Will This Car 'Spark' Electric Car Sales?

By EV World Staff

General Motors first introduced the EV1 electric car two decades ago to rave reviews by the handful of owners able to lease them, only then to recall and crush the most advanced EV of its time. Now they're taking another run at the all-battery automobile in the form of the Chevy Spark EV. Have the times and technology changed enough to make it more of a sales success than the ground-breaking EV1?

We are pleased to report that the pure electric car market is starting to feel a bit crowded. Once not that long ago, Nissan’s LEAF pretty much had the field to itself, then along came Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV, followed by the Coda EV, Ford Focus Electric, and Honda Fit EV. Starting next summer, they’ll be a sixth option IF you live in South Korea, parts of Canada and the USA; the latter being the states of California and Oregon, where Chevrolet will begin selling the Spark EV. Based on the gasoline version of the Spark built in South Korea, it seats four, though reviews lament its interior space that feels at once futuristic and claustrophobic. As was the case with the Volt, the Spark EV spent a lot of time being aerodynamically tweaked and in the process GM says they wrung another 2.5 miles of range from it, though the company hasn’t officially stated what the full range is, only saying it will be industry leading. Two reviewers’ experiences with pre-production prototypes suggest the range is comparable to the LEAF: around 75 miles on a 20kWh lithium battery pack, which GM is warranting for 8 years or 100,000 miles. They also point out that they’ve tested the battery to the equivalent of 200,000 miles, reporting it is ‘extremely durable.’

Maybe the most exciting feature of the car is the first use of SAE’s Combo DC Fast Charge adapter that enables the car to be rapid charged to 80% state-of-charge in 20 minutes. Normal 240V AC charging takes under 7 hours. More details on the car’s performance will be forthcoming, but this we do know, with federal tax credits, GM says it will sell for under US$25,000, anteing up the competition in pure electric cars. Let’s hope GM ends up selling more than the ZEV mandate requires, lots more.

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Originally published: 02 Jan 2013


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