Mar 30, 2012
Chris Salamone

Spark EV Hits Pavement, Closer To Production

Back in October, General Motors made some big electric vehicle predictions. Among them, the good General believed the company’s soon-to-be megahit Chevy Volt would start to sell big volumes. While many spectators rationally dismissed the Volt’s projected sales target, some were eager to learn more about GM’s future production of an electrified Chevy Spark – the traditionally petrol powered sub-subcompact.

Count your lucky stars, because the Spark EV has mobilized for a 65% development drive. Whatever that means.

Followers are so enthusiastic because the Spark EV represents more than just another electric vehicle in the budding green vehicle movement. Instead, Spark will be GM’s first stab at making an affordable EV, a car people can actually afford. Although Chevrolet has not officially unveiled the Spark EV’s anticipated price tag, we’re willing to go out on a limb and guess the Spark will be significantly cheaper than big brother Volt.

How come? Nothing says affordable price positioning like a mini-car, targeted for America’s younger folks, which will likely be marketed to compete with Nissan’s now famous Leaf. If we had to make a wild guess, the Spark EV will probably land somewhere below the Leaf’s current MSRP of $35,200…without tax incentives.

Of course that’s pure guesswork, but we’ll find out soon enough. GM projects that the Spark EV will arrive sometime next year. And to make matters more exciting, the Spark EV will likely have about a third more horsepower than the traditional Spark with gas engine. Through some fancy technical witchcraft, the vehicle’s tiny electric motor is expected to produce 114 horsepower, over the 1.2L four-cylinder’s 83 horses.

But if all that weren’t enough, Trista Schieffer, Chevy Spark EV lead development engineer, dropped a Blues Brothers reference in a recent GM blog post which effectively implies a point of note: “It’s 106 miles to LA, we’ve got full battery charge, half a pack of twizzlers, it’s dark…and we’re wearing sunglasses – HIT IT!” The Spark EV might just have a range greater than 100 miles.

Based on the relative sales success of the Nissan Leaf, we know Americans are willing to leap into the electric era. And if the Chevy Spark EV can both travel farther and cost less than the already popular Leaf, GM might finally have an eco-friendly product that doesn’t cause media and consumer outrage.

Source : The Future Is Electric - GM Blog