2014 Chevy Spark EV Gets EPA Range Rating of 82 Miles; 119 MPGe Combined


Official Window Sticker for 2014 Chevy Spark EV

Official Window Sticker for 2014 Chevy Spark EV

The official figures for the 2014 Chevy Spark EV are finally here and, for General Motors’ first pure electric vehicle since the EV1, the numbers are mighty impressive.

Chevy Spark EV

Chevy Spark EV

  • Range: 82 miles
  • MPGe City: 128
  • MPGe Highway: 109
  • MPGe Combined: 119
  • Charge Time: 7 Hours @ 240 Volt
  • Electricity Consumption: 28 kWh Per 100 Miles

General Motors additionally points out that owners of the 2014 Chevy Spark EV will save up to $9,000 in “fuel” costs over 5 years and notes that the electric Spark is the “most efficient US retail electric vehicle” available today.

Pam Fletcher, GM executive chief engineer for electrified vehicles, says this of the Spark EV:

“Being able to provide our customers with the best overall efficiency of any retail EV has always been a key target for the Spark EV engineering team.  We’re poised to deliver to the market an EV that’s not just efficient, but also thrilling to drive thanks to the 400 lb-ft torque output of its electric motor.”

The 2014 Chevy Spark EV will launch in the US in late July in both California and Oregon.

Its MSRP has not been finalized at this point in time, but we do know that its after-incentive price will be below $25,000.

Other known specs for the 2014 Chevy Spark EV include its battery size of 21 kWh and that its electric motor pumps out 130 horsepower, which allows the Spark to zip from 0 to 60 mph in less than 8 seconds.  Additionally, the Spark EV will be the first electric vehicle ever offered with the SAE’s combo charger for DC quick charging.  However, that will be an optional extra, says GM.

With the EPA figures out there, are you now more inclined to consider the Spark EV, even though it’ll only initially be offered in 2 US states?  What’ll take to convince GM to offer this EV on the nationwide level?

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59 Comments on "2014 Chevy Spark EV Gets EPA Range Rating of 82 Miles; 119 MPGe Combined"

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7 hours to charge a 21kWh battery. I think it’s safe to assume they used the same 3.3kW charger as on the Volt. Ugh, when will these companies learn?!?

I should clarify before a certain someone accuses me of being anti-Volt…

I think that charger works ok for the Volt (although 6.6kW would be nice), because the Volt can simply fall back on its generator. I think it is just stupid NOT to put at least a 6.6kW charger on a pure EV.

I also see the SAE combo inlet in one of the pictures – any word on when that option will be available? What about specs on it such as charging time?

Agreed and I’m another Volt owner, I would have considered this car if the 6.6kW charger was used as my next car later this year after trading in the Volt.

Unfortunately GM made a mistake not to not at least offer a 6.6kW charger like Nissan did with the Leaf, but GM will probably offer it for the next model year once they get enough negative feedback.

Too bad since with a BEV you really need a quick charger that can get you going faster than waiting 7 hours.

Just wait for the 2015 MY, it will have the quicker charger.

I believe they went w/the same charger as the Volt to spread the costs (but that’s a guess). The Spark will have level 3 DC fast charging.

What they have done is supply a charger that can plug in to a normal outlet. Anything of a higher output would require special wiring and possibly 3 phase.

“SAE Standard Fast Charging is the newest option and the Spark EV is proud to offer this out-of-home charging option†. The revolutionary SAE combo DC fast-charging stations will charge the battery to 80 percent in just 20 minutes. It’s the future of electric charging. Look for stations in late 2013.”


The Fiat 500e will also have the SAE combo DC fast charging as a later option. Meaning we should have 2 EVs before 2014 with the SAE DC fast charging standard to compete with CHAdeMO. In 2014 BMW and Volkswagen will also introduce theirs EVs with this standard.

I think that by 2015 the SAE standard will be dominant in Europe and USA.

>>>> I think that by 2015 the SAE standard will be dominant in Europe and USA. <<<<

I'd take that bet, but you'd have to explain "dominant".

I agree, my next PEV will have 6.6kWh charging or higher, period.

Brian…you are SO anti-Volt.

They do have the quick charge port option for those that need it though, don’t they?

Well, like I said, it’s shown in one of the pictures. But we have yet to see how many quick chargers will be installed. Meanwhile, near me anyway, there are a growing number of L2 EVSEs, which nominally provide 240V/32A. Of course, near me, you cannot even get this car so the point is moot.

Spark EV site is calling SAE combo DC fast-charging the “out-of-home charging option” and shows “late availability”

Spark does not have a 6.6kW on-board charger so you can only charge at ~15 amps (~3.3kW) at L2 sites.That’s why it takes ~7 hours.

SAE QC availability is a chicken/egg problem just like it was for the Leaf when they first came out, but the chargers followed. I suspect the same will be true for SAE.

Reusing R&D dollars and resources? These < 100 EV mile BEVs are not exactly having great sales in the past two years (especially compared to similar sized ICE cars). Hard to justify to stockholders and others.

This is the first one with good (possibly great) acceleration. I hope “great”. 🙂 In that respect, it will be unique.

There are plenty of EVs with REALLY good acceleration… Tesla (any model), Rav4 EV, new Mercedes B-Class EV, and the LEAF isn’t half bad below about 45mph. Honda Fit EV is quite good, actually.

Youre comparing cars in different classes bringing up the Tesla, because yes, a BMW M3 is faster than a Ford Focus.

So was the 82 miles per charge an average of the 100% & 80% charge results like they used for the 2013 LEAF? I don’t think we ever cleared that up. Will all cars tested now have a rating that averages the 80/100 charge percentage, or only the cars that offer a setting that allows you to end the charging process at 80%?

I too would like to know these details. Do they release reports on the testing or just the sticker?

Yeh I can’t make sense of the numbers. At 28 kwh/mi, 82 miles of range puts the amount of kwh consumed at 22.9 kwh which is bigger than the stated battery size of 21 kwh

The EPA rating measures energy from the wall and thus includes charging losses, so the number can be larger than the nominal battery capacity depending on how much of the battery capacity is actually used and how efficient the onboard charger is.

Thx Dave R. (slaps forehead).

If we use 81% for the charger efficiency that puts the used kwh for 81 miles at 18.5 (from the battery). That means the actual usage is 18.5/21= 88%. This tends to back up what Tom M. said.

Anyone know what the Spark EV weighs?

I think it is a little small and a little light on range for my ideal next EV, but 400 ft-lbs in a car this small might be hard to say no to.

Josh, GM is using fuzzy math to come up with the 400 ft-lbs of torque in this car. Do you think for a minute it has over 100 lb-ft more torque than a Tesla Roadster??? If it did it would be going 0-60 in under 4 seconds, not “under 8 seconds” like GM has announced. The 400 lb-ft rating cannot be the actual motor rating (like everybody else uses) they much be measuring the torque after the reduction gear. My ActiveE for example has 184 lb-ft of torque, but one lessee took it to a BMW Car Club event and they measured it to have almost 600 lb-ft of torque at the wheels. In reality, the Spark’s motor probably has an output of about 150 lb-ft of torque which is enough to make it a pretty quick little EV, but please don’t think it really has 400 lb-ft of torque. The Model S 85kW only has 325 lb-ft of torque and it weighs nearly 5,000 lbs and goes 0-60 in 4.4 seconds!

Tom is definitely hitting the nail on the head about the 400 ft-lbs rating perhaps being strange. I actually had contacted GM about this about a month ago, talked to some reps, and was going to have a meeting with one of the Spark EV engineers…but that never materialized, not sure way.

It seems like they did something very similar when they put the Sail EV out. The Sail was orginally stated at 510 Nm/376 lb-ft, but it turned out to be 220 Nm (162lb-ft) on 88 kW.

If you use the Sail as a benchmark, you would be looking at more like 175lb-ft for the Spark EV, we’ll see.

General Motors Begins First U.S. Production of Electric Motors for 2014 Spark EV

Chuck Russell, vehicle chief engineer for the Spark EV and the Chevy Volt, went one better, telling Edmunds: “We’ve said ‘under 8 seconds’ zero to 60 for the Spark EV — and it won’t be 7.9.”

I agree that there is some funny math on the torque number and overall it will not compare to a Tesla or i3. The real measure of the vehicle power in EVs should be the kW of the motor, not the torque. They can mess with the gear ratios to crank up the low end torque, but it will have terrible highway performance.

Tesla has tuned their vehicles in the exact opposite direction. The 0-60 in 4.4 Model S is the Performance with 443 lb-ft, 310 kW motor. 5.4 seconds for the 325 lb-ft, 270 kW 85 kWh standard, but I get your point.

I would still like a test drive because it could be a 0-30 neck-snapping, stoplight monster.

I agree it should be a quick little car and probably a blast to drive. But….the motor does NOT put out 400 lb-ft of torque. In fact, there is no way it even produces 200 lb-ft!

I am the general director for Electric Drives and Electrification Systems Engineering at General Motors. I need to disabuse you of the mistaken notion that this motor has less than 400 ftlb of Torque. The Spark EV motor is designed and manufactured by GM. This motor makes 540 Nm (402 ftlbf) of Torque at stall and out to about 2000 rpm. This is not gear- multiplied axle torque, but actual motor shaft torque. The very high torque is motor performance that we are very proud of, and customers will notice the difference: (It has a gear reduction of 3.18 to 1, so the axle torque is the product of these two). This is a very low numerical reduction ratio, which has several great benefits – 1) Feels much better to drive. 3.18:1 is less than half of the reduction of all other EVs. This makes for extraordinarly low driveline inertia, less than 1/5 of the driveline inertia of the Nissan Leaf and 1/4 that of the Fiat 500 EV. Their cars feel like you are driving around in second gear all day long; ours feels like fourth gear. 2) Lower gear mesh, spinning losses, and lower high speed electromagnetic losses… Read more »

Peter, I can’t tell you what a pleasure it is to have you here. I have to admit, I may be responsible for putting the thought that this 400 pound torque thing was post gear reduction. Frankly, it seemed quite unbelievable (and still does), however we had no published data on the gear reduction.

If indeed your motor meets the specs you claim, then I commend you and your team on a job well done.

I still don’t like your company’s “Frankenplug” plans to compete with the existing world CHAdeMO chargers, but I suspect you have little to do with that.

Thanks again for setting us straight, and best wishes with your project. I can’t imagine what the encore might be in a few years!!!

Tony Williams
EV advocate

Heh, I was going to post that the final gear ratio makes a big difference in motor torque rating comparisons. In the end, what matters is torque at the wheels, not torque at the motor.

Only having to spin the motor half as fast as the competition is a huge benefit, it really should accelerate well.

BTW – I think you may meant to say the Spark EV feels like it’s in 2nd gear while the others feel like they’re in 4th and not the other way around – 4th gear tends to only be fun for top-speed runs.

I second Tony’s comments Peter. Thank you for stopping by here and straightening that out. It’s sounds like it’s going to be a fun little EV to drive and I hope to get the opportunity to take one for a test drive.

Tom, keep in mind there will be significant torque management in place in order to harness this beast. It’s not a race car or even a serious performance car. That just isn’t the audience for the Spark EV (but it will be fun to drive) 😉 But since due to its high torque-low power design it will take less electrical power to generate x-torque and can be more efficient, especially at higher road speeds where traditionally permanent magnet synchronous machines tend to suffer.

Peter, I own a Volt, and it sounds like you did the same thing to the Volt, because 0-10 mph is not that great, but after 10 mph it is pretty fast. An idea, how about an option to have the driver control the gear ratio? For example, we have D and L on the gear shifter, put in a S or something for when we want to do Tesla style burnouts, and D for everyday driving. It has to be something simple though, we don’t want to complicate the gears.

“What’ll take to convince GM to offer this EV on the nationwide level?” asks the article. I suspect the answer is simple business. The two things needed for this to happen would be for there to be 1) strong demand for it, 2) profit. If either one of those things are missing then it will stay a compliance car.

The most direct competition to the Spark EV seems to be the Fit EV. So the important question is how do the two stack up?

Spark EV: 5-door compact hatchback
21 kWh Li-PO4 A123 (B456) battery, 3.3 kW charger, 7 hours, J1772 combo, 119 MPGe, 82 miles, 130 hp, 175*ft-lbs.
Fit EV: 5-door compact hatchback
20 kWh Li-TiO4 Toshiba SCiB battery, 3.3 kW charger, 6 hours, J1772 plain, 118 MPGe, 82 miles, 123 hp, 189 ft-lbs.

It seems they stack up quite nicely.

The tech specs are definitely comparable, so how about price? It will be a little hard to compare until GM releases the lease plans for the Spark.

Fit EV has a 6.6kW on-board charger and will charge in ~3 hours. The 3.3kW on-board charger in the Spark, with no 6.6kW option, is a mistake by Chevy.

You are right, indeed the fit EV does have a 6.6 kW (32 A) charger.

Only 2 things left to know: price and 0-60 time.

As far as price goes it better be less than the Leaf. That means less than 29K BEFORE the guvm’t rebates.

0-60 better be somewhere in MID sevens or lower.

but alas this car will not work for me with my route.

That’s why I have a Volt.

While I desperately want to see EVs ramp up, I have a hard time getting excited over the Spark EV. Limited availability, a smaller car, and at a price that will almost surely be more than a Leaf S (which is $21,300 post federal tax break)? I hope GM sells/leases these as fast as they can screw them together, but speaking as someone who just leased a Leaf S, I’m not feeling any buyer’s remorse.

Did you pay extra for the 6.6kwh charger on the S?

My prediction of 82 AER was correct!

Now guesses for the actual 0-60mph time, and price.

I’ll go with 7.5 sec and $30,500

(note: GM should price it less than or equal to the Leaf @ $28,800, but i’m guessing they won’t)

At $30,500 it doesn’t matter on 0-60.
It better be less than the Leaf S
If it comes in higher it’s a loser cuz it is a smaller car w/ a smaller battery.

The Spark EV is not a “loser” because it hasn’t lost anything! Losers are those idiots that pay American money for Jpanese imports!

Hard to get excited about a compliance car that only has 3.3 kw charging. The 3.3 kw is fine for most uses, but when you are opportunity charging you really want the 6.6 kw. If I didn’t have a 2011 Leaf, I would buy… a 2013 Leaf.

Sheesh, GM has been clear that it is NOT a compliance car. It’s simply amazing how Leaf owners bristle at the Spark EV.

Yes, I know what GM says. I also ABSOLUTELY guarantee it will be sold in California to comply with California CARB-ZEV rules.

Just like all the other compliance cars. It will also be sold with at least some token effort somewhere else to call it a “non-compliance” car to get the 200 NRG / EVgo Frankenplugs installed in California in 4 years.

Let’s see how many they sell in the middle America “red states”…. my guess, zero.

But you manage fine and was excited (presumably) about your 2011 Leaf with 3.3kW charging? Unless your Leaf has a QC port that you use regularly?

I guess I’m confused at your statement.

Well come on Mouloughney speak up.
Where did you get your engineering degree again??

WOP: I obviously don’t have one!! 😉 Neither do a lot of others because there has been a lot of questions about the torque rating on many other sites too. For the record I haven’t been one of the Spark bashers though, I’m looking forward to it. It’s just hard to grasp(because I’m NOT an engineer) how the torque rating is so much higher than just about any other EV, and why GM would design it that way if the vehicle wasn’t going to use it for speed or power(like a pick up truck that need to haul heavy loads)

Tom, I was just funnin’ with ya. Hope you didn’t take it the wrong way. A lot of people have been trouble connecting the dots here but 400lbft torque at the drive axle would certainly be insufficient for anything but a golf cart. But by not having to utilize a 6 or 7:1 mechanical final drive ratio creates some significant advantages (as Peter Savagian has pointed out) But it also highlights recent advancements in permanent magnet motor technologies at a time where induction motors are considered “de rigueur” by many. Yes they are more expensive, but those additional costs have to be weighted against these numerous and significant advantages. Any idea what the final drive ratio of the new BMW i3 will be? Given less than 1/2 the peak torque it will likely need to be at least double the reduction ratio of the Spark EV but I have yet to see any published numbers.

Not at all. When you say “there’s no way is has X” and then it’s proven to have X, then you should get called out! I said there’s no way it has 400 lb-ft of torque and I was wrong. I’m glad to be wrong about stuff like this because it then becomes a bit of a learning experience for me and a lot of others too. For the record though I was certainly not alone in saying there is something fishy with the torque rating GM announced, it was being questioned everywhere. I’m very happy Peter came out and explained things here. I love that kind of participation from people on the inside, we need more of that from all the OEM’s IMHO.

No I don’t know what the i3’s reduction gear ratio will be. However the ActiveE uses the same motor that the i3 will use and has a 9.8:1 final drive ratio. The motor has 184 lb-ft of torque though, that much is known.

6.6 kw charging is a must! GM are you listening?

Volt owners have passed 40 and reached 50 miles of EV range with a heavier vehicle and a smaller battery capacity (10.5 KWH) than the Spark EV, so I expect to see it pass 90 and even reach 100 miles of range, having less weight and a larger 21 KWH battery. It is smaller and only has four seats compared to the Nissan Leaf, but 80% of vehicles on American roads carry four or less passengers anyway. So this Spark EV will be a better value for the dollar than any of the other EVs.

Folks are a bit confused about torque and performance.

400 ft lbs of motor torque times 3.18 gear reduction means 1272 ft lbs of axle shaft torque (leaving tires out of it for now).

Another company (Tesla) could have about 200 ft lbs of motor torque and use the 8.28 eGear drive reduction for an axle torque of 1656 ft lbs.

Hmmm… motor torque doesn’t really say anything about performance does it?? ~<:]

Now imagine the Spark had a good ol fashioned transmission with about 3:1 reduction. THEN you would be talking about 3816 ft lbs of axle torque and have the Mustangs and Corvettes ducking for cover.


What you are saying is essentialy correct. But then one would have to examine the speed relationships betwen the drive axles and the motor generator unit, especially at highway and top speeds as these can represent a limiting factor (overspeeding the MGU can be a significant contributng factor to failues).
A typical 15″ tire (and axle) rotates at 720 rpm at 60 mph and 1200 rpm at 100 mph. Using your Tesla example this would mean the MGU would need to be spinning 5961 rpm (@60mph) and 9936 rpm (@100mph). As opposed to the Spark which could accomplish these road speeds at 2289 and 3816 rpm respectively. Depending on the torque demand this will also lower the power requirements being supplied by the RESS at these speeds significantly improving overall efficiency.