General Motors announced today that the Spark EV will be made available this spring in Maryland.
This is its first East Coast market, and the third overall for the subcompact converted electric car outside of California and Oregon where it was launched in 2013.
The announcement coincides with this week’s Washington Auto Show, and reasons cited by GM for Maryland include a strong commuter market, relatively widespread charging infrastructure and strong dealership network as well.
Dealers will be specifically trained to sell and service this unique plug-in vehicle, said the automaker which saw 1,145 sales in its present two states for all of 2014.
“The Spark EV has been one of the most well-received electric vehicles in the industry and customer demand helped make the decision to expand its availability to Maryland,” said Steve Majoros, Chevrolet director of car marketing. “Following the introduction of the next-generation Volt and Bolt EV concept, this further reinforces Chevrolet’s commitment to electrification and delivering more choices where our customers want them.”
In our Detroit interview last week with Pam Fletcher, GM’s executive chief engineer for electrified vehicles, she noted plug-in proliferation has been seen as meeting resistance in some states due to local municipal unfamiliarity with some issues involving EVs.
She did not want to name states that are less enlightened than California, but it would appear Maryland is not one of them.
According to GM’s Manager, Electric Vehicle and Hybrid Communications Kevin Kelly, Chevrolet continues to assess further launch markets, but to date nothing else is being announced.
The Spark EV has been rumored as coming by dealers in other states, such as Ohio, but to date these are not being verified by GM, and may be the result of miscommunication or other error.
By contrast to the Spark EV’s now-three-state presence, Nissan has proliferated its mid-sized by volume Leaf to 50 states, and is by far the sales leader. Ford also has attempted to sell its converted Focus Electric in all U.S. states, even cutting the price twice down to a present base just around $30,000 before potential subsidies, but has had difficulty selling it.
The Spark EV however has a peppy drive train capable of an outsized 400 pounds-feet of torque, and lessons learned from this limited-market car are being passed into Chevrolet’s Bolt EV Concept.
With an 82-mile range, and pricing that after subsidies can net to around $20,000, the Spark EV stands as a potential alternative for commuters, does have quick-charge potential for intra-day charging, but much longer trips would likely still require a longer-range vehicle.