2016 Chevrolet Spark EV Production Ends In August + Review

MAY 25 2016 BY JAY COLE 67

A popular question since the announcement of the 200 mile, all-electric Chevrolet Bolt EV was “what will happen to the Chevy Spark EV?”, the tiny all-electric from GM with 400 lb-ft of torque that gets 82 miles worth of real-world EPA range that was introduced in mid-2013.

Battery Packs For The Spark EV Are Assembled By GM At Its Brownstown Facility For The Spark EV After Being Manufactured By LG Chem At Its Holland, Michigan

Battery Packs For The Spark EV Are Assembled By GM At Its Brownstown Facility After Being Manufactured By LG Chem At Its Holland, Michigan

With pre-production of the Bolt EV happening now at GM’s Orion plant in Michigan already underway, and an ~October 2016 start of retail production, we decided to check in with what was happening with the assembly of the Spark EV at GM’s plant in Changwon, South Korea (as GM has been fairly mum on its plans for the plug-in Spark).

As it turns out according to our sources, the 2016 Spark EV will continue to be produced through late summer (August of 2016), but then is MIA on the production schedule in Changwon for the 2017/fall season.

At the same time, the recently refreshed petrol Spark heads into its 2017 model year assembly run starting next month (the Spark EV never made the transition last year to the refreshed look/platform).

So it would seem then, and as expected, the Spark EV will give way in GM’s lineup for the arrival of the Bolt EV, of which first deliveries are planned for ~December of this year.

Not to be forgotten, the Spark EV did what it was intended to – show that GM could build and sell an all-electric car, and do so in a quantity enough to fill regulatory/compliance needs (~some 5,559 copies in the US between June 2013 and April 2016), plus also move some copies to areas of the world GM thought they could sell a little extra product and show off its EV wares (Canada, South Korea, Mexico, etc).

Bonus: As a reminder of what the Chevrolet Spark EV still has to offer, InsideEVs reader (SparkEV) passed along the below review on the all-electric Chevy by “Petrol_Head”

Categories: Chevrolet


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67 Comments on "2016 Chevrolet Spark EV Production Ends In August + Review"

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It is a shame they didn’t keep this as a low priced alternative to the Bolt. It is a very good small car.

I was going to say the same thing. Once the Spark EV is gone, it will leave a hole in the market for a low-cost EV. However, I suspect GM would rather those remaining tax credits be going towards Volt and Bolt than to the Spark EV which is probably unprofitable.

The Spark was never exposed to the “market” unless you consider compliance states the whole of the market. Most in the “rest” of the U.S. have never even seen a Spark some don’t even know it exists.

Too bad they did not make it available nationwide. While too goofy looking for my tastes it likely would have found many more takers if GM REALLY wanted to sell them

There’s iMiev and SmartED for low end. Once SparkEV is gone, low end EV means sloooow.

Also, Autotrader shows some new Leaf S advertised for as low as $16K and one SV (30 kWh model) as $20K. At least Leaf is Prius slow, so it’s bit better. If this kind of sale becomes widespread, that could be the new norm for low cost EV rather than iMiev and SmartED.

“How do I say goodbye to what we had?
The good times that made us laugh
Outweigh the bad.

I thought we’d get to see forever
But forever’s gone away
It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.

I don’t know where this road
Is going to lead
All I know is where we’ve been
And what we’ve been through.

If we get to see tomorrow
I hope it’s worth all the wait
It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.

And I’ll take with me the memories
To be my sunshine after the rain
It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.

And I’ll take with me the memories
To be my sunshine after the rain
It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.”-boyz ii men

When Bolt arrives it will force price cuts on the Leaf, e-Golf, e-Up, KIA Soul EV etc.

All the current “affordable EVs” will be low end as soon as the Bolt is on sale.

While I see your point, I think they’d do better to do a 24kWh Bolt variant if they want a low cost entry point, because, as a dedicated EV chassis, it’s a better choice than the Spark. Furthermore, it’d increase Bolt-component quantities further driving down cost.

That is, in theory. But in practice, if the Bolt is really going to sell for $37k, how much less expensive would a car have to be to have less than half the range? Probably about $15k less, and I just can’t see GM selling the Spark or a low range Bolt variant for $25k before incentives. But I’d love to be wrong!

SparkEV is already MSRP $25K before incentives. Seeing how some sales are under $19K before incentives and many for $22K, I suspect MSRP could get lot lower.

I wonder what my 2014 Spark EV with DCFC would have been with an updated 24 or 30kWh battery?

Otherwise, a 30-36kWh lower cost Bolt could fit the bill.

I think 60 kWh should be the new minimum. The savings by going down just aren’t worth it IMO. At least not going as small as 24 kWh, with 20 useable for the brand new car and 15 kWh useable capacity after ten years. Range anxiety even on sunny days… Bigger packs lose basically the same *absolute* capacity as smaller ones (loss per cycle is proportional to pack size, but number of cycles is inversely proportional to pack size); in practice smaller packs lose *more* because you have to run them harder, going near full and empty more of the time. So I think if a smaller cheaper one is any point, it should still be at least 36 kWh; 30 useable and perhaps 26 kWh useable after ten years, for 30% more range in the ten-year old car than the 24 kWh one had as a new car. If we guesstimate cost at $200/kWh the 12 extra (36 instead of 24) only increases the cost of making it by $2,400 and to my mind it’d be twice as good. It’s battery could provide useful range for the life of the car, whereas the other could be quite crippled after… Read more »

I sat in one at the LA Auto Show, years ago. The design and build quality felt like a third world golf cart.

A compliance one, at that.

At a cheap price it would be a best-seller in Spain/Italy where they love that kind of small car.

But having the right car for the right market hasn’t been a priority in the compliance EV world.

Some people like the cheap material that’s easy to wipe off dog drool and synthetic seats that are covered with seat covers anyway. Some (maybe just me) rather save the money than have refined leather and wood grain trims that serve no useful purpose, especially for commuter car.

I agree, it had all the charm of a 10 speed bike, with a radio strapped to the handlebars.

Jeff thanks for the compliments about my bike. You must have seen me riding around Connecticut! But I need something more enclosed for winters, sounds like the Spark would have been right up my gravel road. Too bad it wasn’t available here. : (

Well, at least there are few more months to get this “engineering marvel” of a car, the very first EV from GM that you can actually own.

What’s sad is SparkEV is probably the highest output EV in the world at discharging 105kW/18.5kWh = 5.7C and charging 48kW/18.4kWh = 2.5C. Those numbers are even better than Tesla P90DL. But Bolt is 150kW/60kWh=2.5C and 50kW/60kWh=0.83, making it the lowest output EV in the world.

Would not the BMW i3, with its 125 kW motor and 18.8 kWh (usable) battery pack, have a higher discharge rate than the Spark EV? i3 owners have observed DC fast chargers reporting a maximum of ~50 kW of charging power, so it would seem that the i3’s charge rate is similar to that of the Spark EV. Am I incorrect?

You have to use full battery capacity to calculate C rate. BMW discharge rate is quicker (~6C), but charging is less. I observed i3 charging and then used the same charger, and SparkEV was more power. Being i3 fan (except price), and difference wasn’t dramatic like with Leaf, I don’t say much about it.

Considering i3 using “exotic” materials like carbon fiber and cost double of SparkEV that’s pretty much $12K gas car mod, GM engineers did one hell of a job. They should be very proud.

You’re arguing it’s a *good* thing to charge/discharge the battery more quickly and therefore stress it more??

Thanks, but I’d rather get 120kW charging while still keeping the charge rate well below 2C.

I think it’s misconception that fast charging is always bad. Even Leaf with non-cooled battery is only affected 10% more than non-DCFC, and I’m skeptical if that was due to DCFC or heat from DCFC due to lack of cooling. Even at 95% efficient of 50kW, that’s lots of heat in enclosed box.

The problem with Tesla (for now) is the charge taper. They start off with 1.7C (120kW/70kWh), but very quickly drop to less than half that. I don’t know why, could be not enough cooling or just chemistry. I hope their future cars will do better, 3.2C without taper is more to my liking (15 min to 80%).

RIP Spark !

I hope we don’t have to do and intervention for SparkEV, the poster, due too depression.

I’ll be hanging out here. Though I’m not visible, Elvis is enthusiastically setting up my drink.

Ah, “The Nighthawks.” Yes, I see you are doing fine in your post-Sparkdom depression.

It’s actually called “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”. Also the music video by Green day

I’m not surprised to see this car’s production come to an end but I am disappointed. I think there will remain a market for low price / short range commuter EVs. And with the unmatched performance (in its class) of the Spark EV, it had a lot of good selling points.

That said, much of the Spark EV’s engineering will live on in the Volt and Bolt.


If an automaker is serious about EVs it should have at least two different models. This is a minimum requirement. One for range and other for affordability and city driving. This is why I think that Nissan will sell a Micra EV (based in the Sway) side by side with the new Leaf/IDS.

A 5 seat car with longer range like the Bolt would complement the 4 seat Spark EV.

If GM wanted they could even double the range. As Renault will do for the Zoe. Both cars have LG Chem cells. At least make an improved/facelifted Spark EV with 100 miles range.

I wonder how lease numbers will look like in a few months…they are so low right now as it is. Residuals will surely go down even more once the end of production is made official.

It is a fantastic little car. From the outside it looks like a golf cart and that only serves to make the ride quality and pep more impressive. Hopefully they will release a two hundred mile version for the rest-of-the-world golf cart market that will continue to exist in spite of the Bolt.

Let me first say I am a huge fan of EV’s and believe they are the future,

The major problem with all BEV’s is battery degredation, if you can’t upgrade the battery, the life of the car is massively shorter than with an ICE, to make them compelling you either have to be able to upgrade them or make them much cheaper over the term of ownership including residual value.

Hard to imagine “classic” EV’s !

Where will all the off lease EV’s end up ? The batteries in energy storage most likely ?

It’s a shame that EV’s aren’t made of more recyclable materials which make sense given their short lives !

Do you upgrade your ICE when the engine/transmission dies? No, so I don’t think you need to upgrade the battery, just replace it when necessary, the same as you do for an ICE drivetrain.

Unlike ICE drivetrains, when you replace the battery in 10-20 years, it will be cheaper – the cost/kWh has been steadily dropping.

Lithium is also readily recyclable – the Tesla Gigafactory will take in old batteries as well as raw materials to produce new ones, but yes some of them can move to static energy storage where energy density isn’t such an important factor.

Assuming that you can replace the battery in 10-20 years time !

What makes you think that you will be able to find someone to replace the current shape & size of a battery with an identical one in 10-20 years from now regardless of the cost or energy density of the cells ?

Custom 3D Battery Printing…

I knew I’d overlooked something !

Hat’s off to the Spark EV. It is a great little EV commuter. Great performance. CCS fast-charging ability. Low price.

You’ve done well.

This means better demand for upcoming new generation Smart ForTwo. Despite it’s not an equal car(less space, less power, more range, cheaper), supermini EV segment is very small and this will work for Smart.

Its obvious why they had to cut the Spark:

It didn’t rhyme with “volt”.

I have had a Spark EV in Texas for a year now and it is the first car I have truly loved since my Grand Am GT. 🙂 It actually feels roomier on the inside than our Chevy Volt does.

It’s too bad that the re-designed Spark is not getting an EV option. I much prefer the look of the 2016 Spark. I will be updating to a Bolt next year but might end up keeping the Spark anyways.

The Spark EV is a true dichotomy… way too much pep in a car that was always intended to just meet basic emission compliance. Why it had the power it did is a mystery. Unfortunately, GM had to almost give the cars away, which obviously cost a lot of money over 5500 total cars. The Chevy Spark EV was built, first and foremost, to comply with California Air Resources Board – Zero Emission Vehicle (CARB-ZEV) rules. GM was grossly clueless in this regard, as they bought more CARB-ZEV credits from their competition for 2012-2013 than anybody else! The Spark EV was the very last car in the group of large vehicle manufacturers be produced, being almost one year late. Starting in 2012, the six “Large Vehicle Manufacturers” (LVM) were required to sell a minimum number of California Air Resources Board – Zero Emission Vehicle (CARB-ZEV) qualifying vehicles for compliance in California: Manufacturer – ZEV used for CARB compliance, model years 2012-2014: Ford – Focus EV (still limping along, since Ford has no hydrogen plans) Honda – Fit EV (production stopped long ago), hydrogen will be their stated future, but maybe EVs return? Chrysler/Fiat – 500e (“don’t buy my car”!!!) Toyota… Read more »

RE: Spark EV in MD

Here’s GM’s official statement: “Maryland has a strong commuter market and a good charging infrastructure, which influenced the decision to make it the Spark EV’s first East Coast market,” said Majoros. “We also have a strong dealership network in the Old Line State that’s eager to offer it.”

Company official statements in general are usually mostly bulls***. There are lots of places with a heavy commuter market, so why not offer the car there?

Maryland just “happens” to be a CARB-ZEV state. That’s why the Spark is there. My bigger point was that they never had to do that (Well, until 2018 anyway).

I’m counting the days until the CARB “travel provision” expires at the end of 2017, and the CARB states not named California start selling a full menu of EVs. The EV monthly sales chart should see a nice permanent bump in 2018.

I think the hydrogen folks shot themselves in the foot when they had hydrogen cars exempted from the traveling provision.

What will happen is that companies like Toyota will continue to load up just California (or maybe one or two other token ZEV states) while all the other CARB states get all the EVs.

Since the hydrogen game can continue through year 2025 and just one state, imagine what the landscape looks like when every auto company is providing at least one or more EV’s in all the other CARB states? I have to imagine that those same consumers won’t be clamoring for expensive hydrogen cars that are expensive to operate with limited “charging” stations.

Then what do they do after 2025? Is hydrogen still get to be the energy that is just around the corner in the future? Or does the great state of California finally put ihydrogen exactly on par with battery cars?

While not going into details, SparkEV is not a head scratcher if seen as test EV instead of compliance, though compliance was side benefit. GM had Bolt in the works probably before SparkEV hit the market, and that’s probably why they canceled wider release of SparkEV. High power, DCFC, selling in countries that get no ZEV, low volume, they all make sense for test car for something that’ll be “better” later.

But for something better, their lack of charging infrastructure is still a head scratcher. Maybe they’re waiting for 150kW CCS to be finalized? Or maybe they want to partner with Tesla (unlikely, I know)?

As for the cost, I doubt it was unprofitable since it’s using mostly existing parts from SparkGas and Volt. Cars like 500e had to get their EV bits brand new and from third party whereas SparkEV leveraged Volt bits.

There is absolutely no way that they aren’t losing their ass on every sale if you don’t include the value of the CARB-ZEV credits.

At my guesstimate of the market value of one credit at $4000 each, that means every sale of a “100 mile range” zero emission vehicle nets a value to GM of $12,000.

Another head scratcher that I didn’t include in my list was the fact that they made 5500 cars, which is way too many cars to meet basic compliance in the US. I suspect they wanted to have a few credits to sell themselves, as opposed to writing big checks like they did a few years ago.

If they had to come up with lots of brand new stuff for SparkEV, they would lose money. But given that 500e with 25% bigger battery that has EV bits purchased from third party was losing 14K several years ago, I doubt SparkEV using Volt bits is losing money, at least not recently.

I suspect Bolt battery deal gave them the cost reduction and that’s why price reduction in Apr. 2015 and able to offer in Mexico and Canada.

As for the number of cars, it’s probably to meet the sudden surge of demand from Apr. 2015 after they sold 920 cars in 2 states and sold out for many months. Who knows what their original plan was.

“When they realized that the car had too much battery to meet compliance regulations for “100 miles”, they actually reduced the battery size and then told everybody it would have the same range… of course, it didn’t and doesn’t.”

What is a more accurate EPA Range for the ’15 and ’16 Spark EVs with the 18.4 kWh battery?

EPA is 82 miles, but Tony measured 98 miles with 2014 21 kWh battery at 62 MPH (100 km/hr). He measured less with 2015’s 18.4 kWh, but still lot more than EPA.

GM didn’t simply reduce the battery size. They changed from A123 in 2014 to LG in 2015, same as Volt. They did reduce the battery size with LG, but added benefit was ~100 lb lighter car.

Again, if you consider SparkEV as test car, that makes total sense: different battery maker and different capacity while keeping the power the same to see how things will behave in the real world. Frankly, I’m surprised they didn’t come up with Samsung battery for 2016 model.

CARB doesn’t use EPA range. They use a test similar to the old EPA LA4 “city cycle” test.

Thus, a car with 80 miles EPA can get CARB-ZEV credit for “100 miles” range.

I tested both the 2014 and 2015 Spark EVs, and wrote an article on the 2014 Sparky EV right here on Inside EV’s. The difference between the larger battery 2014 and the smaller battery 2015 and newer was about 6 miles less range.

Actually, you measured even more than 6 miles less for 2015.

Your article for 2014, sir!


Did anyone ever definitely figure out what the usable capacity of a ’15/’16 Spark EV is?

Seriously, I’m just gonna friggin lease one, plug in the OBDII and find out myself!

Range at 65mph (100km ground speed) on dry, hard surface level road with no wind or cabin climate control with new condition battery at 70F, battery capacity is “useable” amount, not advertised amount. Ranges are at maximum available charge and EPA rating is the maximum published. Nissan LEAF – 4 miles per kWh (250 wattHours per mile) * 21.3kWh = 85.2 miles / EPA 84 BMW i3 – 4.7 miles per kWh (213 wattHours per mile) * 18.8kWh = 89 miles (the “REx” version has less electric range) I3 “REx” (with gasoline engine) – 4.6 miles per kWh (217 wattHours per mile) * 18.8kWh = 86 miles minus reserve held for gasoline engine operation = 80 miles Kia Soul EV – 4 miles per kWh (250 wattHours per mile) * 27kWh = 108 miles / EPA 93 VW eGolf – 4.1 miles per kWh (244 wattHours per mile) * 24kWh = 100 miles GM / Chevrolet 2014 Spark EV – 5 miles per kWh (200 wattHours per mile) * 19kWh = 95miles / EPA 82 2015 Spark EV – 5 miles per kWh (200 wattHours per mile) * 18kWh = 89 miles / EPA 82 Mercedes B-Class ED – 3.6***… Read more »

While I could measure SparkEV and see 5 mi/kWh, I was curious about other cars, especially i3. It’s lighter than SparkEV and rated higher EPA MPGe than SparkEV, yet it shows lower mi/kWh. Is that real or was testing botched/different? Maybe it’s my soft spot for i3 that keeps me skeptical.

Anyway, at almost 10K miles, it’s now showing 5.2 mi/kWh combined. It seems occasional drive in LA really bump up the efficiency, though my blood pressure probably went up way more.

With the lease deals and state rebates, it’s practically a free car. Even before counting the savings from gas, the CA rebate alone means that the net cost on our Spark EV is negative until the 2nd year of the lease.

Honda is not only militant about the leases but is also militant about living in the “covered area.” There is a clause in our lease that we are not permitted to lease the car if we move. We also agree to telemetry from the car that includes its GPS location so I would assume our moving to another area would generate a letter from Honda, but I’m at a loss as to what the hell they would actually DO about it.
I guess the Fit EV isn’t compatible with that weird electricity they have in Iowa.
I guess they will just resell it if we move (they are reselling old Fit EVs but apparently don’t have any to sell at this point.)

Honda is not selling any Fit EVs, they just continue to lease them.

I agree with SparkEV, GM’s actions with the Spark EV make sense if you look at the vehicle as a test bed for future EVs. Aside from CARB compliance, I would think that GM wanted to get real world feedback on their EV powertrain design. Compared to other similar EV models, GM took a different approach going with a high torque motor and a high gear ratio. The way that GM switched out battery suppliers and tweaked with the motor and the gear ratio after the first model year indicates to me that they were rapidly applying things that they learned out in the field. Much easier to keep the target moving with a low volume model that was mostly on low cost three-year leases, than it would have been with a higher volume launch. Very likely, the 2nd gen Volt and Bolt are better cars than they would have been had the Spark EV not come out first. If you look at the Bolt, GM adjusted down the torque and went with a lower gear ratio compared to what they used with the Spark EV. Would they have gone with this same approach if they didn’t have feedback from… Read more »

Clearly, Spark EV was also an engineering test bed, as we now know that the Bolt was developed at roughly the same time as the Spark was deployed.

That doesn’t explain a lot of the other oddities. Why was GM’s a late to market with spark that they had to pay millions of dollars and compliance credits? That’s just dumb giving your competition money. Tesla, by the way, really enjoyed taking it.

With the Bolt coming out, you would think GM would want to have the infrastructure quickly being installed. Instead, they’re going to go the lame route and hope somebody else does it for them. Their official position (not the consumer friendly version but the corporate insider message) is that public utilities will install all the charging stations… that’s how clueless they are. Hey, GM, how is that working out for you?

Again, it doesn’t look like anybody is in charge.

Some of those oddities can be explained by GM being GM. I mean, they flushed billions after EV1, what’s a few million? I think OR first may have to do with cold weather testing.

As for Bolt and charger, as I wrote above, they’re probably waiting on final changes to 150 kW CCS or partnering. They probably don’t want to support chargers that may become obsolete soon. It’s lame, I know.

What’s even more lame is me making excuses for GM. WTF happened to me?

I am in the same boat! I am no fan of the GM corporate culture, but do realize their massive engineering capabilities have resulted in some of their vehicles being fantastic. And after 14 months with my Spark EV, I still adore it. The build quality and reliability have been flawless. Literally zero issues. The TCO is incredibly low, the performance (with sticky aftermarket tires) amazingly high. The amount of useful space compared to competing city cars is remarkable.

In general, Spark EV and Volt owners really love their cars. And though many have never considered themselves as “Chevy People”, they find themselves not only recommending the cars to others, but even defending them and GM itself.

My prediction is that the Bolt will be quite good as well, but overlooked or even derided by many simply because of it’s brand. Bad for GM, but great for bargain hunting buyers.

So the idea is don’t buy a Gm product?


Whatever the reason, I love our Spark EV. It’s utility is great for commuter, mall parking wars, and beach weekenders with the family and dog. All for nearly free after rebates.

Between family and friends, we leased 5 of them last year after the initial dive into EV with the Fiat 500e lease deal.

This is a great little car and will miss it when lease is up.

Really a shame, that GM never brought it to Europe.

We get used SPARK EV here in Arizona but they are very hard to find with the QC port. Dealers even in California never know if they have the QC.
We lease in CA them new and get QC then bring them to AZ. They are very affordable and with Liquid battery cooling hold up great in our heat. Too bad it will be dropped when the BOLT comes out or before.