Eco-friendly car buyers throughout the U.S. were anxiously awaiting the release of Chevy’s newest subcompact car, the Spark . Now that its release has come and gone, it is time to focus on the upcoming electric variant. After testing the car for quite some months, Chevrolet will officially unveiled the new Spark EV at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show.
With the Spark EV, Chevrolet adds another car to its electric-powered lineup that includes the Chevrolet Volt, a car that accounts for more than 50 percent of all plug-in electric-vehicle sales in the United States. Building on Chevrolet’s tried and tested electric motor and battery development program; it is expected to have among the best EV battery range in its segment and will be the first electric vehicle to offer SAE Combo DC Fast Charging capability that enables the Spark EV to reach 80-percent battery charge in just 20 minutes. That may not compare to the several minutes it takes to fuel-up your gasoline-powered car, but it’s certainly the fastest in its segment.
Will the Chevrolet Spark EV be another boring electric car to impress the government or is it one of the very few cars that are capable of drawing new customers towards the noble cause of environmental protection?
UPDATE 5/23/2013: Chevy has just released the base price for the new Spark EV, as well as a special lease offer. See more after the jump.
gallery: Chevrolet Spark
Exterior and Interior
The exterior of the Spark EV just looks identical to any petrol powered Spark, save for the redesigned front bumpers and the body-colored grille. There’s nothing wrong with the design. It looks active and energetic for a mini hatchback. We are happy that Chevrolet didn’t throw in a pretentious facelift to the already good design, so that it can stand out from its gasoline-powered twin.
On the inside, Chevrolet bragged about the Spark EV’s infotainment system. In the Spark EV, critical vehicle functions are intuitively displayed on one of the vehicle’s two high-resolution, seven-inch color LCD screens, including a confidence gauge that shows the expected driving range based on driving habits and other conditions. The Spark EV also will keep urban drivers musically connected with Chevrolet’s exclusive MyLink radio that comes standard and safely brings smartphone-based infotainment – including apps for BringGo full-function navigation, TuneIn global internet radio, Pandora and Stitcher – into the vehicle. Apple’s Siri will ride shotgun, for customers with compatible (4S and newer) iPhones.
Power and Range
The key selling point of the Spark EV is its power output. For an electric mini, 130 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque are pretty stout numbers. That’s a significant difference when compared to the 84 horsepower found under its gasoline-powered sibling’s hood. What’s more humiliating is that the electric motor makes nearly five times the torque of the gasoline engine, delivering 400 pound-feet instead of 83. With all that unnecessary torque and power, the car sprints from 0 to 60 mph in under eight seconds, which is pretty exciting for a compact EV.
Thanks to the 20 kWh lithium ion battery the Spark EV is expected to provide among the best EV range performance in its segment. Its range is roughly calculated to come around 60 miles. Its big brother, the Volt — a car from which the Spark EV’s engineers borrowed liberally — is good for about 40 miles, while the Nissan Leaf does an average 58 miles.
Chevrolet promised us a price of under $25k after federal tax credit, and boy did it deliver that and then some. The Spark EV starts at $27,495 (destination charge included) and the maximum tax credit is $7,500. Rough math tells us that this puts the new compact EV at a total price of $19,995. Additional credits from certain states can lower the price all the way down to $17,495.
Chevy is also offering a 36-month lease for $199 per month with only $999 due at signing.
The Spark EV will hit dealers in California and Oregon in mid-June 2013 and other markets may get a crack at it, if sales go well.
The Spark EV takes competition from the likes of the Nissan Leaf and the Fiat 500e, to a name of a few.
For the 2013 model year, the Nissan Leaf gains a new entry-level model that comes in at only $28,800 before federal tax credits – over $6,000 less than the 2012 base model. From there, even the SV and SL trim levels are steeply discounted from last year. The leaf also offers the same $199 per month 36-month lease.
Additionally, a new 6.6 kW onboard charger reduces the Leaf’s 220-volt charging times by half on the SV and SL models only. The S model still has the 4- to 8-hour charging time of the 2012 model. Its range was also improved to 83 miles at full charge and 75 miles, on average, at 90-percent charge. It is rated at 115 MPGe combined, beating both the 500e and Spark EV.
The Fiat 500e comes in at $31,800, making it far more expensive than the Spark EV, but it is also a different breed of car. The 500e is more stylish and features higher-end equipment. Unfortunately, performance figures are still unknown, but it is estimated at a respectable 108 MPGe.
Powerful 130 horsepower electric engine
Top-class infotainment system
Lowest-priced EV in the U.S.
Not to be considered a premium alternative
gallery: Chevrolet Spark EV
Chevrolet Spark EV is Pure, Electric Fun
Competitively priced under $25,000 with tax incentives
- Expected range among best in EV segment
- Advanced, U.S.-built motor and drive unit deliver best-in-class acceleration
- Two seven-inch, high-resolution LCD screens display key vehicle functions and infotainment
- Initial markets include California, Oregon, Canada, South Korea and other global markets
- Optional SAE Combo DC Fast Charging capability enables Spark EV to charge to 80 percent in 20 minutes
LOS ANGELES – The 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV, introduced today ahead of the Los Angeles International Auto Show, packs smart performance and connectivity technologies into an affordable five-door urban mini car designed to make the trip as electrifying as the destination. It will be priced under $25,000 with tax incentives.
With the Chevrolet Volt, Chevrolet accounts for more than 50 percent of all plug-in electric vehicle sales in the United States and Spark EV builds on Chevrolet’s proven electric motor and battery development programs. When it goes on sale next summer, the Spark EV is expected to have among the best EV battery range in its segment and be the first electric vehicle to offer SAE Combo DC Fast Charging capability, enabling the Spark EV to reach 80-percent battery charge in just 20 minutes.
“When you engineer a technology-filled, all-electric mini car that goes from zero-to-60 mph in less than eight seconds, customers won’t miss the gas,” said Mark Reuss, president, General Motors North America. “The Volt and now the Spark EV show that Chevrolet not only knows EVs better than anyone else, we also know how to help customers get the most out of their EV experience.”
Inside the Spark EV, critical vehicle functions are clearly and intuitively displayed on one of the vehicle’s two reconfigurable, high-resolution, seven-inch color LCD screens, including a confidence gauge that shows the expected driving range based on driving habits and other conditions.
Spark EV also will keep urban drivers musically connected with Chevrolet’s exclusive MyLink radio that comes standard and safely brings smartphone-based infotainment – including apps for BringGo full-function navigation, TuneIn global internet radio, Pandora and Stitcher – into the vehicle. Apple’s Siri will ride shotgun, for customers with compatible (4S and newer) iPhones.
In addition to previously announced markets including California and South Korea, Spark EV will also go on sale in participating dealerships throughout Oregon, Canada and other global markets. Spark EV will be eligible for coveted high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes in California.
The soul of Spark EV