GM Has “No Plans” For Chevrolet Spark EV Nationally

4 years ago by Jay Cole 66

Chevrolet Spark EV Plugged Into US' First Combo Charger

Chevrolet Spark EV Plugged Into US’ First Combo Charger

A few days ago we learned that the Chevrolet Spark EVs equipped with DC fast chargers would land in late December.

Reception For The Spark EV Has Been Strong So Far

Reception For The Spark EV Has Been Strong So Far

Then, we learned that the fast charging option would cost around $800 and that Chevrolet was pleased with Spark EV sales results so far – given the very limited inventory that had been made available…and that GM was indeed going to be shipping more depth to dealers in California and Oregon.

But what of the rest of the country?

For the longest time we have been wondering “Will or won’t GM bring the Spark EV nationally?”  Most have speculated that it was a given at some point, and that the question was not “will they?” but “when will they?” 

In fact, just about every story we run on the Spark EV has such speculation in the comments.

Check The Map For Your Nearest Spark EV Available States

Check The Map For Your Nearest Spark EV Available States

So while speaking with GM about their plans to bring more Spark EVs to the United States, we took the opportunity to pick the General’s brain about what lies ahead for the Chevy Spark EV geographically:

“Right now  (for the Spark EV) – just California and Oregon. We’re always evaluating the potential to expand into other markets –but no plans to expand at this time.”

Therefore, if you live in New York, and were planning on zipping around Manhattan in your own Spark EV this Christmas, you should probably not go looking for any new SAE Combo fast charging stations in your area just yet.

Still, they didn’t say it wasn’t ever coming.

 

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66 responses to "GM Has “No Plans” For Chevrolet Spark EV Nationally"

  1. GeorgeS says:

    GM is so lame.

    1. Taser54 says:

      George that schtick is tiring.

  2. Taser54 says:

    I proffervthat GM’s first goal is to acquire the required zero EV credits. once that is accomplished, and demand appears strong, it will expand the Spark EV distribution. At a minimum it will be next summer before GM entertains expansion.

    1. GeorgeS says:

      They are lame. The Spark could be a winner and GM could sell a bunch of them….but no that would be too logical. When faced with a winning product why bother to sell it?

      Case 2 why GM is lame…..the Volt.

      Once again GM drops the ball. They have a good product here. It just needs to be refined a bit. Tesla and i3 are leaving GM in the dust. They have purpose built EVs. If GM would just fix the problems with the Volt they could sell a bunch of them.

      …but noo. They are going to wait till 2016 to do gen 2 Volt.

      Now thats frickin’ lame. and if you don’t think so then just trot on back to the forum where you came from. Perhaps you are the latest and greatest rising star there (well at least in your own mind).

      1. MTN Ranger says:

        The i3 isn’t even out yet. Who knows, sales could be a bust due to the price, limited range, and ugliness (personally, I like the look).

        Volt 2.0 release may be delayed by the availability of the new D2xx platform. Those needed updates to the battery shape and seating for five will require this new platform.

      2. scott moore says:

        This is correct, GM perceives the Spark to be taking sales from the Volt.

        I don’t know why everyone thinks GM is so smart. They are really dinosaur brains looking for a transplant. Silicon valley rules (obsolete yourself) are completely foreign to them…

      3. kdawg says:

        “They are going to wait till 2016 to do gen 2 Volt.”
        ————–

        I’d say they are *doing* it now, just not sharing any info.

      4. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

        It seems to me that GM’s culture is melting away the innovative spirit that got the Volt into production, like being slowly digested in acid. I would LOVE to see Volt 2.0 prove me wrong, but I’m not holding my breath.

        I dare you to do better, GM! I double dog dare you!

  3. David Murray says:

    I wonder if the Spark is also a money-loser and they just want to build enough to satisfy carb demands?

    It’s really almost a given that this is the case being they aren’t being manufactured on a scale that would bring economies of scale.

    1. Taser54 says:

      I believe that the spark is not losing money, but that GM is not going to produce many without the DC fast charge option.

      1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

        I think you’re naive. The Spark’s a classic compliance car sold at a loss. That’s not to say it’s not providing valuable testing. B456 battery, Volt-spec motor, DC charging coming.

        List of BEVs that manufacturer sell nationally:
        – Model S
        – i3
        – Leaf

        List of BEVs with a heat pump:
        – Model S
        – i3
        – Leaf.

        There rest are compliance cars.

        1. Taser54 says:

          You should avoid the personal attacks.

          1. Aaron says:

            Taser54
            October 3, 2013 at 12:23 pm
            > George that schtick is tiring.

            1. Taser54 says:

              That was not attacking him. That was commenting on his actions. In contrast, INATM went straight at me, calling me naive, when he just disagreed with my opinion.

              1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

                Huh?

                I disagree with your opinion and I think your opinion is naive, therefore I think you’re naive.

                “Naive” is no more of an attack than “wrong”.

          2. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

            Let me rephrase and expand.

            In my opinion, believing that the Spark is not losing money is naive.

            The ZEV rules mean that manufacturers that do not sell BEVs must instead spend money buying credits from other manufacturers. As such manufacturers can sell BEVs at a loss and increase profits. The Spark is being sold only 2 CARB states and is not being sold in many of the better BEV markets. Given the car’s price, performance and efficiency advantage over the Leaf, the logical reason for not selling elsewhere is that they are losing money on every one sold, but it’s better than buying credits.

            Oh, the Spark also uses a Volt-spec motor which provides a useful test bed for that.

            1. Atlanta is now the LARGEST market for the Nissan LEAF. I’m confident that they would also buy an “American” car (made in South Korea) that was also electric powered.

              Bottom line; OF COURSE it’s a strict CARB-ZEV compliance car. It’s always the same shuffle here in the EV internet world. If the manufacturer says something, regardless of how unbelievable it seems, there’s always folks who are ready to believe.

              So, when (fill in the blank of big car manufacturer besides Tesla, Nissan and hopefully BMW) says that they’re going to set the world on fire with EVs, I prefer to see the result.

              GM, VW, Daimler (Mercedes), Toyota, Hyundai, Mazda, Honda, Ford, Chrysler/Fiat, et al… same game. Big talk, compliance action.

              I’m personally on the fence with BMW, because of all the HUGE amount of hype and a few prototypes. Kia seems like they’ll sell in more than just California with DC CHAdeMO chargers going in at dealers in Colorado! Mazda is mute!!

        2. ClarksonCote says:

          How can you say the i3 is available nationally? Is the i3 even available yet?

        3. danwat1234 says:

          The Model S does not come with a heatpump, yet, unless I heard wrong. Just an air conditioner and resistive heat.
          The leaf does, the Volt doesn’t (wish it did).

          1. danwat1234 says:

            The i3, a heatpump if you buy it without the range extender, otherwise, just being an EV, the heatpump goes where the range extender would go apparently because you can’t have a heatpump and a range extender. Strange because they could just modify the existing air conditioner to pump fluid the other way to turn itself into a heatpump on demand.

          2. Turbofroggy says:

            The Model S has a heat pump and resistive heating. It uses whichever is more efficient to use given the conditions.

  4. Nelson says:

    I suspect GM Dealer network is behind not taking the SparkEV nationally.
    1. The SparkEV means no regular service required (no money for service departments)
    a) No Oil changes
    b) No spark plug changes
    c) No transmission fluid changes
    At a time were GM has required their Dealers to upgrade their service areas, it would be conflicting to sell a car that requires very little if any service from a dealer.

    Once again another reason why Tesla direct sales model is better than dealer franchise.

    NPNS!
    Volt#671

    1. Nate says:

      I wonder about that too. However if that is the case, wouldn’t Nissan have to consider the same consequences? I doubt Nissan wants to loose money, just because they are so sweet and nice. I doubt they are so stupid that they would not realize they’d loose that money. Either way, their shareholders would not appreciate.

    2. MTN Ranger says:

      There is still plenty that can go wrong. Tires, suspension/alignments, coolant, hvac, electrical issues, etc. Don’t worry, dealers will do okay – especially if PEVs require expensive equipment that local repair shops don’t have.

    3. Steven says:

      And that, my friends, is in part what killed the EV-1

    4. danwat1234 says:

      All that stuff I can do in my garage with very little cost in parts or time, at least on my old Civic. I am in love with the Volt

      1. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

        Coolant on the Volt is quite tricky, and if you touch it you’ll likely void the warranty. I would be exceedingly wary of touching it. But then, you should hardly ever have to service it other than a biannual flush, along with the oil and brake fluid.

  5. Schmeltz says:

    I’ll probably offend a few here by saying this but this news doesn’t really break my heart. I’m sorry, but I think the Spark even as a gas driven car, is just too small for the mass market audience. My reading between the lines says that GM is probably losing some money on each Spark EV it sells. Therefore, it will probably remain a compliance car and sell only in California and Oregan. The Volt will be their mainstream EV offering for the next few years nationwide. And in 2015, the new Volt 2.0 should hopefully arrive and perhaps a 200 mile “proper” All-Electric car to sell nationwide soon thereafter. The mid-sized sedan and crossover market is where the plug-ins need to be IMO.

    1. Nate says:

      I agree. I test drove it before driving the Volt. It was a lot of fun, but I kind of felt like I was driving something that looked like a kids first car.

      My hunch is it is a research project for GM. They probably loose money, but chose to do it over buying credits as they could test out new tech, which it does make use of.

      1. Assaf says:

        Disagree. Ergo, see how well Smart is doing with its ED despite being only a 2-seater.

        Zippy subcompact is the ideal niche for BEVs until 200-mile ranges become affordable. Companies can make money and penetrate markets quickly using them.

        But as usual, the Big Three never miss a chance to miss a call. Even when their heart is in the right place like the current GM leadership w.r.t. EVs.

        1. Nate says:

          Hey good point.

          Its not just that it is small. I think that is part of it, but I think the other part is it has identical styling to a very, very inexpensive car. The Mini Cooper and the Fiat 500 are very small but at least look upscale. Though the Smart is inexpensive, the brand image seems different to me as well. Maybe that’s the association with Mercedes. Maybe that’s just me.

          I could be wrong, maybe there could be big demand nationwide for this despite my perception of the Spark being like a Metro. I’d like to think the image would not matter, but if I had to put my own money on it I wouldn’t take the bet.

          1. Assaf says:

            Yeah, but you are not “putting your own money” on the Spark EV. Not a lot of it, anyway.

            It’s $2k down, and a lease that nearly pays for itself via gas savings.

            Bottom line, all the 2013-introduced BEV subcompact are basically selling out. Makers just don’t want to put more out there.

            I understand the anti-EV Honda and Fiat. But GM’s behavior with the Spark EV is downright weird.

            And if you don’t really want to sell it, why make all these ads about it?

        2. scott moore says:

          Yes, because GM offering small electric cars is like Dracula running a blood clinic… the customers might be there, but they are nervous. Smart is all in on the concept.

    2. Spec says:

      Actually, the gas version has been a surprise hit for GM and they’ve sold much more than their estimates. But yes, the Spark EV is probably a money-loser and that is why they won’t expand the sales area.

      1. io says:

        “Surprise hit”?
        Spark sales in the US hover around 2~3k monthly, pretty weak for a cheap subcompact.
        GM sells like 10x more Cruze and 3x+ more Sonic. The Spark is probably its least profitable car.

    3. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      Very yank-centric of you.

      The Spark sells OK around the world and the Spark EV is manufactured in Korea.

      Smaller cars make sense for the mid-range BEV market.

  6. Rick Danger says:

    All of the automakers except Tesla have their roots sunk deeply into 20th century. Tesla’s advantage will only become more apparent with each passing year.

    GM had better tread carefully; the world might not be so willing to bail them out again.

  7. Bloggin says:

    How soon we forget……

    First gen EVs are never initially sold nationally. A nationwide dealership network has to be ready to sell and support the new EV.

    Honda Accord Plug-in hybrid, Honda Fit EV, Toyota EV4 RV, etc are all here in CA for the EV Credits to help pay for the project.

    Why? Because the market is still very small, full EVs are sold at a loss, and they can’t pay for their nationwide marketing and distribution. Manufacturers can’t make the public buy EVs they don’t want…..YET!

    But GM will be able to sell the new ELR plug-in hybrid nationwide.

    1. MTN Ranger says:

      Heck, even the Prius Plug-in is not even sold nationwide.

  8. Ocean Railroader says:

    The Nissan Leaf is going to pancake this Compliance Car in that they are all ready selling anywhere from 1900 to 2200 each month and they are all ready talking about expanding this car’s production to 2700 to 3000 in the next few months. Comparing this car to the Nissan Leaf would be better then comparing it to Tesla in that the Nissan Leaf is most similar to it expect it’s not a compliance car.

    I really think Elon Musk is right that the major car makers can make cool mass marketed electric cars but they are playing stupid.

  9. Driverguy01 says:

    If i remember well, the Spark will be available in Canada next year. I dont see a reason fir it no being available for the rest of north america. No worries, if not, you can always buy one north of the border once we get them.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Hey Driverguy,

      GM actually put a note out on this quite awhile ago. The Spark EV will be available in Canada but only in bulk/fleet orders in 2014. At the time, they made no commitment to making it a public offering.

      Our story on that is here, if you want to check it out:

      1. an_outsider says:

        Should I wait until the fast DC combo option become available, then buy 2 of them for my “personal fleet” to get the Spark EV here in Canada ? Once done, sell the 2nd one at profit =)

    2. Andre says:

      Fleet only i think

      1. Raymondjram says:

        What is the minimum number of cars for a fleet sale? One?

    3. Spec says:

      They said they would sell it in South Korea as well.

  10. Mark C says:

    I suppose you’d have to look at how much oil money is invested in the New GM and how many petro controlled seats are on the Board of Directors. That would explain the weak {premium fuel only} fuel economy rating of the Volt when using the 1.4 liter engine to propel it as well as no real desire to spread the Spark EV around.

    1. MTN Ranger says:

      Sigh, the main use of premium is higher efficiency and longer tank-life. The 5% greater cost for premium is more than offset by a 10% increase in efficiency. Plus, for the most part, Volt owners don’t even use that much gas. I mentioned in a previous post that premium gas has cost me a whopping $20 over two years of ownership.

    2. Spec says:

      Meh. No need for conspiracy theories, leave that to the other side. It is pretty simple . . . the Spark is in all likelihood a money-losing car. It is being sold at a discounted price to get ZEV credits. And they can’t offer it in other states at higher price . . . consumers will revolt. So they just sell it at a loss in a couple ZEV states.

  11. evnow says:

    GM fans will probably now realize it is a compliance car. May be.

    1. scottf200 says:

      …which is illogical if it is sold outside of CARB states and the USA states. Car makes more sense abroad where they are OK with small cars and hate gas prices that often more than twice the USAs.

      1. evnow says:

        You will have to see why they are selling in other places. In the US it is a compliance car.

        Anyway, that is why I added “may be” 😉

  12. Spec says:

    Awww, crap. I suspect they can’t sell it nationally since they’ve priced it so low that it is a money-loser car just made to collect ZEV credits.

    More states need to adopt the ZEV rules.

    1. Oh, there are plenty of states that have adopted the CARB rules. The problem is that all the credits can be earned in California using the “traveling” provision.

      That will change in 2018, when the cars will have to be sold in the other CARB states. Expect law suits and any other way to stop this. Their last attempt was just this past October 2012.

      1. evnow says:

        Tony,

        I don’t think the law is changing in 2018. It was supposed to – but the EPA brokered law kept the traveling provisions, IIRC.

  13. GM plans to not pursue national BEV rollout could also delay or limit SAE Combo Charger rollout plans til 2015+. Lack of a critical number of Combo equipped vehicles lowers business motivation to add expensive charger stations in a given state. (A ZEV state’s requirements can be met by California ZEV sales through 2018)

    – Spark EV is limited rollout for 2014 (CA, OR)
    – BMW i3 US rollout expected beginning in Q2 with limited supply for 2014 (initial availability expected to be CA, OR, & NY)
    http://insideevs.com/bmw-i3-to-be-in-high-demand-and-supply-will-be-somewhat-limited-says-bmw-ceo-of-north-america
    – VW e-Golf not coming to US until 2015
    http://insideevs.com/volkswagen-e-golf-not-coming-to-us-until-2015-vw-admits-its-behind-the-curve/

    1. evnow says:

      Most i3’s sold are expected to have REx – and most probably won’t have CCS.

  14. scott moore says:

    its a match then, I have no plans to buy/lease one.

  15. Tesla Fan says:

    good they wont spread this ugly thing globally

  16. Tesla Fan says:

    GM doesnt have any plans because no one has any plans on buying it

  17. GasPath says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Chevy_Volt_Concept_NAIAS_2007_02.jpg

    Goofy Motors took the original sexy prototype and changed it to an ugly sedan: Strike 1
    Goofy Motors went from an all electric prototype to a goofy hybrid (increased complexity): Strike 2
    Goofy Motors makes the Spark, but only for a tiny market in a galaxy far far away: Strike 3

    I give up on an affordable American EV from GM, and I’ve been waiting for 5 years thinking they just might resurrect the original. That KIA Soul is starting to look appealing.

  18. C S says:

    No surprise AT ALL!
    Read or listen to the book Internal Combustion by Edwin Black and you’ll fully understand this decision by GM.

  19. Thomas J. Thias says:

    Fox News/ Leiure Writer, Gary Gastea, Rips…..
    ………..No, not what you are thinking….

    Rips around in the, “first 21st Centuty Hot Rod”, and likes it!
    Source:
    Fox News/ Liesure dot com
    October 3rd, 2013

    http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2013/10/03/quck-spin-2014-chevrolet-spark-ev/

    Best-

  20. Enekom says:

    EV1 History ???

  21. ZivBnd says:

    If adding fast charging would cost just $800, how much would it cost to simply increase the 2015MY Volt charging rate from 3.3 kW to 6.6 kW? I realize that most Volt owners charge overnight where 3.3 is fine, but when you are down to 5 or 6 miles in the pack and you have just lunch time to charge before putting another 20-30 miles on the car, faster charging would be something that a lot of us would pay for.
    Most of my miles on the gas genset would be done using electricity if I could charge at 22 miles per hour of charging instead of the current 11 miles per hour of charging. I don’t need faster charging, but it sure would be sweet to have on the Volt Gen II.
    Do you think it would cost just $200, or so, to upgrade to 6.6 kW charging on a Volt? Or would it be more?

  22. JOHN I says:

    IN MASSACHUSETTS, IT IS A DISAPPOINTMENT TO ALMOST NEVER SEE AN ELECTRIC CAR. I WAS READING A FEW MONTHS AGO THAT THERE ARE ONLY AROUND 800 PRIVATLY OWNED ELECTRIC CARS STATE WIDE. THERE ARE NO ADVERTISEMENTS FOR EV’S. MOST PEOPLE SEEM TO NOT EVEN KNOW OR HEARD A WISPER ABOUT TESLA, NISSAN LEAF, FORD FOCUS EV, OR MITIBUSHI MIEV. IN AND AROUND NEW ENGLAND, IF YOU WERE TO HOLD YOUR BREAT UNTIL THE NEXT TIME THAT YOU WERE TO SEE AN ELECTRIC CAR, YOU WOULD BE DEAD. SO FOR GM’S LACK OF WHATEVER FOR NOT OFFERING THE EV SPARK NATION WIDE. FILL IN THE BLANK——— BLEEP EM. LETS VOTE WITH OUR DOLLARS, AND OUR FEET, AND BUY OR LEASE, A TESLA, LEAF, FOCUS EV, OR A MITIBUSHI MIEV. .