GM hopes new Spark will jolt electric sales

November 27, 2012 by Dee-Ann Durbin
This undated image provided by General Motors shows the 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV, which will be unveiled at the 2012 Los Angles Auto Show during the week of Nov. 26, 2012. The five-door urban mini car is priced at under $25,000 with tax incentives. (AP Photo/General Motors)

General Motors is giving its Chevrolet Spark a jolt of electricity.

An all-electric version of the mini-car will debut this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It goes on sale this summer in California, Oregon, Canada and South Korea, where it's made. Other markets will follow.

Unlike the sedan, which can run in all-electric mode but also has a backup gas engine, the Spark EV is a pure electric car. GM won't say how far the car will go on a charge, but says it will be a top performer among the small number of EVs available. The current leader, the electric sedan, can go 76 miles (122 kilometers) on a charge.

The Spark EV will also be cheaper than most of its electric rivals, GM says. Exact pricing hasn't been revealed, but the car will start for less than $25,000 in the U.S. when a $7,500 is factored in. The electric Nissan Leaf starts at $27,700 with the tax credit. Like all electrics, though, the Spark is much pricier than its gasoline-powered equivalent. The gas-operated Spark starts at $12,245.

This undated image provided by General Motors shows the 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV, which will be unveiled at the 2012 Los Angles Auto Show during the week of Nov. 26, 2012. With two re-configurable, HD, seven inch color LCD screens, the Spark EV features a customizable interface. (AP Photo/General Motors)

Here are more details on everything from styling to power:

UNDER THE HOOD: The Spark EV is powered by an electric motor and a 20 kWh . It gets 130 horsepower and can go from zero to 60 mph (96 kph) in less than 8 seconds, which is several seconds faster than the gas-powered Spark. GM says the Spark EV is the first all-electric vehicle in North America to offer SAE Combo DC Fast Charge capability, which can charge the battery to 80 percent of capacity in about 20 minutes. It can also be fully recharged in seven hours using a standard 240-volt outlet, or longer using a 120-volt outlet.

INSIDE: Though it's a mini-car, it has lots of big-car touches, like leather seats and GM's . The Spark EV will have a smartphone-based infotainment system that gives drivers access to navigation and music apps like Pandora. Drivers with a compatible can link up their phones and perform tasks—like sending email or texts—by talking to Apple's Siri. The car also has 10 air bags and electronic stability control, which helps keep it steady despite its small frame.

OUTSIDE: The five-door hatchback is tiny, at 144.7 inches (367.5 centimeters) long. That's about five inches (12.5 centimeters) longer than a Fiat 500. It comes in lime green and other unusual hues.

CHEERS: GM customers will now have an all-electric option that costs less than its chief rivals. The EV could also increase buyers' interest in the gasoline version of the Spark, which went on sale in the summer.

JEERS: Demand for has been anemic so far. GM and other automakers have fallen significantly short of EV sales targets, especially as gas prices have fallen. Electrics remain expensive, and drivers are concerned about getting stranded too far from a charging station. While the Spark is great for city drivers who need to fit into tight parking spaces, those drivers may not have garages or other spots to charge up their cars at night.

Explore further: Few Sparks: GM's underwhelming electric car program


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Display comments: newest first

3 / 5 (4) Nov 27, 2012
Wow. Another Chevy electric car. What could possibly (sarcastically) be wrong with that???
3.5 / 5 (4) Nov 27, 2012
Wonder if you could rig up one of these all electric cars with a home generator for a do it yourself sort of hybrid.
3 / 5 (6) Nov 27, 2012
$32,500 - $12,245 = $20,255 premium for an electric versus gas car.
$20,225 / 3.30 gallon = 6129 gallons.
At 38 miles/gallon for the gas SPARK, and assuming zero energy cost for the electric SPARK(absurd), you would have to travel 233,000 miles to break even.
Only the rich could afford this car, and they get a $7,500 rebate from the middle class taxpayers who not only can't afford to buy the car, but can't afford the extra tax burden to subsidize the rich.
If you add in the interest/financing costs and the electricity costs for the electric SPARK the break even point would be closer to 300,000 miles.
What do you do when the battery needs replacing in 100,000 miles for $10K to $20K?
What's even more pathetic is the SPARK isn't even very aerodynamic which is why it only get 38 miles / gallon. This of course affects the range when running on batteries also.
1 / 5 (6) Nov 27, 2012
Options include the black solar cell paint, and the rooftop personal windmill for the measly sum of $27,599 (each), both of which together will easily slash the breakeven from 233,000 to under 232,000 miles.
5 / 5 (2) Nov 27, 2012
SWEET! I love the Volt! Best engineered American car built at this time. The Spark looks to be a smash hit for the early adopters. The real issue is getting the initial price point low enough that city people will adopt. Two changes need to happen, You need a charging station at home, and some sort of backup if you leave your running lights on in the early morning hours.
At 120miles/charge that should get one through most 30mile commutes.

I would be very willing to pay an additional premium for the privilege to go all electric. It's the coolness factor.

4.2 / 5 (5) Nov 28, 2012
Options include the black solar cell paint, and the rooftop personal windmill for the measly sum of $27,599 (each), both of which together will easily slash the breakeven from 233,000 to under 232,000 miles.

Uhh, stick to selling counterfeit stamps. Your attempts at humor are horrifying.
3.4 / 5 (5) Nov 28, 2012
Only the rich could afford this car
You poor American. Take the bus or slim down your pig ass

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