Chevrolet Spark EV To Debut This Month At LA Auto Show

4 years ago by Inside EVs Staff 12

Chevrolet Spark EV to Make World Premiere at Los Angeles Auto Show

General Motors will debut its first all-electric vehicle, the Spark EV, this month at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the company announced today.

2014 Chevy Spark EV Shown Testing Outside Yuma, AZ Earlier This Year

The Spark EV is all part of the remaking of the Chevrolet brand, and is one of 13 new or significantly redesigned products that Chevy will be launching in 2013.  The company will also be showcasing the expanded functionality of an advanced version of MyLink, which will first be seen in the upcoming 2014 Impala.

“The Spark EV and next-generation of MyLink demonstrate Chevrolet’s commitment to delivering the advanced technologies that today’s consumers will be eager to adopt and truly value,” Chris Perry, vice president of Global Chevrolet Marketing.

We must note that GM does not have a lot of confidence that today’s customers will be that eager to adapt to the Spark EV, as reports have it being held to a very limited production run, more on the scale of a compliance car, for its US debut.

GM says that building on the success the gas version of the Spark has been met with, “the plug-in electric version of the Spark EV will offer consumers the same package that has made the gasoline-powered model so popular while delivering the technology and performance of pure electric power.”

Very little is known on the electric Spark, other than an 85 kW (114 bhp) motor  will be powered by a 20 kWh battery provided by A123; or rather by whatever company controls its automotive business after a bankruptcy hearing next month.  List of suitors include Chinese part giant Wanxiang and Johnson Controls.

Early pricing estimates by analysts put the car at just under $30,000; although $27,499 sounds really good to us, which would let Chevy advertise it as $19,999 after federal credit.

InsideEVs spoke to GM spokesperson Annalisa Bluhm, and she noted the Spark EV will indeed be built in 2013 in South Korea (Changwon), and will be sold later in 2013 in the United States as a 2014 model.

Hopefully, the Spark EV’s debut will also fill in all the blanks on what the car can do, and more importantly, how much it costs.

Chevrolet Media

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12 responses to "Chevrolet Spark EV To Debut This Month At LA Auto Show"

  1. Brian says:

    Given their testing in Yuma, I sure hope their batteries will fare better than the Leaf’s have in Arizona. Yuma is definitely the hottest place I’ve had the misfortune of visiting, usually hovering 5-10 degrees above Phoenix.

    Other than that, though, Chevy will have a hard time marketing this next to the CHAdeMO-equiped Leaf (at least in CHAdeMO-equiped markets such as CA, OR and WA). I sure hope previous reports that this car will come with the SAE frankenplug have some merit. Or any kind of quick charging, really.

    1. GeorgeS says:

      Brian,
      that is the one thing that makes this car unique:
      It has liquid cooled batteries.

      1. Brian says:

        That’s a selling point above the Leaf, but isn’t really unique. The Ford Focus Electric also has liquid cooled batteries. We have yet to see them tough out an Arizona summer, though.

        More importantly, I really want to see the SAE combo plug on this thing. I think I saw a report that they were planning to, but I cannot find it now. I eagerly away the LA auto show, although I’m not about to fly out there to see for myself.

        1. taser54 says:

          Given that Chevy has far more experience with liquid cooling batteries on production cars than Ford, I’d presume that Chevy’s Engineers know what they are doing with the design of the cooling system for the Spark.

  2. Jackson says:

    In my opinion, this range class of EV will only fill niches here. I agree that Spark EV will only be a compliance car in the US. Other parts of the world will be another matter …

    Let a pure EV attain a range/cost breakthrough, and things will change. I don’t look for this in the near future. it can’t be supported by existing battery technology and volumes. But mainly, it would benefit GM, Ford, Tesla and Fisker to concentrate on increasing range/lowering costs for their existing gas/electric lines in the nearer term.

    1. Brian says:

      In general, I agree. What’s worse, the lowish cost, ~75 mile range BEV segment is now “teeming” with options. This is a niche segment, and Chevy/Ford/etc are going to have a real uphill battle trying to compete against the Leaf for those limited numbers of sales. Heck, Ford isn’t even trying to compete. Yes, you can order a Focus Electric if you want, and they’ll happily build it for you, but they aren’t actively trying to sell them like Nissan is. We’ll see what Chevy does, but I’m guessing they’ll follow a path similar to Ford.

  3. James says:

    What begins to sink in to a potential mini car buyer
    is that most do not get that good of gas mileage. It
    all boils down to the weight of the vehicle and how
    much torque and hp it takes to get it rolling at a
    rate acceptable to most people. Just look at a
    Honda Fit or a Fiat 500 and your jaw drops at
    the pathetic mileage figures you’ll get if you
    buy the penalty box to save on fuel!

    Calculators come out and people start figuring
    out how long it’d take for the cost-hike of
    an EV version of the same model to pay
    for itself in savings. It’s good the SparkEV
    is a limited production unit only if GM
    has energy density on it’s mind and an
    Envia (or ? ) battery will soon make it
    into this equation. Once a cost equivelant equation
    arises, it’s a no-brainer to get the EV,
    especially if it’ll get you 200 miles range!

    It all gets really complicated when the
    entire, “what battery chemistry and
    company have we commitments with?”
    issue arises. It looks like car and battery
    companies have about 4 years to get
    this momentum thing going, or it may
    be quits for the electric car.

    BEVs lesser than Teslas don’t have
    much of a mass-market appeal
    as they are to date. Sparks in their
    ICE form aren’t exactly flying off
    the lots to date, so a pricey
    electric version doesn’t seem
    to be an answer to any but the
    die-hard environmentalist or eager
    early adopter who needs a second
    or third car.

    City dwellers who need a tiny
    compact they can actually
    find parking space for still
    need a car they can occasionally
    drive out of the city in. Even with
    the pathetic mileage numbers
    tiny subcompacts offer today,
    an EV option doesn’t offer
    a very practical option at
    today’s prices.

  4. GeorgeS says:

    article quote:

    ” although $27,499 sounds really good to us, which would let Chevy advertise it as $19,999 after federal credit.”

    Exactly,,, that is what needs to happen to sell this car.

    1. Stuart22 says:

      Absolutely right on. Under $20k after all is said and done is right where a decently engineered BEV needs to be priced.

  5. Raymondjram says:

    I ask if anyone from InsideEVs will attend the LA Auto Show to see the new electric vehicles, including the Chevy Spark EV. I love to see a good report on the Spark EV and compare it with the others (one is the Fiat 500e).

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Doesn’t look like it Raymond,

      We have a little hole in our ‘staff ‘roster for this month…as we lost our left coast guy, and are looking to fill that writing position (again). Lyle has the New York scene (and auto show for March) covered, and I have the NAIAS out of Detroit in January (ELR debut+), and the CAIS (Canadian International AutoShow) in February.

      So barring a ‘new face’ to the team in the next 2.5 weeks (or someone who wants to do some spot duty), we will be at the mercy of 2nd hand reports for LA.

  6. Malcolm Scott says:

    Here is a first drive review, with an Australian point of view. It looks like this EV is quite a good next iteration to wider acceptance of EVs.

    http://www.carsguide.com.au/news-and-reviews/car-reviews-road-tests/holden_barina_spark_electric_first_drive_review