electric cars from ride-sharing firms such as Panda New Energy.
NEVS is based in Sweden but has strong ties to China, being co-owned by several big companies from the area: National Modern Energy Holdings, Tianjin Binhai Hi-Tech Industrial Development Area and Beijing State Research Information Technology Company.