NEVS Phoenix 3.x-based EV’s ready in 2018

NEVS in Trollhättan received a delegation this weekend from their largest customer to date: Panda New Energy. Its owner and chairman Chao Ma visited the SAAB Museum and took part in several meetings at the Stallbacka factory.  The company confirmed that they are committed to a long-term partnership with NEVS and that they are interested in many more cars than the 150,000 SAAB 9-3-based EV’s they ordered already, including EV’s based on the entirely new Phoenix 3.x platform.

National Electric Vehicle Sweden

Mega-order just a start?
Speaking with regional newspaper TTELA, Chao Ma stated that his company is capitalizing on the three most important issues China’s government is trying to address: oil scarcity, abundance of electricity and massive air pollution. Panda New Energy’s order is valued around EUR 10B and consists of 150,000 SAAB 9-3-based EV’s, several services, 50,000 EV mini-buses and 50,000 EV mini-vans.
Painted chassis for the 9-3-based EV’s will be manufactured in Trollhättan and further assembly will take place in the new factory in Tianjin. The other 100,000 EV’s will also be produced in China, together with local partners. A very significant order already, but there is a clear appetite for more: “For me it doesn’t make a difference if we’re talking 100,000 cars or a million”, says Chao Ma. Panda New Energy has paid one year in advance now but will be paying for the cars as they are delivered between 2017-2020.

The Phoenix is rising
NEVS president Mattias Bergman confirmed to TTELA that the Stallbacka factory is being adapted at the moment, among others to allow the production of the floors for the batteries. In addition, more production staff will be recruited around summer time so that deliveries can start in autumn.
While the first 150,000 EV’s to Panda New Energy and the 20,000 to Huateng will be based on the MY14 SAAB 9-3 platform, Bergman confirmed to TTELA that EV’s based on the newly developed Phoenix platform are planned to be ready in 2018.

In several media, the term “Phoenix” has been used, yet it’s important to distinguish the different flavours, as they fundamentally differ from each other:

  • Phoenix 1.x = MY14 SAAB 9-3 based, including NEVS’ own adaptations for EV’s.
  • Phoenix 2.0 = Work that was started by SAAB Automobile AB, not EV-compatible.
  • Phoenix 3.x = The newly developed EV platform, offering flexibility in length, width and height.

So, both the first Chinese orders and the license agreement with Turkish TÜBITAK are based on Phoenix 1.x.
The Phoenix 2.0 platform didn’t get further real-life applications, apart from the PhoeniX concept car (not to be confused with the name of the platform itself), and a few prototypes developed under SAAB Automobile between 2010-2011.
The next big leap in development is Phoenix 3.0, the EV platform NEVS has been working on since 2012. The 3.x platform is said to offer unprecedented flexibility in length, width and height, providing the basis for the four different models NEVS announced almost a month ago and that are expected to be launched from 2018 in several markets around the world.


Agreements are followed through
On Monday, Mattias Bergman confirmed to Swedish Radio that the agreements with the two new shareholders SRIT and the city of Tianjin they made earlier last year are now final. A new emission of shares was registered at Bolagsverket over the weekend and Bergman confirmed that the city of Tianjin had paid an outstanding amount of USD 60M and that both shareholders have now fullfilled their financial obligations. According to Bergman, the city of Tianjin now owns 30%, IT company SRIT 27% and the remaining  43% is owned by NEVS’ founder Kai Johan Jiang.

12 thoughts on “NEVS Phoenix 3.x-based EV’s ready in 2018

  • Saab ABmust allow the use of name
    it is important for them and for Sweden …
    I can not understand why Volvo sold him so easily and permanently stop Saab Cars

    • I agree! The front design of the Saab PhoeniX from 2011 would suit very well to the upcoming NEVS portfolio. The cars could be clearly identified as Saab. Also the design of the side bodies are typically Saab already. It shows the genes of the beautiful 9-5NG and 9-4x.
      The question is how much SAAB AB is charging NEVS for licensing the name. Assuming it will be 1000€ per unit, with an annual output of 100000 cars for the factory in Trollhättan it would be 100Mio € extra money just for licensing the name. SAAB should think about it 😉

  • This essentially confirms an assumption that I already had, namely that despite its alleged flexibility, the Saab Phoenix platform, now called Phoenix 2, is not sufficiently modifiable to be used as an EV. The requirements are just very different, in particular regarding huge space for engine/small space for energy storage (tank) versus small space for motors/ huge space for batteries.

    Which in turn means that we in fact won’t see combustion cars from NEVS anytime soon. Right?

    • I am not sure where you base this conclusion on as my article is more or less stating the opposite: both the Phoenix 1.1 and 3.x platforms are “EV-ready”, and where the 3.x will be providing the most flexibility to allow for multiple body styles and configurations. There aren’t any cars planned based on the Phoenix 2.0 architecture as far as I know. So to answer the other question, NO, there aren’t any cars with combustion engines (ICE’s) coming, but that’s hardly news anymore as this has been confirmed for quite a while now.

      • This assumption was based on the discrimination between Phoenix 2 and 3. Phoenix 2 is the original thing and namesgiver, “Work that was started by SAAB Automobile AB”. If Phoenix 2 would have been EV ready, as you call it, why would there be a Phoenix 3? Otoh, we know that Phoenix 1 is not Phoenix, but Epsilon, and that there had been some measures to put battery packs in places where they are suboptimal, like the trunk.

        • Thanks for the clarification, now I understand your reasoning.
          I guess that despite the intent to clarify, things are still somewhat confusing.

          The names “Phoenix” and “PhoeniX” were introduced in 2010 and 2011 by SAAB Automobile AB for respectively the new platform and the new concept car (based on the platform carrying the almost identical name).
          When NEVS took over in 2012, their plan was to develop, produce and market Electric Vehicles. When they assessed the assets they had acquired, the conclusion was that this Phoenix platform developed in the two years prior was 1) not ready for production yet and 2) not ready for electric powertrains.

          So work was started to further develop this platform so that would both support electric powertrains and would be flexible enough to support multiple body styles, models and configurations. This development has been going on ever since and -as Mattias Bergman stated in the interview I referenced- is expected to be completed in 2018.

          NEVS also started to work in parallel on prototype EV’s that could be ready earlier. For that purpose, the Epsilon platform was used as a basis. As they made significant changes to the platform, they chose to rename it internally to Phoenix v1. The MY14 Saab 9-3 Aero 2.0T is based on this Phoenix 1.x platform and so are the 9-3EV prototypes that have been produced so far. Your statement about battery packs in the trunk (and in the interior) is true for the EV-prototypes that were developed under SAAB Automobile AB. It is however *not* true for the developments made by NEVS- their battery packs are integrated on the chassis floor.

  • Curious to see if this big order will have an impact on the discussions about the Saab name.
    We realize that the Saab name in China might not be so important so that NEVS looks for another brand name there but if NEVS is planning to get the EV’s as well in the European and US market we do feel that he name Saab will have a merit.

    But at the end I am mostly happy that work places are again created in Trollhattan. Just a bit sour that it is still not decided if the cars produced in Trollhattan will be able to get the name Saab or not.
    Might look foolish or sentimental but it is important.

  • Hi Michèl,
    who and when started calling the platform of the MY 14 9-3 Phoenix 1? This is an old GM platform, namely Epsilon I Sweden, so don’t know why and who had renamed it. But maybe there is some legal stuff regarding the old GM naming.

    • I think the main point they are trying to achieve is to provide clarity (at least internally) as to what platform they are developing the different products on. I don’t believe there is any legal issue.
      You are correct in stating that the underlying platform to Phoenix 1.x is indeed the Epsilon platform that was developed during the GM era. NEVS however made several modifications to the original platform when they took over in 2012, including modifications for the MY14 SAAB 9-3. The latter was called Phoenix 1.0, while their further enhancements that allow electric powertrains are now being branded Phoenix 1.1.

  • Interesting news!
    So… still we’ll have to wait and see what happens… with the name for the cars MY18 outside of China. Will they have a hybrid or just ev? When and how they will show the design language for the phoenix3.x based cars… could happen soon, when thinking of what year we have now.

    • The cars will be FEV’s (Full Electric Vehicles), possibly with range extenders. No hybrids and no ICE’s (internal combustion engines = petrol or diesel).
      As for the design language: little news on this front, apart from the different body styles they are currently planning for. Having said that, statements from several sources suggest that “Swedish”, “simplicity” and “distinctive” will be key ingredients. Will be exciting to see when the first designs will be shown!

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