First Test Drive Review Of Chevrolet Spark EV

4 years ago by Jay Cole 16

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV - Well Liked By Consumer Reports

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV – Well Liked By Consumer Reports

Earlier this week – Monday to be specific, we reported that the first Chevrolet Spark EVs had reached dealerships in California, ready to be sold.

New, Lower Priced Entries Like The Spark EV Have Made The i-MiEV Go From The Cheapest EV, To Firmly Middle Of The Road...Tagline Not Quite As Good Anymore

Cheaper Entries Like The Spark EV Have Made The i-MiEV Go From The Cheapest EV To Middle Of The Road Pricing…Which Means The Tagline Is Not Quite As Good Anymore

Since then, it took Consumer Reports less than 72 hours to get their hands on one and file a “first drive” report…they seem to like it.

“The latest Chevrolet Spark is the most recent EV to attempt to shatter electric cars’ reputation as anemic and inept. And it succeeds, being the best version of this small hatchback. Unlike the Mitsubishi i, this is no glorified golf cart.”

Comparatively speaking, the tiny Spark EV gets 82 miles of range from a starting MSRP of $27,495; the even smaller Mitsubishi i-MiEV will net you just 62 miles from a price of $29,975.

 

Performance

Consumer Reports Questions GM's Decision To Only Offer 3.3 kW Level 2 Charging

Consumer Reports Questions GM’s Decision To Only Offer 3.3 kW Level 2 Charging

Consumer Reports leads with the electric Chevy’s strongest suit – on road dynamics.

The Spark EV has a 0-60 time of 7.5 seconds, making it one of the fastest publicly available plug-ins on the market today…not bad considering it is also the second cheapest EV offering in the US (after the smart ED).

Thanks to an astounding 400 lb-ft of torque and some unique gearing, CR finds that the Spark EV is one of the few EVs that keeps pulling all the way up to its top speed of 90 mph.

“Turning the diminutive Spark into an EV transforms it into a punchy, zippy, fun little runabout, a far cry from the conventional, slow noisy and stiff Spark that earned a meager overall score in our tests.”

The auto magazine also notes the extra 7 miles of range the Spark EV has over its top-selling Japanese rival – the Nissan LEAF, but laments GM’s fairly dated decision to give their car only 3.3 kW charging, making a full charge of the EV’s 21.3 kWh battery take an unnecessarily long time.

“It takes seven hours to replenish the battery on 240 volts. It could have been faster had GM chosen a 6.6-kWh onboard charger, but GM’s engineers say they didn’t see the need for it. They did, however, go to the trouble of equipping the Spark with the new SAE “combo” charging port that eventually will allow for fast DC charging to 80 percent of the battery’s capacity in 20 minutes.”

Italian Rival Fiat 500e and Chevrolet Spark EV Interiors

Italian Rival Fiat 500e and Chevrolet Spark EV Interiors

Interior/Interface

Consumer Reports (and almost all reviewers) have never been a big fan of many electric vehicles ‘range estimators’ as the variance is too wide.  A light foot equals an excessive estimate, a heavy foot a very pessimistic one;  and while this still true in the Spark EV, GM engineers have carried forward some Volt-learning to provide both ends of the guessing spectrum in the Spark EV’s “confidence meter.”

As for the interactive “connected radio,” it is the same set-up in the gas Spark (as an option).  The 7″ display screen includes Pandora, Stitcher, Tune-In Internet radio, Bluetooth phone pairing, and GM’s BringGo navigation system.   But be warned, the unit only utilizes your smart phone’s data plan; so if you are on a limited plan, you could be in for a shock at billing time.

Availability

Currently the Spark EV is only available in California and Oregon.  When added with state credits, the Spark EV gets a $10,000 discount in California ($17,495 effective) and $8,250 in Oregon ($19,245).  The Spark is also available from $199/month ($999 down), ex-state rebates.

Yahoo! Consumer Reports

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16 responses to "First Test Drive Review Of Chevrolet Spark EV"

  1. David Murray says:

    I think there is an error there. If the i-Miev only sells for $29.75 then I think I need to go buy a few, even though they are ugly.

  2. bloggin says:

    I think the decision for GM to install the slow 3.3 charger in the Spark EV, that is standard on the Leaf S, is an effort to push consumers to use public charging more. Which of course will cost the consumer more dollars every time they do it, since you can’t have a Combo Charger at home.

    At least Nissan offers a $1300 upgrade to get the 6.6 charger to the Leaf S to correct their mistake.

    Adding a 6.6 charger to the Spark EV makes too much sense from the consumer standpoint for it to be an ‘oversight’ from GMs perspective. GM understands that over 80% of EV charging is done at home, and offering the slow 3.3 charger will hurt sales for no good reason.

    1. Brian says:

      My guess is parts commonality with the Volt. It may make sense to have 3.3kW charging in the Volt. In order to save money, I’m betting they simply used the same charger.

  3. Warren says:

    i suspect the reason has more to do with bringing it in under the Leaf S price point. If it sells as well as it should, they can offer the 6.6 kW charger as an option later.

  4. Stuart22 says:

    Compliance car! Compliance car! COMPLIANCE CAR!!!

    1. David Murray says:

      That remains to be seen. You could be right, though.

      1. James says:

        Odd though, how other EV manufacturers have just kept mum about
        their product ( FitEV ) being totally compliance, where Fiat’s CEO
        just plain comes out and admits it – Then we have Chevy, who
        thrusts their hands in the air and swears it aint so!

        I don’t know if this shows the true character of the particular company,
        or GM truly, really honestly sees Spark EV as a moneymaker and
        nationwide seller.

  5. evnow says:

    So CR also doesn’t understand Leaf gets a 84 mile range on EPA test when charged to 100%. Well done EPA, pat yourself on the back for the stupid standard.

    1. David Murray says:

      Agreed – I think all this will serve to do in the future is give the manufacturers a reason to eliminate the long-life mode.

  6. CAMiEV says:

    I don’t think the Spark EV is as roomy as the Miev. More fun to drive, but less practical than an iMiev.

  7. Dan Frederiksen says:

    Pretty good accceleration. Faster than a Subaru BRZ
    But of course in an electric car with A123 cells, it’s trivial to make it a lot faster.
    But they are sluggish minds who hesitate to make it outshine their old tech

    1. James says:

      Or B234, or C456…. ?

  8. Warren says:

    The Spark EV is not a Miata, but it is a whole lot closer than the Leaf. Only an accountant could get excited about the Leaf. I have ridden around in one three times now, and could not wait to get out. It is even more Corolla-like than my wife’s Corolla!

  9. Warren says:

    I really liked the Tesla Roadster. I mean, it was a Lotus for crying out loud. But the S, like all luxury sedans, is just a Buick Lucerne for rich people. And real rich people have a chauffeur! Driving around in any of these appliances, especially on the soul destroying interstate, makes me long for the train, even a bus! At least I could curl up and sleep. I really hate our transportation system.

  10. Warren says:

    And SUV’s. Trucks for people who couldn’t pass the truck drivers test! I think I will go for a bicycle ride. I always feel better after I ride my bicycle. 🙂

  11. Karl says:

    CR sucks I recently had contact with stacksof them several years deep and found it like a bad movie- flashbacks, of all those moments they demonstrate that not only is there budget in total a pittance compared to what The NYT’s gets from teen mom’s who live in RV’s that have no carpet subscriptions, the collective harm to progressive capital investment by consumer’s with real intent, so the same goes for your meta upon there meta about how you say for example “dated” carrying the tire changer around that’s second class when NOBODY carries a what- a refinery around with them- this is not your Gore gasoline to hydrogen box pox.

    Rather they day after tomorrow the first chinese street legal ‘car’ will sell, with a few hundred miles if that, for ninety percent off- likely WAY under two thousand bucks.

    THe commentor’s preceding me could not be more stingy- but I feel there bitterness in that.

    A kickstarter dares to sell vanilla chemistry and a motor for it’s sveltness with early adopters only needing to line his pockets by hundreds despite spending thousands themselves and what you get- four figures of watts by hours on board, for an individual that’s DAYS of use between charges! But at first You had me going- scared perhaps that GM finding it impossible to second source modern batteries gave up on the six figure fat ‘gas cap’ promissed.

    THe analogy boys and girls is the spark is hospital grade in it’s fuel pump.

    As in not just double funnelled but good enough to share- I mean not even dairy cows get there own pump- never have- in fact the pump liberated the farmer to have more cows milk and milk none of them himself- yet we continue to compare EV’s with cars people need to own.

    If it can get you there- why would you volunteer to take care of it? Literally hiring daycare for the beast- just so it can cuddle and take all day to feast.

    3.3kw.

    a third of a turd of five figures in other words- when your talking about a tiny fraction of the benchmark- 1000 by 1000. A decent vehicle accepts not a fraction of that, but that itself.

    If wired at all, if with paddle pads or just tuned lassoo’s, such amps and volts solves all the problems.

    We don’t just give our best electric cars away for less then shipping now, we have messed up big time with faster then static only containing capacitors companies have there owners looted- looted in delaware, for daring to not just stare.

    Compliance requires the cosco model be retrieved- that company is worth as much as some jack’s box low brow humor burger campaign- it’s worth not M but B- you get to M by paying B for a123.

    The courts still have jurisdiction. IN bankruptcy creditors can bring it- can switch chapters even if late, and with us do those skinny now dudes beg for such a date.

    To recap- as all are sure to still be in nap, after fluffer stupor, ready to rejoice ‘we’ ‘must’ ”now” somehow suffer this choice- to have it running aroudn town after it’s owners are no longer around town.

    IN my hometown paper an auto analyst sings about combustion being the way and here to stay.

    Let me be clear.

    Combustion- maybe methane, and i say this because I have a brain, can render needing surface for shoes to do there purpose only yesterdays loser’s purse. A little h20 fired out from under and your running with real thunder needing no road or anything to hit below while others join you affordably not needing to s cratch there heads and merely wonder.

    So I’m not a nukehead or better coal then dead formerly ethanal fed or in anyone’s bed fed.

    I’m a scientist and adapting.

    Hope can say, always, nope.

    Nope to those who continue as false pope.

    Who want us to build rooms in our homes and spots everywhere we roam and even in frisco pay not just nabisco for driving.

    First fire.

    Then information.

    This is our history.

    WE pumped gas- after firing the lass who drove us.

    First him.

    Then the tinier tim.

    But first we got rid of the paid driver.

    For mobility that means the pregant cetipede bus and millipede wus NEVER modern ‘train.’

    Sharing pods that fly and allow us to doze or whatever is the real buzz.

    THe milk- is free.

    or nearly that.

    if we can legalise expensive cars.

    really great ones

    megawatt charging

    driverless

    safer

    faster

    so much better

    at our steps

    predicting when we’ll need them

    invading our streets

    using so much less of them

    we kick all others off

    saving lives

    ending hives of factory workers destroying our planet

    scooters for our kids

    antigravity shoes for our poor

    better for those wealthier

    it’s not your father’s oldmobile

    real mobility

    it’s here to there in such a small amount of time

    not even enough to complete the rhyme.

    Those who pay bills by demolishing highway bridges and putting wider ones up would of killed hundreds of not just k9 pups to prevent a1 from knocking down so effective in tianamenn and other squares state power guns.

    It used to be those who owned our bodies against which we rebelled.

    Now it’s those who own our streets who enslave and kill imposing worldwide urban hells.

    This is what information as in E as in EV means to me.

    The spark is no longer just an idea.

    But claims of success in crap of sold numbers.

    Ignore what should already be lore.

    EV’s run all night.

    And day

    They don’t wear out.

    So they are taxi’s without driver’s.

    they are freedom.

    fewer in number.

    always plentiful.

    that’s there thunder.

    or if ignored…

    consigned to just further our plunder.