This electric-powered van was made in Massachusetts and used many Saab parts. It may be considered the first electric Saab, even though SAAB only supplied the parts. Some sources say SAAB built this prototype but other research indicates they didn’t have much to do with the development of this electro van.
They say SAAB did make some changes to make it suitable for the Swedish postal service but it is not immediately clear what those changes were. Electromotion also made one (or more) with right-hand drive for the US Postal Service as shown in the article images below.
Even though SAAB didn’t develop this electric delivery van, it is still an interesting part of Saab history and contains many parts from Saab cars. But it is a stretch to support claims about this vehicle having been developed by SAAB.
This Saab electro van was acquired from a private collection in the Netherlands and was purchsed by NEVS. It was shown at an event in November 2015. The Dutch car magazine was at this event and made a video about it. The video is in Dutch but you can find a translation and more information of it here on Saabblog: link
This same electric van was offered for sale on the German mobile.de website in 2009 as reported by Swade on SaabsUnited.
It was purchased from the Saab Museum in Overschild, Netherlands that was closed not too long ago.
One of these Electromotion vans was for sale in the USA on eBay last year.
Up for bid is an incredibly rare 1970’s ELECTRO MOTION Model T3 Van.Comes with the original owner manual made by Electro-Motion.The van was purchased from the estate of an EV enthusiast. Was kept inside for storage at his estate. The van has not been started since having been purchased this summer. It was last registered 2003. Currently the van has one flat tire but it can be inflated long enough to be moved onto a trailer for towing. The tire size is 165 SR 15. It also has at least 6 deep cycle batteries in it. I haven’t gone all the way through it so there may be a few more far up the battery bank. The batteries are untested.
This article from Old Cars Weekly provides the most detailed and probably most accurate information about the Saab electro van: link
The vehicle itself was a very clever design. A small 1/3-ton delivery van, it was powered by 14 batteries carried in a tray that ran along its backbone. The tray slid out to the rear of the vehicle for easier servicing of the batteries and to allow for quick changing of the entire battery pack. A Saab 93 transaxle gave it front-wheel drive, unique in small van-type vehicles back then. The little van rode on Saab 99 wheels, and the 99’s famous energy-absorbing bumpers were also fitted. The parts were supplied by Saab-Scania, apparently on credit.
There was a new name for the van, too. The press release referred to it as the “Saab electric delivery van prototype.” Apparently, the Swedish engineers liked it so much they decided to call it their own. It certainly didn’t cost much to produce!
In 1977, another Saab electric van appeared, this time wearing the truncated front fenders and grille of a Saab 99 sedan. This second Saab van may have been a revision of the first van, but the specs are different, so perhaps this one was all Saab.
Some pictures found on eBay:
1973 Electromotion TSL T3 Electric Van Truck