NEVS produces first Saab 9-3 EVs, with 124-mile range

Initial production run heading to Qingdao ahead of wider rollout.

Under its new owner, National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), Saab has reportedly started building its first all-electric 9-3 sedans.

Based on the same 9-3 platform that was under production before the Swedish brand went bankrupt, the electric variant swaps the internal-combustion engine for an electric motor and lithium-ion batteries mounted low in the chassis.

With an electric range of 20 Scandinavian miles (~124 statute miles), the 9-3 EV is capable of driving 50 percent farther than the Nissan Leaf but only half the distance of a Model S, according to Swedish magazine Auto Motor & Sport.

The initial run is said to be limited to 200 units, all of which will be shipped to the Chinese city of Qingdao for further testing ahead of a wider rollout.

The company plans to eventually extend the range as battery development increases, though it is unclear if the first volume-production edition will benefit from additional power capacity.

After testing is completed in Qingdao, shipping to global customers is expected to begin later this spring or summer. Pricing information and full specs have yet to be announced.

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