Chevy Spark EV to be Sold in Europe Too; Will Debut at Geneva Motor Show


The 2014 Chevy Spark EV is headed to Europe in more ways than one.

The electric Spark will make its European debut at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show in early March, but that’s not the only bit of news released by General Motors of Europe.  It seems a decision has been made to sell the electric Spark in select areas of Europe beginning in 2014.


Spark EV charging.

Quoting General Motors’ European division:

The car will be sold in select European markets as of 2014.

The Chevrolet Spark EV is anticipated to set a benchmark in performance for an urban city electric car and is powered by the most advanced electric motor and battery system General Motors has ever built.

Susan Docherty, President and Managing Director of Chevrolet and Cadillac Europe, adds this:

“The Spark EV is a fun-to-drive zero-emission city car with intelligent connectivity. We believe it will resonate particularly well in some of Europe’s most technologically advanced markets.  Just like Volt, this nimble battery-powered vehicle is a proof point for Chevrolet’s ingenuity in delivering smart mobility solutions.”

The Spark EV will launch in the US later in 2013 (“late summer”) at an price of “less than $32,500” before incentives or dipping down to $25,000 after federal and state incentives.  It features a 135-horsepower electric motor and 400 pound-feet of torque (we question the computing method for this figure).  The 0 to 62 mph dash numbers are now officially set at under 8.5 seconds.  Range is still unknown, but the Spark EV’s 20-kWh battery pack is of decent size for its class.

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20 Comments on "Chevy Spark EV to be Sold in Europe Too; Will Debut at Geneva Motor Show"

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“is powered by the most advanced electric motor and battery system General Motors has ever built.”

That might be a boast they can use within GM – but to the outside world, does it mean anything ? Afterall, GM hasn’t built that many motors & battery systems.


This was a topic back in Oct 2011.
Quote: “GM is drumming up interest for its American-manufactured automotive electric motors including the powerful permanent magnet design for the pending 2013 Spark EV.”


And this related GM media article:
Chevrolet Showcases Spark EV Electric Motor
GM to be first automaker to domestically produce electric motors – 2011-10-26


Basically – this is more a inward looking statement, rather than a customer centric one. If someone says “this is the best battery you can get in any EV” – that makes sense to a customer. “This is the best we have got” is not all that interesting …


They did invent the electric starter though, which spun into AC Delco.

Charles Kettering (1876-1958)

“The world hates change, but it is the only thing that has brought progress.” – Charles Kettering

The first electrical ignition system or electric starter motor for cars was invented by GM engineers Clyde Coleman and Charles Kettering. The self starting ignition was first installed in a Cadillac on February 17, 1911. The invention of the electric starter motor by Charles Kettering eliminated the need for hand cranking. United States Patent #1,150,523, was issued to Charles Kettering of Dayton, Ohio in 1915.

Charles Kettering became the founder of Delco (Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company). He also went on to invent: other automotive lighting and ignition systems, lacquer finishes for cars, antilock fuels, leaded gasoline, and an electric cash register.


So a month ago, the specs were 130 HP (not 135 HP) and 0-60MPH in under 8 seconds (not 0-62MPH in under 8.5 seconds). Somehow, the five extra HP made it a little slower? 😉


Quote: “(we question the computing method for this figure).”

Why? Torque and horsepower are simple calculations. These numbers are obviously not final but they will be likely close and when they are final will likely be SAE certified like all their other HP and torque numbers. Horsepower is simply a function of torque and rotaional speed. So this means that the electric motor will have a fairly low final drive ratio. High torque at a low RPM. What’s so hard to understand?

Eric Loveday

Quoting Car and Driver’s explanation of the improper torque calculation on the e-tron:

“Most important, the E-Tron is powered by four electric motors rather than a gasoline engine. Although the maximum output of 313 hp is similar to what we’ve reported before, the overall torque output of 502 lb-ft is significantly less than the 3319 lb-ft Audi initially claimed. Credit the company’s multiplication of torque through the E-Tron’s drivetrain, rather than reporting the motors’ actual output, for the discrepancy.”

We assume something similar is going on with the Spark EV simply because 400 pound-feet of torque would be enough for at least a sub 6 second 0 to 60 mph time, most likely under 4 seconds given the size of the vehicle and its expected weight.

Additionally, the LEAF, a much heavier vehicle, does 0 to 60 mph in roughly 10 seconds with only 210 pound-feet of torque.

Something seems fishy to us.


Why does 400lb-ft if spun at a low RPM immediatly mean that the car should have a faster 0-60 time?

The 0-60 time is a fucntion of the area under the horsepower curve while accelerating to that speed and the weight. If the Spark EV has a very low final drive ratio the RPM of the main drive shaft will be much lower than that used on the Leaf therefore the peak torque cannot be used to directly gauge acceleration times.

Also your reference to the Tron e is flawed as the problem with that comparrison is that the Tron e uses 4 electric motors and Audi marketing miss-calculated the torque as a combination of the 4 motors. The Spark EV only has one electric motor.


I would like to add an analogy to simplfy it for some people.

Picture a 21 speed mountain bike. The Leaf might always be running in 10th gear so when you apply torque to the pedals you will generate more RPM and more power hence a certain acceleration. The Spark EV by comparisson seems to be in the 21rst gear. So when you apply a tremendous amount of torque to the pedals the rear tire does not spin very fast and you don’t get great acceleration. However at higher speeds the low spinning RPM of the motor should improve efficiency. In the case of the Spark EV the torque calculation is very simple as it’s just one electric motor connected by a single gear reduction. A simple P=VI and a few dimensions and you have a torque value. Not complicated.


Compared to other EV’s, the Chevy Spark EV torque rating is crazy-high relative to the horse-power claimed. it’s not yet clear why.

Torque figures are meaningless unless one knows the location and RPM where they are measured. At the motor shaft? At the drive wheels? Elsewhere? Likewise, it is pointless to compare torque values unless they’re both measured similarly, and even then it may be pointless between different vehicles with different gear ratios, tire sizes, etc.

Eric Loveday

We’re digging deeper for an answer to this torque discrepancy…We hope to have a confirmed answer/explanation from GM soon.


Thanks Jay and Eric. Appreciate it.

Would also love to know why the 0-60 (or 0-62) times just increased. Maybe the earlier sub-8 second estimate was just a guess. Maybe they’re now assuming more passenger weight, etc. In a small vehicle that will make a huge difference.

It’s important to me that it be snappy and fun, yet practical. I want my EV skeptic passengers to say “holy crap” the first time I punch it off the line. If Chevy made a 6-second SS version, I would probably buy that instead. 🙂

Also, when they might be available in Illinois? Thanks again.

Jay Cole

So much talk about this lb-ft subject. I’ll try to run someone down from the Spark EV development team to clarify the measurement

George Bower

Exactly show me the motor map. single point quotes are less valuable.

I want to model the Volt against the spark.

Does anyone have a link for the maps.

Eric Loveday

And unfortunately, access to exact SAE standards are not offered free of charge.

SAE standard J2723 – Engine Power Test Code – Engine Power and Torque Certification costs $68…well beyond my budget


Staring at that picture at the top makes my head go buggy.


The Spark EV at the Los Angeles Auto Show had 69 miles of battery range shown on its dash display. Look for the video of the interior and you can easily see it on the left side of the dash.

Gm will improve that range, and I bet that it will reach 80 miles, or double the CD range of the Volt because the Spark EV has a larger batter and less weight,

Some hypermiling will extend that range to over 100, and beat the Nissan Leaf. The only other BEV that will remain with more range is the Tesla Model S.


So, hypermiling Spark EV “beats” Leaf ? LOL.

BTW, there is the other compliance car – RAV 4 EV.


What would be the electric plug supplied with the Spark EV in Europe ? As per, it seem the “type 2” actually has the advantage there, even the Leaf would offer one …
Is any chance GM change the internal AC charger, supposedly 3.3kW in favor of a 6.6kW, just to be on par with the FFE and (optional in this last case) Leaf ?