Chevy Spark EV is For West Coasters Only – Still No Plans to Expand Sales

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 22

Chevy Spark EV Strictly a Compliance EV

Chevy Spark EV Strictly a Compliance EV

Will Chevrolet ever expand the availability of the Spark EV in the US?

Chevy Spark EV

Chevy Spark EV

Once again, the answer to that often asked question seems to be “no.”

John Calabrese, General Motors’ global vehicle engineering chief says that its tough to make a business case for the Spark EV.  According to Calabrese, “Range anxiety is a problem” and it’s apparently so big an issue that GM is unwilling to offer the Spark EV outside of California and Oregon.

It seems to us as though GM is trying to find every excuse possible for not selling the Spark EV nationwide when the fact of the matter is that General Motors simply has no interest in doing so.

Last month, GM sold 66 Spark EVs.  While the figure is definitely low, GM basically provides its US dealers (in Oregon in California) with virtually no inventory to work with.

The Spark EV is currently on sale in South Korea and we believe it to be offered nationwide there.

Soon, the Spark EV will go on sale to fleets in Canada.

The Spark EV is not available in Europe and it seems it will never be offered there.

So, if you’re waiting for the Spark EV to arrive in a state that’s neither Oregon nor California, then you may as well pick out another EV you’d like to buy.

 

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22 responses to "Chevy Spark EV is For West Coasters Only – Still No Plans to Expand Sales"

  1. Tesla Fan says:

    the real problem is the aesthetics. my gm dealer has not sold a spark ev in 2 months, they still have their very first shipment on the lot.

    1. scottf200 says:

      You need to visit other countries and their cities.

  2. Audi RS5 says:

    pretty sure no one wants that ugly thing

  3. scottf200 says:

    So what percentage of LEAFs are sold in the lower 48 and excluding CA and OR? Pretty $mall. A nationwide rollout would cost a lot in resources and time. Perhaps more of a ramp up in 2014 when the DCFC is available for it. PIP is in like a dozen states I think. Interesting to see how the i3 does nationwide.

    1. Brian says:

      They actually sell pretty well in several other states. In fact, the Leaf’s biggest market in Atlanta, GA.

      As for SAE CCS available nationwide in 2014? I wouldn’t count on it.

      1. Nate says:

        Is Atlanta back on top in Oct? I know they were a month or two earlier this year but the last month I saw a report for (Sept 13) had San Francisco on top for the 2nd month in a row, and overall sales for the year have it #1 and LA at #2.

        Either way, sales are pretty concentrated in certain markets. State and local tax incentives and car pool lane access can makes a big difference in sales. Hmm, Portland is relatively weak in that respect, so I guess charging infrastructure mild temps and a relatively compact urban footprint can make a difference. Georgia has some great incentives now, but if you were going to choose one to start sales with, seems like CA is a no brainier. There are some great markets for the Leaf, and some crappy ones. Family members in Montana say they don’t see them around, though they do see some Volts. You have wide temperature extremes and large distances traveled there. There is a lot of territory to ship cars to with similar characteristics as MT. I don’t think a nationwide role-out makes sense for the Spark EV.

  4. Taser54 says:

    Stories are out that people are bypassing GM’s restrictions and simply shipping the Spark EV out of state to their home. This is phenomenal.

    1. GeorgeS says:

      It is possible. I contacted a dealer in Ca and they said no problem. I could ship it to Arizona. The only problem would be getting it serviced.

    2. Dave says:

      I’m not sure how they got here, but I have seen a few on the road in Atlanta.

  5. Brian says:

    Range anxiety is a red herring. The only thing range anxiety would hurt is demand. GM cannot possibly know demand because the car is not available.

    The only thing that makes sense to me is profitability. GM must sell some number of Spark EVs in CA to meet CARB requirements. If they price it above the Leaf, it probably won’t sell enough, so perhaps Nissan has forced their hand into selling at a loss (still better than buying credits from a competitor). Since GM cannot set a different price inside CA/OR versus the other 48 states, they have a disincentive to sell outside those two states.

    *Before anyone jumps on me, the above is simply a theory. It’s just the theory that makes the most sense to me.

    1. David says:

      Agreed.
      GM doesn’t want to sell the Spark EV because they lose money on each one and they don’t want EVs to succeed. Everything else is a distraction just like last time.

      GM seriously trying to kill CHAdeMO to use CSS, when they refuse to even sell a single car that has CSS. How can that be viewed as an honest attempt and anything other than a tactic to delay charger deployment and therefore stall EV progress.

      1. Taser54 says:

        Simply not supported. GM was unwilling to support ChaDemo because of past problems with CARB arbitrarily changing course on charging protocols and because it differed from the J1772 communication standard already in use. See the Magne Charger fiasco where CARB withdrew support for it after GM invested in it and deployed it in CA. That’s why it pursued the SAE standard.

        By supporting a North American standard, GM prevents localities from arbitrarily changing course again. By building upon the J1772 standard already approved, the CCS charge system requires less adaptation for manufacturers and for infrastructure.

        1. Brian says:

          Until that 200+ mile EV hits the showrooms, it’s vaporware. Even worse, it could be an attempt at a self-inflicted “Osborne Effect”. In other words, convince people not to buy today’s EVs because tomorrows will be so much better. Then when tomorrow never comes, hey – I’ve got this highly efficient 35MPG Cruze to sell you!

          1. Nate says:

            Oh well, I guess you stopped reading my post after the first “and”.

    2. Nate says:

      I’ve been following this car since this summer. The car being built for CARB compliance is discussed on most if not all of the Inside EV articles, so it gets some hate for that. I doubt you’ll get much trouble for people for bringing that up. I think CARB requirements play a factor in the decision to make this car, but I ponder if it is the only reason.

      I test drove one and thought about getting one. I like it – it is quick and fun to drive. That said, I think selling and supporting this car nationwide today would be a mistake at the moment.

      I think the appeal of it would be limited due to price, size and yes even range. Just because range is not an issue for you, for some people it is. I have family members in Montana, and some of them are interested in supporting EV’s. However, it is a lot harder to there than where I live due to wide temperature extremes and long driving distances between towns. This cars range, especially in winter, would not work for some people without an additional car with extended range. Also, there isn’t a state tax credit there to further drive the price down closer to the $12k price range of similar sized cars. Sure, not that many people live in MT but It is a similar situation for Nebraska, Wyoming, Alaska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Kansas, Idaho, Iowa and others.

  6. Francis L says:

    Well, according to this article (in french), the Spark 2014 will be available in canadians dealerships next spring. Not only a fleet vehicule.

    http://insideevs.com/chevy-spark-ev-is-for-west-coasters-only-still-no-plans-to-expand-sales/

    Who’s right? Who’s wrong?

    1. Aaron says:

      Wrong link. Is this the link you were referring to?

      http://media.gm.ca/content/media/ca/fr/chevrolet/vehicles/Spark-EV/2014.html

      It says the markets are California, South Korea, Oregon, Canada, and other European markets.

      1. Eric Loveday says:

        That’s a way outdated (Nov. 2012) press release…GM has since changed its Spark EV plans. This InsideEVs article is correct. That press release is now wrong.

      2. Francis L says:

        Sorry! Here is the link I wanted to post! It is in french, so you might need Google Translate or take a class 😉

        http://www.aveq.ca/1/post/2013/11/essai-routier-chevrolet-spark-ev-2014-le-fun-est-au-rendez-vous.html

  7. CSS says:

    GM Exec #1: How do we keep the public from buying our only pure EV?
    GM Exec #2: It’s a crazy idea but what if we offer it in mostly pastel colors?
    GM Exec #1: Hmmm, from a strictly marketing standpoint… that could work!!
    GM Exec #1 and #2: (laughter and grins) as they head out of the room to implement the idea.

    1. Nate says:

      Ha. I’m surprised how many light blue Leafs are out there. Is it supply, or bad taste. There are much better color choices for that car.