GM’s first all-electric car since the EV1, and the first electric car with the SAE Combo fast charging system.
The Chevy Spark EV is GM’s first all-electric vehicle since the EV1. It is an urban-oriented mini-car built on the Chevy Spark, an already popular car that’s manufactured in Korea. While the Spark EV’s specs are impressive, GM is manufacturing it in small quantities and delivering it only in states with zero emission vehicle mandates, leading us to call it a “Compliance Car.”
That is, Compliance Car’s are generally built solely to meet ZEV mandates.
Perhaps the most significant feature of the Spark EV is its performance, and the high powered EV drive train making it possible. The electric motor set up for 105 kilowatts (140 horsepower) which is a lot more power than the gas powered Spark. This means a 0-60 miles/hr time of 8 seconds, and reviewers (see the videos below) talking about how zippy this car is.
The Spark EV is the first electric car to sport the SAE Combo Charging System. That’s the DC Fast Charging system which is the primary competitor to the incumbent Fast Charging system, CHAdeMO. For more on fast charging standards see <a href=”/ev-charging/fast-charging/fast-charging-whether-standardized-or-not.html”>EV Fast Charging, whether standardized or not</a>.
At the moment there are very few fast charging stations installed compatible with the SAE Combo plug. This may well change in the years to come, but that change will probably mean selling lots of EV’s with the Combo plug. Who knows when that will happen.
The Spark EV is small, seating only 4 people, with a tiny cargo area in the rear. That makes it more attuned to urban dwellers.
In urban use the 80ish miles electric range is plenty sufficient. Hence, even if the SAE Combo fast chargers never become available 80ish miles of range is enough to drive across most urban areas for daily driving needs. However the charging rate is a little bit low. A 7 hour recharge time implies a 3 kilowatt on-board charger. At 3kw the car gains only 12ish miles of range per hour of charging.
The price (base MSRP around $27000) is at the low end of the electric car spectrum, but is quite a bit higher than the gas powered Spark. The Spark 1LT and 2LT have MSRP’s around $15,000 for a $12,000 premium for the EV model. However, once you factor in tax credits and fuel cost savings the car pays for its price premium pretty quickly. The EPA claims the Spark EV will save $9,000 in fuel costs over 5 years.