The Chevrolet Spark EV appears to be a game-changer in the all electric small car market.
At least that might be the case if you’re living in Oregon or California, the only states that Chevrolet will be selling the Spark EV in for now. While no mention of any expansion was made, we probably shouldn’t expect a decision to be made anytime soon.
For one, there still aren’t a lot of these models around and it can be argued that sales of the Spark EV will be on a limited basis. If the model proves to be a hit, like Chevrolet is banking on, then we might see more states get their hands on the all-electric Spark.
For now, it’s Oregon and California, two states that look to be perfect markets for the Spark EV. One place is a blessing to drive on with scenic routes all around while the other is, well, let’s just say if you want to make the most out of an EV, California’s the place to be.
As far as the car itself, we love the overall make-up of the Spark EV, so much that we’d be very surprised if this model isn’t a success sooner than later.
Click past the jump to read about the Chevrolet Spark EV.
The exterior of the Spark EV does not look drastically different from the standard Spark model. There are a number of aerodynamic modifications done to the Spark EV that people may not even notice.
For one, full-length underbody panels were installed to help reduce drag and improve its handling abilities. The grille, normally served as cosmetic as much as for aerodynamic purposes, comes with an automatic shutter system that helps to reduce drag and guide airflow around the vehicle.
And since the Spark EV is an electric car, it was important for Chevrolet to have enough space for the battery pack without compromising the cargo space, so it packaged the whole setup under the car, saving that valuable space while keeping the car’s looks intact.
Probably one of the most surprising details about the Spark EV are the hidden rear door handles on the C-Pillar. Not only does it accomplish the look of making the car look more confident and streamlined, but there’s that added element of welcome surprise when you find it and say, "Hey! It’s a five-door!"
The Spark EV is available in five different exterior colors: Summit White, Silver Ice, Electric Blue, Titanium and Black Granite (an extra-cost color).
|Width, Max without mirrors (in)||64||64|
|Track Width, Front (in)||55.5||55.5|
|Track Width, Rear (in)||54.8||54.8|
|Base Curb Weight (lbs)||2,989||2,989|
- Outside power-adjustable, body-color mirrors
- Tire inflation kit
- Wiper, rear, continuous, with washer
- Wipers, front intermittent, variable
- Body-color door handles
- Moldings, chrome belt-line
- Rocker molding, body-color, lower
- Spoiler, rear with integrated LED center high-mounted stop/brake lamp
With the exception of a few details, the Spark EV’s interior doesn’t change a whole lot from its gas-powered counterparts. Of the few differences, the most notable is the smaller cargo capacity for the Spark EV, a pretty big deal given the already tight dimensions of the car as it is. The Spark EV offers 1.8 cubic-feet of cargo space when the rear seats are up and 7.8 cubic-feet when they’re folded.
The two trims of the Spark EV - the 1LT and the 2LT - come with some interior differences, too, albeit not significant enough to make them two completely different cabins. Cloth seats are used in the 1LT while the 2LT gets the added treat of getting leatherette and a leatherette-covered steering wheel.
The use of plastic on the interior isn’t something we’re going to worry about. It is a Spark, after all. And besides, the way Chevrolet designed the consoles gets some good nods from us. It’s not too complicated nor is it too tacky; it’s cleanly balanced with all the buttons, especially the added EV-related ones, spaced out just fine that it doesn’t look befuddling to the driver. The steering wheel could be uncomfortable for some people, but it’s something that we all have to deal with on other cars anyway.
|Front Head Room (in)||39.4||39.4|
|Front Hip Room (in)||48||48|
|Front Leg Room (in)||42||42|
|Front Shoulder Room (in)||50.7||50.7|
|Passenger Volume (ft3)||86||86|
|Second Head Room (in)||37.3||37.3|
|Second Hip Room (in)||47.5||47.5|
|Second Leg Room (in)||35.2||35.2|
|Second Shoulder Room (in)||49.71||49.71|
|Chevrolet MyLink Radio||Standard||Standard|
|6-speaker audio system||Standard||Standard|
|SiriusXM Satellite Radio1 with 3 trial months||Standard||Standard|
|Lighting, dimming instrument panel cluster||Standard||Standard|
|Lighting, interior overhead courtesy lamp with OnStar controls||Standard||Standard|
|Lighting, rear cargo compartment lamp||Standard||Standard|
|Front high-back bucket seats||Standard||Standard|
|Trim, seat, leatherette||N/A||Standard|
|Driver 4-way manual seat adjuster||Standard||Standard|
|Seat, rear, 60/40-split, folding with adjustable outboard headrests||Standard||Standard|
|Steering column, Tilt-Wheel||Standard||Standard|
|Steering-wheel mounted audio and phone interface controls||Standard||Standard|
|Steering wheel, leather-wrapped, 3-spoke, Silver accents||N/A||Standard|
|Cargo security shelf, rear||Standard||Standard|
|Map pocket, front passenger seatback||Standard||Standard|
|Armrest, driver, folding||Standard||Standard|
|Floor mats, carpeted front and rear with driver heel pad, EV logo and Electric Blue surging||Standard||Standard|
|Cruise control, electronic with set and resume speed, steering wheel-mounted||Standard||Standard|
|Mirror, inside rearview manual day/night||Standard||Standard|
|OnStar with 3 years of Directions & Connections Plan||Standard||Standard|
|Theft-deterrent system, content theft alarm||Standard||Standard|
|Windows, power, front and rear||Standard||Standard|
The powertrain on the Chevrolet Spark EV is a little complicated, in part because the system Chevrolet used is similar to what it has on the Volt, albeit with a few nips and tucks here and there.
In the case of the Spark EV, the battery takes the form of a 21 kWh lithium-ion that’s comprised of 336 cells. If that doesn’t get your attention, the compact EV’s performance numbers surely will.
Why so? Because the Spark EV is capable of producing 140 horsepower and a staggering 400 pound-feet of torque. That’s serious power, folks, and one that doesn’t hide behind falling torque curves instantaneously. The Spark EV’s torque numbers stay intact until you hit the upper rev range, at which point it falls back down. Chevrolet so claims that the Spark EV can hit 60 mph in just 7.6 seconds, which if accurate means that it blows most of its EVs out of the water in that regard.
As for the aforementioned battery, there are numerous ways for the Spark EV’s battery to be charged, chief among them is a regular 120V household outlet that takes 17 hours to fully charge from empty. If you can’t wait that long, you can opt for a stage two 240V charger that takes just 7 hours on a stage-three fast charger that can bring up your battery life to 80 percent capacity in just under 20 minutes. The last option, however, is still not available and will probably be treated as an option by the time it hits dealerships later this year.
|Drivetrain||Front Wheel Drive|
|0-60 mph time (seconds)||7.6 (est)|
|Top speed (mph)||120 (est)|
Suspension and Braking
The Spark EV relies on a MacPheson Strut front suspension and a compound crank rear suspension handling its tough duties. Brakes, on the other hand, come in the form of four-wheel disc brakes with ABS.
Suspension and Braking Specifications
|Front Suspension||MacPherson Strut|
|Rear Suspension||Compound Crank|
|Turning Circle (ft.)||33.8 ft|
The base model of the Spark EV’s costs about $26,685 and $27,495 if its "competitively equipped". Using the latter price as an example, that number will most likely drop further down due to federal tax incentives and in the case of California’s added state tax incentives, could see the Spark EV costing a little as $16,000, give or take a little
The EV market is a tricky segment these days, in part because of the plethora of models that are currently being offered to the public. That being said, only a handful of these EVs can be considered as competitors to the Spark EV.
Smart has never been known to be conventional when it comes to its design and the fortwo electric drive exudes that spirit to a tee. Not that there’s anything wrong with that because the car looks pretty good to us, both in an economical and environmental sense.
But if there’s one aspect where the fortwo electric drive falls short to the Spark EV, it’s in the performance department. It can only produce somewhere around 75 horsepower and 100 pound-feet of torque, good enough for an 11-second run to 60 mph. but not good enough to even come close to sniffing the Spark EV’s performance numbers.
Gallery Smart Fortwo electric drive
The i-MiEV from Mitsubishi is another interesting competitor. Looks-wise, it can more than hold its own against the Spark EV. It’s also got enough space to accommodate as many as five adults, something the Spark EV can also do but with lesser space to do it. It could also be a drawback for Mitsubishi that the i-MiEV has a higher base price of $29,125. That’s not something you can just sweep under the rug, especially considering the market these EVs are supposedly catering to.
Gallery Mitsubishi U.S Spec i-MiEV
There’s a lot to like about the Chevrolet Spark EV. Even for a car characterized as such, it’s got some serious performance capabilities under its hood, something you normally don’t find with EVs of these class. It could’ve looked better than how it’s being presented, but other than that, the Spark EV can possibly lay claim to being the best electric small car on the market today.
- Peformance numbers are awesome
- Classy looking interior
- Handling is better than we thought
- Limited range
- Exterior looks could be better
- Competitive market