Chevy Spark EV Gets One Step Closer to Launch With Kick Off of Electric Motor Production in US (Video)

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 12

Chevrolet Spark EV Coming To America Ahead Of Schedule

Chevrolet Spark EV Coming To America Ahead Of Schedule

With InsideEVs officially confirming that the 2014 Chevy Spark EV will launch earlier than expected (July instead of “late Summer 2013) in the US, it’s no surprise that production of the electric motor that powers the battery-only Spark commenced today at General Motors’ Baltimore Operations plant in White Marsh, Maryland.

With production of the electric motor now underway, GM can lay claim to becoming the “first U.S.-based automaker to manufacture these key parts in America” (not even close to true, says Tesla Motors who manufactures its own electric motors in the US and has done so for some time now).

In a celebratory sort of way, Mike Robinson, GM vice-president of Sustainability, remarked:

“The era of using electricity to help improve performance and fuel economy is already here and the trend is only going to grow.  Today is further proof GM is leading in the development of electric vehicles that will improve America’s energy security.”

The permanent magnet motor that powers the front wheels on the Spark EV cranks out 130 hp and 400 pound-feet of torque.  GM still only says the electric Spark will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in “less than 8 seconds.”

The Spark EV will initially only be sold in California and Oregon.  Sales will later branch out to include Canada, Europe and South Korea.  The notion of selling the Spark EV outside of California and Oregon in the US is still a possibility.

The last piece of the Spark EV puzzle, its price, remains unknown at this time, but with the Fiat 500E checking in at $32,500, we’d bet the Spark to be priced at least in the same ballpark.

Check out GM’s unusual Spark EV electric motor video below.

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12 responses to "Chevy Spark EV Gets One Step Closer to Launch With Kick Off of Electric Motor Production in US (Video)"

  1. Future Leaf Driver says:

    Wow, GM really was concerned about the Leaf March sales record!

    The more EVs the better, now get that production up and running for everywhere GM!

    1. scottf200 says:

      I think your right. On March 2nd they saw the number and then decided they needed to do this … or it has been planned for well over a year (or 2) even knowing the LEAF sales. BEV and even PHEV sales are so small that responsible large businesses need to respect what stockholders require and not what us very small set of enthusiast want. LEAF sales are not what is making Nissan profitable (same for other manufacturers of BEV/PHEVs)

  2. Schmeltz says:

    That’s good news and all, but I wonder why they don’t manufacture the electric motor for the Volt in America? There would be far more volume to supply the Volt then there will be for the Spark. Besides that, the Spark will only be available in California and Oregan. And maybe not available at all nationwide. I’m glad to hear the news, but at the end of the day, it really doesn’t amount to much for U.S. manufacturing.

    1. kdawg says:

      I also don’t understand the logistics of it. The motor is made in the US, shipped to Korea, installed in the Spark, then shipped back to the US. What about the A123 battery (or whatever it’s called)? Isn’t it in the same boat (no pun intended)?

  3. GeorgeS says:

    Great Video.
    Why can’t GM make a video about the Volt that is that good?

  4. Bill Howland says:

    Yeah, hummm that planetary gearset thing in this application is a bit inelegant, but they might be using this Synergy Drive type thing because the supplier of the Volt and Prius gave them a good deal on the price, and it does so far work (at least in my Volt), so that might explain it.

    Its interesting to compare the choices manufacturers make. GM apparently does the “it works for us so we’re sticking with it”. So they have a permanent magnet synchronous motor, whereas Tesla, true to their namesake, has to date only used induction motors.

    Tesla likes high charging rates, whereas GM seems to have standardized worldwide at 3.3kw.

    1. scottf200 says:

      From Nissan stats the LEAF drivers are going less then 40 per day on average. Similar if you look at http://www.voltstats.net daily tab. Meaning 3.3kW charging will work fine for most people that are charging overnight on 120v. Even fully fully drained you can easily charger over night on 240v. As well this article and others indicate the CCS DC charging will be available. http://insideevs.com/exclusive-chevrolet-confirms-spark-ev-on-sale-july-2013/

    2. Herm says:

      its just gear reduction, not a Synergy Type setup.. the motor turns way faster than the wheels so it has to be geared down, not a big deal just advertising.

      1. Bill Howland says:

        Herm, that was precisely my point. They have 3 sets of gears instead of 2 , besides more bearings. Which in the volt and prius, to get the pseudo infinite gear ratio, its needed. Here, its a bit of an unneeded complication, but I wonder if GM decided to license the technology from the Japanese maker of the Synergy Drive, seeing as it has the one advantage of it working reliably, and this was an easy “off-the-shelf” solution to the motor / gear reduction issue, and anyways it certainly is space efficient, as are all their products.

        1. WopOnTour says:

          Nothing Synergy about it! It’s just a basic standard issue planetary reduction gearset, (with integral differential gearset assembly) essentially identical to almost ANY transaxle used in most FWD cars since the 70s. A reduction is necessary as the MG operates at higher rotational speeds than the drive axle/s and road wheels. Planetary gear sets are used as they are robust and quiet (as opposed to a 2-gear “spur” arrangment)

          1. Bill Howland says:

            The gear set here is HELICAL, which could be used with a single reduction, as opposed to the (needless) double reduction here.

            Spurs are not required for single reduction.

            Also, the differential gearing is not integral if you’ve watched the video to the end.

  5. Gary H says:

    Regardless of the merits of the technology, I am really impressed with this video. It’s like a mini science class!