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Chevrolet releases details on the Spark EV


November 16, 2012

A side view of the Spark EV

A side view of the Spark EV

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Chevy is looking to rewrite the book on electric vehicles with its upcoming Spark EV. GM first announced that Chevrolet would be producing the car a little over a year ago, and now, new details have emerged on the upcoming electric vehicle. It looks like Chevy is aiming to improve overall power, range and charge times for electric vehicles in general.

The powerhouse in the Spark EV is an oil-cooled, permanent magnet motor. It produces 100 kW of power, which translates to roughly 130 hp. It is predicted to be able to get from 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) in a little under eight seconds, which is of course not going to rival a sports car, but is very solid in terms of electric vehicles. Chevy has borrowed heavily from its own Volt and GM’s hybrid truck models to create the propulsion system for the new Spark EV.

When it comes to electric cars, charge time is a major issue. This new model uses a SAE combo charger that will allow DC Fast Charging of up to 80 percent in about 20 minutes. However, that capability will only be available shortly after the launch of the vehicle, so it won't be around when it first launches next year.

A dedicated 240V charging system can achieve a full charge in less than seven hours. Owners can manage charging remotely using the Spark EV's smartphone application.

One thing Chevy has yet to mention is the range on a single charge. Sure, it can charge quickly with DC Fast Charging, but how far can it go? Looking forward, that will be key for the Spark EV. The car is scheduled to hit dealerships in California next summer.

Source: GM

About the Author
Dave LeClair Dave is an avid follower of all things mobile, gaming, and any kind of new technology he can get his hands on. Ever since he first played an NES as a child, he's been an absolute tech and gaming junkie. All articles by Dave LeClair

Can it charge from 120V? Lots of plug ins for top ups at companies in the cold north for plugging in block heaters.

Max Kennedy

@ Max Kennedy. Great point! I hope they design it to operate effectively in both the colder and hotter (i.e. most of Australia's) climates. Those block heaters seem to be an incredible waste of energy if there is a better alternative such as these cars.

Still 2 primary potential obstacles - range and cost. We also need to shift our thinking to adopt the new technology EV's are offering. yes they will not be suitable for everyone. But much as people adapt to public transport's limitations, our attitudes needs to embrace the EV's shortcommings. It's still a far more flexible option than public transport in most cities, and with ranges commonly exceeding 60 Miles it will be more than adequate for most people's daily needs. 80% top up in 20 Minutes is fantastic. Once charging infrastructure is commonplace, just grab a coffee while the car gets a charge!


The Tesla S made this sort of development obsolete before Chevy even first mentioned it. The only relevance this might have to electric vehicle progress is if it's priced substantially under the $40K odd (including rebate) of the much superior entry level S. Price ain't in the article, so much more than one thing to be mentioned yet.

Mark C

It has much better 0-60 mph than its gas powered sibling ( which has a zero to sixty of over 11 seconds. The average car has a zero-to-sixty mph of around eight seconds (Google it). So while this is not a Bugatti, it has decent specs for a commuter car.

Nehemiah Spencer

With the new Smart EVs priced at $25k before rebates the gauntlet has been thrown. If they can sneak in at the low 20s or, heaven forbid, $19999 then we'll have a whole new ball game.

John Christian

The only trouble with this is the electricity prices here in Australia and the distances everyone drives. Whats required is a electric car that can drive 500 km on one charge and can use either replaceable batteries or rechargeable via solar and recharged from the rotating wheels while driving. Platinum , hydrogen cells can generate enough battery power to reduce the amount of batteries normally used

Allen Clarke

Over here in Germany only one per mille of all newly registered passenger cars are electric. I doubt that there are more than 100 Opel Ampera (Chevy Volt) registered to private owners. The best selling electric car at the moment is the Renault Twizy, which is somewhere in between a micro car and a motor scooter. In my personal opinion it is all about price and range. The Chevy Spark can be bought new in Germany for less than 9000 Euro. It consumes 6 litres of fuel per 100 km, which equals 10 Euro of fuel cost. If my info is right, the electric smart will cost 20000 Euro with a battery on lease or 23000 Euro with a battery included. Let's assume that a Chevy volt will be somewhat cheaper and comes for 20000 Euro including battery. Then there is a price difference of 11000 Euro for gas, which is enough for 110000 kilometres on fuel. Given the fact that most people who have such a small car, do not drive it too much, 110000 km are enough for 12 to 15 years of usage. And if you calculate correctly, you have to admit that an electric car is not suitable for every journey, so you have to take into account that you have to borrow a petrol car every now and then in order to travel distances which are not possible with an electric car. That means that you have to own and use an electric Spark for at least 15 years, until you save money. Besides this you have to pay the 20 grand for the car at once, while the cost for the petrol is spread ove the total time of ownership. This leads to the conclusion that there is a long way to go before electric cars are competitively priced. Elecric vehicles, which are cheaper, sell better: In Gemany there are tenthousands of Pedelecs (electric bicycles) sold and running.

Frank Kemper

There are many thoughtful comments on this article. I particularly enjoyed F. Kempers comment. Why GM releases this teaser does not make sense. The electric car topic has a way of charging up people in several camps. Not enough information to take GM serious about this car, for the skeptics

No fast charger will be available at time of the cars roll out. No expected range on a single charge. No price point.

We all should understand at this point, that purchasing an electric car today is being an early adopter. It is not easy to pay $ 5,000. +premium for an EV, but if businesses see a demand. There will be competition to bring better, cheaper,easier to live with EV's to market.

For myself if GM does release the car for $20,000. 120miles per charge or better. I will test drive it, kick the tires, and if it is what they claim. I will be an early adopter as well



I would rather have an electric assisted tricycle with small storage for groceries than an expensive electric car that is so effected by heat or cold.

Sonya Jones

This platform would make a great little pickup truck.


OK solar companies... line up for partnerships... Put together a VOLUME based price for an accompanying solar PV system and couple it with the vehicle. Infinite MPG is a good selling point. Do the math. No inverter is needed if the source is DC. No downtime for recharging is needed if the battery can be produced as a quick change type.

Take a hint from the electric bike marketing idea of using a foldable backup charger, instead of jumper cables. They have already invited solar installers to become a part of the sales team.

Look to China for the robotics, they expect to sell well over 96,000 units in the coming year. These machines work 24/7 with no benefits. They should lower the bottom line manufacturing cost immensely. Especially when utilizing a solar PV powered factory (like the Ford Focus plant) And yes, I do realize that 96,000 robots working 24/7 = 384,000 jobs lost, but while we sit and worry about it, China (or other countries) will be doing it.


Well it's GM so we all know that it will be a "Fail" They don't know how not to fail.

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