Chevrolet Spark EV Range Record Now Stands At Almost 140 Miles


137.7 Miles Is The Mark To Beat In A Chevrolet Spark EV

139.7 Miles Is The Mark To Beat In A Chevrolet Spark EV

Earlier this month Nick Jaynes at Digital Trends set out to achieve a new Chevrolet Spark EV distance record on a single charge.

On paper, according to EPA the Spark EV’s range is pegged at 82 miles with 129 MPGe in the city and 108 MPGe on the highway, but for maximum range tests none of these metrics applies as a speed of around 18-20 mph is the optimal travelling speed on a closed course – at least according to Chevy engineers.

Digital Trends's Spark EV Netted

Digital Trends’s Spark EV Report A Efficiency Of 7.3 mi/kWh On The Long Distance Run

Long story short, the number eventually set was 139.7 miles.  Unfortunately there is room for improvement as the cruise control in the Spark EV can only be activated as low as 24 mph – a feature that Mr. Jaynes takes advantage of.

So, if you want to take down this record and you have about 8 hours to kill driving like your Grandad who just lost his license but still wants to go to Joe’s diner across town to get the same cup of coffee he been drinking for 50 years, then have at it.

More than the range number itself (and as someone who has attempted a controlled long distance run when the Nissan LEAF), we can understand how Digital Trends’ story ends up being more about the journey than the end result.

Over the 6+ hours, Nick grapples with the reality of being restrained inside a pretty small car while dealing with his ‘personal needs’ (of which a empty Gatorade bottle comes in handy) as well as some hunger pains (his lunch was lobbed through the window).

“…I shared my hard-earned mileage record with the fine folks at Chevrolet. Apparently a room of EV engineers gasped when they learned of my range achievement.  When I prodded the Chevy reps to see if my effort was an official record, though, they were unwilling to say specifically. The most they would reveal is that they know of no other range test that exceeded my 139.7 miles, making it an unofficial record.”

“Why the aloofness from Chevrolet? Simply, the reps were concerned with upsetting the EPA.”

Check out the whole article on the long distance run here – a good primer before you attempt any marathon runs yourself.

Sidenote: (because you know you want to know) we managed to coax 152 miles out of a Nissan LEAF travelling in a huge oval for just over 8 hours

Category: Chevrolet

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23 responses to "Chevrolet Spark EV Range Record Now Stands At Almost 140 Miles"
  1. Anon says:

    At those low speeds, the distances achieved might have elated your great great grandfather. 😉

  2. ClarksonCote says:

    So in the Volt, the Cruise can be activated at some minimum speed (say 24mph), BUT… at that point one can get it to decrease a few more MPH by using the decrement button, IIRC.

    If true for the Spark, maybe the test needs to be painstakingly executed one more time. 🙂

  3. Warren says:

    I do this all the time on my e-assist recumbent bicycle. The difference is that it only takes me 1 kWh to recharge. 🙂


    All time record holder, “LEAFfan”, drove his new 2013 LEAF for 188 miles on one charge on May 27, 2013 with economy of 8.8mile per kWh, relatively flat terrain, little wind, 75F to start in sunny Phoenix.

    LEAFfan’s previous record from May 5, 2012 with a 2011 LEAF – (151 miles / 243 km), 8.5 miles/kWh center console (8.4 dash since it only goes to 8.0 on the readout) on ONE CHARGE. He could have done 170 miles if he had started with full capacity, instead of a calculated 17.976kWh (151 / 8.4 = 17.976).

    The Toyota Rav4 EV has also been driven to over 180 miles.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Hiya Tony,

      I’m glad you mentioned the unofficial LEAF distance record, I was going to put it (and 5-6 other models top distances) in the story but I thought it might get distracting to the subject.

      Whenever someone suggest doing a long distance run in model ‘XYZ’ now I just tell them to have it, I’m not doing it – as you (more than) know setting up things like that are arduous to say the least; then some people come out of no where and have problems with the methodology.

      1. kdawg says:

        How about a list of shortest distance records? Start with a full charge then drive like hell 🙂

        1. Anon says:

          I like that idea. Might provide more useful data to potential buyers / drivers…

        2. Nix says:

          Sounds like Top Gear’s test of the Roadster…

          Run it hard around a track, and then pretend to need to push it, even though you never really ran it out of juice.

          No thanks.

          1. Anon says:

            Fake data is not real data. No one was suggesting to pull a “Top Gear”, just to make a vehicle look bad.

            Running standardized high speed tests and tracking the range, would give potential buyers better insight into how a particular EV would perform in the real world. No one normally drives 20 mph for 8ish hours.

            KDawg is onto something. I think high speed EV tests could promote higher efficiency and larger / more dense battery packs for consumers.

        3. Anon says:

          That darn Vmax clip gets in the way, but it’s still the best depletion run to be “assigned” to do (evil grin).

    2. Kevin says:

      FYI…..many of these poeple that claim high milage per charge runs, put the car up on a jack stands for most or all of their high milage run…..

  5. Kettle says:

    It would be fun to see what the car could do in optimal conditions.

  6. EV says:

    oh look an attempt to spur hype for this ugly fail of a car

    no one wants that ugly thing!

    1. John Hansen says:

      I do. I’m disappointed that it isn’t available in Wisconsin, otherwise I would probably get one to replace my Volt when my lease is up in September.

    2. Anon says:

      It does look like a baby Leaf, before its eyes bugged out fully… But it does have a nice power train, usable cargo space and fast charge capability.

    3. Open-Mind says:

      If available in IL, I probably would have gotten the Spark instead of my Volt. It may be uglier, but it’s also cheaper, faster, and has more EV range … enough range to nicely handle my daily drive. To improve the Spark’s looks, I was planning to “wrap” my mine with anti-Obama and anti-Democrat bumper stickers. Unfortunately, my Volt is too pretty for that. 😉

  7. ffbj says:

    Just for comparisons I wonder what hyper-milers get in ice’s. I’m guessing, but maybe 25% increase in mileage. Just another example of superiority of ev’s as a measure of overall efficiency whereas that increase is over 80%.

    1. kdawg says:

      For entertainment, here’s the Mythbusters hypermiling episode.

    2. Justin W. says:

      Hybrids can achieve quite an increase in FE over EPA when hypermiled. I’m not sure if you were including them. I hit 109mpg in a 2012 Prius for over 60 miles just driving around back roads (flat topography) using basic hypermiling techniques. If I had time to kill I could have kept going but an average speed of 35mph couples with a lot of concentration wears you out quickly. 🙂 I did it for over 230 miles before and I almost died.

  8. Spec9 says:

    I’ve seen a few of these around. Spunky little EV. I wish GM would sell them in more markets and help build out the SAE-Combo infrastructure. But for now, this will just be a niche compliance car. 🙁

  9. Assaf says:

    Haha, Jay, you’ve made my day with this:

    “driving like your Grandad who just lost his license but still wants to go to Joe’s diner across town to get the same cup of coffee he been drinking for 50 years.”

    1. Assaf says:

      Poor Gramps would most likely be stopped by a cop for suspiciously slow driving, if he really did that.

  10. ModernMarvelFan says:

    Here is what Car and Driver observed range for those BEVs….

    Spark EV did decently at 66miles….

    I just wish GM would try to sell more of it outside CA….