It has been more than a decade since General Motors produced an electric vehicle for the public to buy or lease, and there is a lot riding on the Chevy Spark EV. While some may claim it is nothing more than a “compliance car”, the 82 mile rating combined with 400 ft-lbs of torque shows GM is at least serious enough to keep pace with the competition, if not exceed it.
The Chevy Spark will utilize a 21 kWh battery pack provided by the former A123 Systems (now called B456), and under the EPA testing cycle this pack provides an average of 82 miles per charge. While the Fiat 500E gets 87 miles per charge, the Nissan Leaf gets just 73, and the Honda Fit EV is rated at the same 82 miles per charge. Par for course here. However, the 119 MPGe rating puts it one MPGe above the Fiat 500E, making it the “most efficient” EV on the market by that measure. GM claims to have a 200 mile EV in the works as well, but that is still years out.
But what could set the Chevy Spark EV apart from the competition is cost. The Fiat 500E costs $32,500 before tax breaks, and the Honda Fit EV can only be leased for $400 a month right now. GM has hinted that after tax incentives, the Chevy Spark EV could be had for as little as $25,000 or even less, making it more affordable than the first-generation Nissan Leaf (which has since seen its MSRP drop by thousands of dollars).
What excites me the most is that the Spark EV will have an electric motor making 130 horsepower and 400 ft-lbs of torque, allowing it to zip from 0-60 mph in under 8 seconds. While not sports car fast, that is more akin to the acceleration of a stand, gas-powered car than most EVs. Could be a fun ride, but I’m still waiting to see the price tag before giving it my blessing.
Read the full press release on the next page.