Automakers are working hard to find the “sweet spot” for electric vehicle pricing. For GM and its soon-to-launch Chevy Spark EV, the sweet spot for pricing is right around $25,000 after federal tax incentives, making it one of the more affordable EVs on the market. But will that help the Spark EV sell better than the competition?
That seems to be GM’s hope, and just a few days away from the “official” unveiling comes a few other key details that make the Spark EV seem like a serious contender. GM already let slip that the Chevy Spark EV will have pretty good acceleration of 0 to 60 mph in under 8 seconds thanks to an available 400 ft-lbs of torque and 130 horsepower. Yet the 20 kWh battery pack is still expected to deliver as much, if not more range than similar EVs on the market.
Now comes word that after incentives, the Chevy Spark EV will cost “less than” $25,000. That puts the before-incentive price at $32,500. That makes the Spark EV cheaper than the Nissan Leaf, but more expensive than both the Mitsubishi i and Smart ForTwo Electric Drive, slated to be the cheapest EV on the market.
In addition, the Chevy Spark EV will be the first electric car equipped with the newly-approved SAE Combo charger, that will allow for both Level 2 and Level 3 charging. This will allow the Spark EV to be charged to 80% capacity in just 20 minutes, another huge advantage over the competition.
If you ask me, it looks like GM put a lot more effort into the Spark EV than some other automakers and their compliance cars. Another example of this are the improved aerodynamics, which GM says added an extra 2.5 miles to the range of their little electric car. GM will also be selling the Spark EV in California, Oregon, Canada, and South Korea, dismissing the notion of the Spark EV as a “compliance car.” The only design choice I question is the inclusion of two 7-inch LCD screens. While not exactly energy intensive, how much more range might a more standard setup have netted?
So far, the Chevy Spark EV sounds like it has the potential to really make an impact. But with sales starting in just a couple of states, most of the country won’t even be able to see one in person. Maybe once GM fills in the blanks (like the official range), more people will be open to trying out the General’s second take on pure-electric vehicles.