It’s true that the words “fun” and “electric vehicle” don’t usually feature in the same sentence, especially if the vehicle in question is a city car.
Chevrolet, though, claims that the 2014 Spark EV, which was officially introduced ahead of its world debut at the LA Auto Show tomorrow, offers both one of the best ranges among electric vehicles on sale today and a sub-8.0 seconds 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) acceleration time.
The electric plug-in sub-compact is powered by a GM-designed coaxial drive unit and an electric motor that has an output of 130HP (110 kW) and a startling 400 lb-ft (542 Nm) of torque. It also features a 560-pound (254 kg) square lithium-ion battery back that comprises 336 prismatic cells, has a volume of 133 lt and comes with an eight year/100,000-mile warranty.
Both the drive unit and the motor will be assembled in GM’s White Marsh plant, and that’s the first time that a U.S. automaker has built a complete electric motor and drive unit for a pure EV model in the States.
“When you engineer a technology-filled, all-electric mini car that goes from zero-to-60 mph in less than eight seconds, customers won’t miss the gas”, said Mark Reuss, president of General Motors North America. “The Volt and now the Spark EV show that Chevrolet not only knows EVs better than anyone else, we also know how to help customers get the most out of their EV experience.”
GM says that the Spark EV will go on sale next summer not only in previously announced markets, like California and South Korea, but also in certain dealerships in Oregon, Canada and in other global markets. In the U.S., it will be priced at US$25,000 including tax incentives and is eligible for California’s High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) highway lanes.
Additionally, it will be the first electric vehicle to offer SAE Combo DC Fast Charging capability, which enables an 80-percent charge in just 20 minutes, while its on-board charging receptacle is compatible with all charging platforms (AC 240V, AC 120V and DC Fast Charge). According to the company, the charging time via a dedicated 240V outlet is less than seven hours.
Inside, the Spark EV features two reconfigurable, high-resolution 7-inch LCD screens with a “confidence” gauge that displays the estimated remaining range. It also sports Chevrolet's MyLink smartphone-based infotainment system that includes a number of apps
Last, but not least, Spark EV owners with an Apple iPhone 4S or a newer phone will be able to use the Siri voice-recognition feature. This app allows the driver, among other things, to select music, composing text, use navigation and make phone calls without his/her hands leaving the steering wheel and their eyes the road at all times.
By Andrew Tsaousis