GM Working on Next-Gen Dedicated Electric Vehicle Bigger Than Chevy Spark EV; Production Set for South Korea

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 26

Chevy Spark EV

Chevy Spark EV is a Converted Electric That Might be Too Small For Some Tastes

Unlike the Chevy Spark EV, which is obviously a converted electric vehicle, the next-generation EV from General Motors will reportedly be built on its own dedicated platform.

CEO of GM Korea Sergio Rocha

CEO of GM Korea Sergio Rocha

Word of this next-gen electric vehicle from GM first came three weeks ago when CEO Dan Akerson stated:

“We’re actually developing a car today which is really anathema to the way the auto industry works: We’re running a dual play on the technology to see which one will succeed. One will result in…a 100-mile range…the other will be a 200-mile range.”

But now there’s more news to report.  Sergio Rocha, CEO of GM Korea, told Reuters that this next-gen EV will be produced in South Korea (that’s the production site for the upcoming Spark EV, too) and that it will be slightly bigger than the subcompact (or minicar, depending on who you ask) Spark.

“This (next-generation electric) car has a lot of similarities with the products we produce today in Bupyeong (South Korea),” Rocha told Reuters at the Seoul Auto Show.

Rocha further confirmed that GM will work with LG Chem to develop and manufacture batteries for the next-gen EV, which will be General Motors’ first dedicated electric vehicle (excluding the limited production EV-1).

It’s unclear at this time if the next-gen EV will the 200-mile or 100-mile electric that Akerson referred to a few weeks back, but we’re stoked to know that it’ll be more spacious than the Spark EV and that it will not be compromised by being built around an existing platform.

There’s no timeframe for the launch of this next-gen EV to report at this time, but figure it to be at least a few years off.

via Reuters

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26 responses to "GM Working on Next-Gen Dedicated Electric Vehicle Bigger Than Chevy Spark EV; Production Set for South Korea"

  1. Open-Mind says:

    “We’re actually developing a car today which is really anathema to the way the auto industry works: We’re running a dual play on the technology to see which one will succeed. One will result in…a 100-mile range…the other will be a 200-mile range.”

    His statement makes no sense. IMO, a choice of EV range options is a good thing that any potential customer will want. Who does he think dislikes that option?

  2. GeorgeS says:

    GM should do a baby range extender like the i3. Then they only need a 100 mile battery.

  3. Future Leaf Driver says:

    Cruze with a battery! GM you’ve already built it. Just start shipping it!

    This is NOT rocket science and if you feel that it is, just call your inspiration for the Volt, Elon Musk and have him give you a hand!!!

    The fact that GM doesn’t still understand why they trail the Nissan Leaf with over 50,000 sold and counting means GM doesn’t realize what buyers want – simple, spacious, EV with 100 mile plus range!!!

    1. scottf200 says:

      The LEAF is ~75 EV miles and certainly less in most winter locations. Perhaps you missed this recent insideevs article: http://insideevs.com/2012-top-1000-global-sales-list-chevy-volt-ranks-432-nissan-leaf-468-renault-twizy-626-mitsubishi-i-miev-645-tesla-model-s-730/

      1. Future Leaf Driver says:

        Nope, read that one Scott, but you may have missed this one…

        http://insideevs.com/nissan-passes-50000-leafs-sold-worldwide/

        “Today the 100% electric Nissan LEAF marked another milestone in the history of EVs as it passed the 50,000 sales mark, reinforcing its position as the best selling electric vehicle of all time.”

        1. Clarksoncote says:

          It seems clear by the global sales and otherwise, that the Volt is outselling the Leaf, which is also unequivocally true in the US.

          Bt we need not argue about that, what’s more important is that all PHEV, EREV, and BEV sales numbers continue to increase.

  4. Steve says:

    GM could also do themselves a favor by selling the Spark EV to the public in Canada instead of fleet sales only.

    1. bloggin says:

      They sell EVs to fleet/governments/cities/municipalities early on to get feedback/identify issues from a select group, before releasing to the general public.

  5. kdawg says:

    “which will be General Motors’ first dedicated electric vehicle”
    ———————–
    After the EV-1

    Anyway, this is exciting news to me (if its the 200 mile version). If they can get 200 miles reliably, I may become a BEV customer after I sell/trade-in my Volt. I’m thinking 3-5 years from now.

    I hope it’s sporty-looking.

    1. Eric Loveday says:

      @kdawg

      Whoops…we thought you guys had forgotten the EV-1…We did. Anyways, we think GM considers the EV-1 more or less a prototype, as they never refer to it as their first production electric vehicle. But we did add the EV-1 mention….Thanks

  6. Dave K. says:

    This is really a big deal, means OEMs are thinking the Leaf is a success. Of course a dedicated platform makes for a better car than a conversion, look at the Focus EV with no trunk to speak of, vs the Leaf (or Tesla model S with a hatch AND a frunk). But to invest in designing and producing a dedicated model you have to believe there is a big enough market to justify it, (Like Nissan did) hence they (or at least GM) believe the Leaf is a success.

    1. Future Leaf Driver says:

      Well with over 50K sold and counting it must be a success, no one else has sold that many! With the 2013 model starting at just over $22K after tax breaks, watch the numbers really start climbing!!!

      http://insideevs.com/nissan-passes-50000-leafs-sold-worldwide/

      “Today the 100% electric Nissan LEAF marked another milestone in the history of EVs as it passed the 50,000 sales mark, reinforcing its position as the best selling electric vehicle of all time.”

  7. Herm says:

    GM could do a modular platform that holds a flat battery pack in the middle of the car, the case itself would reinforce the chassis, both the front and back could be from an existing platform. The Volt was done in a similar way, the Delta II platform center section was modified to hold the battery pack.
    Two hundred mile range is going to need high energy density cells like the laptop cells that Tesla uses, otherwise you will end up with a 1200lbs battery pack.

    1. kdawg says:

      I’ve seen videos/pics of GM swapping batteries, but how does Telsa do it?

      GM did have the battery-skateboard concept years ago. I think they realized making the batteries part of the frame may not be the best idea. But, as long as they can swap the cells somehow… it might be ok?

  8. Warren says:

    I suspect that GM’s plan to build a Leaf size EV depends on whether or not the industry can crush the Fed/California mileage/carbon regs.

    Or maybe GM is the OEM that Phinergy claims to be in contact with. 🙂 If their primary battery is the real deal, it would turn any EV into a viable only car. But it would need to be rebuilt/exchanged for about $100 US to make economic sense.

  9. evnow says:

    At first I thought this is about Envia. Apparently not – unless LG is getting the tech from Envia.

    There are two ways to build an EV.

    Either you build the EV near where batteries are made. Or build the batteries where the EVs are made.

    “US” company GM decided to build EVs near where batteries are built – Korea. Nissan decided to build the battery where Leaf is built, US.

    1. kdawg says:

      Well LG did open the Holland, MI plant.. but not seeing much production (if any)??? The packs are assembled in Brownstown. Just the cells are sourced from Korea.

      1. evnow says:

        Yes – given that LG took government money for the Holland factory (not to forget the huge bailout GM got), why does GM want to build new EVs (not conversions like Spark) in Korea ?

  10. bloggin says:

    Dedicated platforms is the logical progression, once viability/marketability is established using more economical existing platforms.

    The initial cost savings by using existing platforms is enormous.

    Using existing platforms enables the manufacturer to more quickly recoup development costs of the EV powertrain, and help fund more development. Sharing EV technology with plug-in hybrids and hybrids bring down development costs even more.

    So it makes sense for GM to move to lighter weight EV platform, that can be shared between various EVs. Ford seems to be going in the same direction, as their product plan calls for another C/D platform, which will certainly be the shared lightweight/aluminum platform for the next Focus/Focus EV/C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi.

  11. Bonaire says:

    I will buy it if it made in the USA.

  12. scottf200 says:

    Re: “This (next-generation electric) car has a lot of similarities with the products we produce today in Bupyeong (South Korea),”
    Current model range in South Korea:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GM_Korea#Current_model_range_in_South_Korea

  13. Bill Howland says:

    I hope the technology advance allows a workable reasonably priced 200 mile range battery. I’d take a 1000 mile range or even more if the price starts dropping like hard disk space on computers. My first computer had 75 k of floppy disk storage. Now you can get USB sticks (that are used for the same reason as the old floppies, removable storage) for a reasonable price that are 64 gb (or 900,000 Times bigger).

    I’d love replacing my roadster battery (244 miles) in a few years with a 2440 mile battery. (530 kwh storage). Before anyone says it will take too long to charge on my 30 amp charger dock at home, I’d say so what? I use the car during the day, come home and plug it in. The next day I do the same thing. Exactly the same thing I do with my Celly.

    Since I don’t drive to Milwaukee from Buffalo NY and back every day, If I DID make such a trip, then reverted to my normal routine of 40 miles per day driving, in a week the car would be fully charged again automatically. Who cares what day it actually finished charging?

    1. MMcI says:

      That is a really exciting use case to imagine. I always get scared when folks refer to expectations of battery technology increasing on a pace with other technologies like CPU processes per second, volatile memory density, or hard drive capacity (it probably won’t). Still, batteries WILL undoubtedly continue to increase power density and power/cost ratios (just at a frustratingly slower pace). As that happens, it’s very cool to imagine just how we could have fun with these newer cars. Throw in next gen driver assist technologies, and after you navigate to the freeway and engage the “autopilot” you could take a nap while it quasi-silently whisks you to the vacation destination of your choice!

      1. Bill Howland says:

        Well if I was “Expecting” what you say, then my roadster would be good for about 10 million miles, and I would never need to be recharging it period.

        I’m anticipating a very reasonable, very conservative 10 x improvement, not 900,000 X as has happened with commodity usb sticks.

  14. Anthony says:

    I said it last time this came up, the 100 mile range is probably LG Chem using batteries around 200Wh/kg, and the 200 mile range model is likely Envia or some other start-up battery company.

    A 100 mile Leaf-sized EV is a good idea, but considering that it wouldn’t hit stores until 2015 or so, it has to be priced right. The design lifecycle of the vehicle will be within the time frame of the EV tax credits phasing out, so they have to build the car with that in mind – that they need to get it down to $20K w/o credits when the time comes.

    1. evnow says:

      A 100 mile EV in 2015 (or later) is probably too little, too late. I think people would expect multiple battery options (and possibly a REx) by then.