GM Offers Chevrolet Spark EV Specs

4 years ago by Lyle Dennis 38


General Motors following up on its early though slow going success of the Chevrolet Volt extended range electric car is gearing up to launch a pure EV in the US, appropriately called the Chevy Spark.

The Spark will join the Volt in GMs’ quest to sell 500,000 electric cars by 2017 with the company more focused on plug-in than hybrid technology.

Yestday in San Franscico, GM released some preliminary specs on the Spark EV.

“The 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV will set a benchmark for urban electric vehicles when it arrives in California dealer showrooms next summer by offering industry-leading EV power, outstanding driving range, and exceptional fast-charge capability,” said GM in a statement.

The Spark EV will utilize a 100 kw electric motor that will allow the car to develop 0 to 60 in under 8 seconds and generate instantaneous torque of about 400 lb.-ft.

It will also come equipped with an on-board DC fast charger allowing 80% of a charge in just 20 minutes (assuming you can find a charger).

“When our team set out to develop the propulsion system for Spark EV, we knew we had to provide surprising fun-to-drive acceleration with maximum efficiency,” said Spark EV Chief Engineer Chuck Russell.

“What we think customers will enjoy most is how fun Spark EV is to drive; it’s seamless and power is available at every stage of the drive,” Russell said. “This will help us to provide an exciting option for those customers who are looking for an EV that’s as much fun to drive as it is environmentally responsible.”

Energy is contained in a 20 kwh lithium-ion battery pack that comes with the same eight years /100,000 miles warranty found on the Chevy Volt pack.

The Spark EV team has used learning from the Chevy Volt development program to build this car as well.

“Spark EV is the latest demonstration of our growing expertise in electric motor and battery technologies – expertise we will need as we grow our portfolio of electric vehicles to address the needs of our global customers,” said GM  executive director of  global electrification Larry Nitz.

Spark electric motor and drive unit production will begin in early 2013 at GM’s transmission plant in White Marsh, Md., near Baltimore.

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38 responses to "GM Offers Chevrolet Spark EV Specs"

  1. Airton says:

    If it had 6.6 kW Level 2 charging this car would be perfect!

    1. It will use the same 3.3kW charger that the Volt uses. That’s a big mistake in my opinion. It works fine in an EREV with a small battery, but not in an BEV. 3.3kW charging crippled the LEAF’s sales. I know at least a dozen people that cancelled their LEAF reservation when they announced it would only charge at 3.3kW. I’m one of them.

      1. Brian says:

        To be fair, crippled may be a little harsh. Stunted, maybe. But I do agree it should be 32A/240V (7.2kW). The batteries can handle it. Heck, they can handle charging 10x that rate multiple times a day!

        At least it supports DC fast charging, albeit a standard that hasn’t been built out yet. Things just got more interesting.

        1. It’s really hard to tell what the effect was Brian, I agree. However a lot of people made their final decision on that, I can tell you. DC quick charge is going to be very important for mass adoption, but right now it’s irreverent to me because there aren’t any quick charge stations anywhere near me.

          I could never buy an EV that limited the charge rate to 3.3kW, no matter how much I liked the car. That’s just me, though I know others that have lesser driving needs don’t mind it.

          1. Jason says:

            People would get over the charger in a hurry it if they priced it under $25,000

            1. Airton says:

              Faster level 2 charging will be huge selling point especially if the car has less than a 100 mile range and the current charging infrastructure supports it. I think we are talking about less than a $1000 difference in hardware no?

              1. Airton: MUCH less than $1,000 to upgrade from 3.3kW to 6.6kW. Probably about $250 -$300 max.

                1. Airton says:

                  Well that settles it! GM are you listening?

                2. Open-Mind says:

                  I would prefer the 6.6 kW charging to be an option, that way I would not need to buy this feature that I would never use. For me, the car would be a max 20-30 mile/day second vehicle, and the rest of the time it would be slow charging in my garage.

      2. Marc Lee says:

        “It will use the same 3.3kW charger that the Volt uses. That’s a big mistake in my opinion. ”

        I am with you on that opinion Tom. Having driven the Focus Electric since August with its 6.6kW charger, there is no going back to 3.3 kW. I know there are people whose commute is such that they can happily and easily recharge on 120v overnight. And on many days that is the case for me. But there are just as many where that is not enough.

        And while DCQC will be nice to have for the occasional or even regular long haul, I can’t see it being something that you can “depend” on, because if you are using a public DQQC you can’t count on it always being available, owing either to other users or breakdowns. Also the vendors of those stations have shown that in the long haul they intend to make you pay $$$ dearly for the privilege of DCQC. And finally, 3 phase power just is not as readily available as people think.

        OTOH, 19.2 kW that L2 charging currently tops out is something that many homes could easily install right now and would offer roughly 40 miles in 30 minutes or 80 miles in an hour of charging, with current battery technology, and rates faster than that are certainly conceivable with different battery tech.

        If the price diff between 3.3 and 6.6/7.2 is not that big then surely they should bump it up. Or more likely, the 7.2 charger would be an option with a bump up in price, which would be a shame because there are people who would benefit from the utility of the 7.2 but won’t realize that because they won’t pay the price.

        1. KeiJidosha says:

          “It will use the same 3.3kW charger that the Volt uses. That’s a big mistake in my opinion. ”.

          X2 – Nissan and Mitsubishi finally understand this was a bad decision, why does GM have to relearn the lesson. Offer a 6.6+kW option for a reasonable price, but this will dog sales until it’s fixed. You won’t see me in a 3.3.

        2. jack879 says:

          It has the fast DC charging, what you are saying is not correct. Check it out.

          http://www.dailytech.com/2014+Spark+EV+Capable+of+060+MPH+Under+8+Seconds/article29221.htm

      3. GSP says:

        I agree. 10 mph charging (15A, 3.3kW) is not enough for an EV. OK for the Volt, but I still want 20 mph charging (30A, 6.6kW) for my Volt.

        EVs, on the other hand, NEED at least 20-30 mph AC charging (30-40A), and DC quick charging as well.

        At least the Spark has DC quick charging.

        GSP

    2. jack879 says:

      The Spark does have that level of fast charging. From a complete discharge, it can be charged 80% in twenty minutes. Check it out.

      http://www.dailytech.com/2014+Spark+EV+Capable+of+060+MPH+Under+8+Seconds/article29221.htm

  2. ClarksonCote says:

    Is the DC fast charger really “on-board?” I thought that DC fast chargers were external to a vehicle, and there was just a charge port to accept the DC voltage. (In the Spark’s case, the new SAE combo plug.)

  3. scottf200 says:

    Can someone explain the Spark EVs specs: “100 kw electric motor… about 400 lb.-ft.”

    Compared to the Volt: 111 kW (149 hp) delivering 273 lb·ft (370 N·m) of torque

    The torque number looks suspicious ?!?!

    1. Bonaire says:

      Torque does not equal horsepower. HP is actually RPM * Torque in an ICE.

      Perhaps the electrical windings of the new electric motor here in the Spark EV allows for the higher instantaneous torque out of the motor. They’ll perhaps throttle it down via the ESC (electronic speed control) but maybe they will have a sport mode which could allow the excess torque out for a zippy city car with 0-30 times of 2.5 seconds 🙂

      1. Dave R says:

        Yep – under 30 mph the only EV that will beat it off the line will be a Tesla. To get those huge torque numbers GM has really bumped up the current handling of the motor – the square wire technology they are using is proving to be worth it.

    2. Bill Howland says:

      Scott, the reason the Volts main motor has minimal torque is that its a screamer (supposedly around 6500 rpm), and its hooked to the sun gear of the planetary gear box so there’s torque multiplication there. They could give out clarifying information on a single 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper, but Gm doesnt trust customers with the info unfortunately.. Just some more GM arrogance I’ve gotten used to.. I own a volt.

  4. GeorgeS says:

    This sounds like it might be a fun little scooter to drive around town with a less than 8 sec 0-60 time.

    1. Open-Mind says:

      Yeah should feel pretty fun and zippy. In another article, GM even had concerns about torque-steer. IMHO, that’ s good. 🙂

      Now they just need an SS version with a second motor/controller for the rear wheels!!

  5. BlindGuy says:

    Wow, that’s almost twice the torque of the Leaf! Has an official announcement of range per charge been released? I am really looking forward to hear what all the specs for the 2014 Volt will be as well.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Still waiting on the two most important numbers:

      -range
      -price

      The range GM knows, the price they probably have a good idea…but have to wait to see what the 2013 stripper LEAF gets tagged at.

      1. taser54 says:

        From another article, Detroit Free Press I believe, a reviewer indicated that his test Spark vechicle indicated 77 miles remaining on the dash display.

        1. Brian says:

          …and my Leaf regularly reports well over 100 miles remaining on the dash…I’ve even seen over 120 miles on a warm summer day!

  6. Brian says:

    “The Spark EV will utilize a 100 kw electric motor that will allow the car to develop 0 to 60 in under 8 seconds and generate instantaneous torque of about 400 lb.-ft.”

    Hmm, maybe I won’t buy out the lease on my Leaf….

    1. Bonaire says:

      Leaf’s going to be physically bigger than the Spark EV. I think the Spark is more like the Fiat 500 in actual size – Leaf is bigger than that.

  7. Dave R says:

    GM has done a good job of packing a lot of technology into a small package.

    GreenCarCongress goes into detail on a lot of the technology: http://www.greencarcongress.com/2012/11/gm-spark-20121116.html

    As others have said – 6.6 kW L2 charging will be very important given that the Spark will likely have a J1772-DC plug and there are no J1772-DC stations around.

    And of course the price – hopefully since GM has been able to reuse a lot of EV components from other vehicles they will be able to keep the price down.

    8-second 0-60 is great! And the A123 batteries should be very durable.

    1. Anthony says:

      Yeah, the batteries probably wont be an issue – although they don’t seem to be using the recently announced EXT batteries, which is disappointing since they were supposed to have more power and slightly more energy density, and very good cycle life in unconditioned environments.

      I think GM is betting on the DC fast charging infrastructure getting much better in the next year or two. I don’t have the same hope they do – some places I’ve been recently don’t even have 240V, its just 120V through the J1772 connector, so I cant precondidition my Volt off wall power. To ask for DC (even 10kW) seems like a lot for places that don’t even bother running 240V wires.

  8. MrEnergyCzar says:

    Smaller battery than the Leaf, I would guess it would get an EPA of 70 miles… Maybe they’ll use 16 out of the 20 KWH in the battery…

    MrEnergyCzar

    1. taser54 says:

      I’m thinking 23KWh pack with 20kwh useable. 80 mile EPA range.

      1. I’ve heard it’s 20kWh total with 17kWh usable (85% of full pack) from a GM insider that would know, but this was about 8 months ago and perhaps it has changed.

  9. Steve says:

    The little video itself gives a clue about the range. A little more than halfway through they show the dashboard, where the car shows 45-55 mi range and the battery icon looks like it is roughly 80% full. So, I’m thinking that the range is going to be in the ballpark of 60 or 65 miles. That might be roughly the number of miles we would expect from 16 usable kWh. (I predict that the Spark will get a little bit more miles per kWh than a Volt.)
    If the Spark has a shorter range, then maybe it will underprice the Leaf. It might be ideal car for people who don’t mind the shorter range.

  10. Stuart22 says:

    I can’t wait for TomM to give us a drive report on this sparky little rocket, his impressions as to its design refinement and performance. Whether or not GM is serious about selling it, they sure seemed to have been on the ball with its development. I like the fact that it has a robust management system for the battery.

    If pricing ends up in the low to mid $20k region after credits, it could get interesting. A dollar less than $20k, it will sell like popcorn in a crowded movie theater.

  11. Jay Donnaway says:

    Well, 100 kW from a 16 kWh pack would be double the power from the same size pack as my iMiEV. When I call all 49 kW into action, range drops like a rock,. GM had better prepare some pretty clear YMMV statements, lest too many newbies be disappointed with their new electric rockets. Of course, an experienced EVer can deal with that- I’ve only got 8kWh in my 170 kW conversion, though diciplining the right foot is a challenge. Especially since there’s a gas version of this EV, the price point will be extra-important. i-MiEV was unable to compete with the LEAF, despite a discount of $5 to $7k for a car with better battery management, more cargo space, and user control of regen.

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