A little out of its element.

One can not buy a brand-new Chevrolet Spark EV today. It's a bit of a shame too. When it comes to super-affordable electric city cars in the United States, there is basically only one option: the used market.

It is where I turned to last year when I picked up a Chevy Spark EV of 2015 vintage. It's worked out very well so far, tripping around town for groceries or other errands. Despite only being rated for 82 miles of range by the EPA, I've never come close to running out of juice.

That's a double-edged sword, however. While I haven't had to push it or pay a tow truck to carry my car to a plug, I was also unsure how far I can drive it in real life without worrying about the location of the nearest charging station. The EPA number, of course, is only an estimate and real-world range can vary widely depending on speeds, weather, and driving behavior.

So, to get a handle on real-world range performance, we performed our standard InsideEVs 70-mile-per-hour test. With Kyle Conner behind the wheel and the battery filled to 100 percent, we set out for the Interstate highway a mile away to travel west.

As explained in the video above, the plan was to travel in both directions in order to negate wind or elevation changes. We drove moderately, with only one brief exception to test – for scientific purposes – acceleration from a rolling start (it's good). We also kept the environmental controls on, which we think is apt and also necessary, as temperatures hit 97 degrees F during the drive.

The final result? While I had hoped (against hope, really) to see as much as 70 miles, the tripmeter at the end indicated we could expect to see 63 miles travelling at 70 miles an hour. Not great, but the Spark EV was never meant to be a highway cruiser. Around town, where it's really in its element, it's sure to see a result much closer to its EPA rating.

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