Chevrolet Spark EV Details Released

General Motors released yesterday details of its first pure electric vehicle, the Chevrolet Spark EV.

The electric car will be based off of the small gas-engine Spark already offered.

Its propulsion will delivered by an oil-cooled, permanent magnet motor that produces at least 100 kilowatts (130 horsepower) and instantaneous torque of about 400 pound-feet with the coaxial drive unit.

GM says the resulting acceleration for the 0-60 mph sprint will take less than eight seconds.

The Spark EV will come with an industry-first, a SAE combo charger. This will allow DC Fast Charging of up to 80 percent of battery capacity in approximately 20 minutes.

That capability will be available shortly after market launch, GM says, adding it will provide EV range among the best in the segment.

“When our team set out to develop the propulsion system for Spark EV, we knew we had to provide surprising fun-to-drive acceleration with maximum efficiency,” said Spark EV Chief Engineer Chuck Russell. “What we think customers will enjoy most is how fun Spark EV is to drive; it’s seamless and power is available at every stage of the drive,” Russell said. “This will help us to provide an exciting option for those customers who are looking for an EV that’s as much fun to drive as it is environmentally responsible.”

The Spark EV’s more than 20-kwh lithium-ion battery pack will be protected by Chevrolet’s eight years /100,000 miles warranty, and is said by GM to be capable of handling multiple DC Fast Charges daily.


Charging will also be possible in less than seven hours using a dedicated 240-volt charger. A 120-volt charge cord set will be standard.

Owners will be able to manage and monitor charging remotely using the Spark EV’s smart phone application, provided by OnStar.

“Spark EV’s battery has undergone more than 200,000 hours of testing in our global battery systems labs,” said Larry Nitz, executive director of GM’s global electrification engineering team. “This testing paved the way to allow our customers to do multiple DC Fast Charges daily to help alleviate range anxiety and improve convenience.”

GM says the Spark EV team was able to leverage expertise gained on the Chevrolet Volt program and uses many of the same components and systems. More than 75 percent of the propulsion system components are sourced either from the Volt or GM’s hybrid truck programs.

The Spark EV motor and drive unit will be manufactured early 2013 at GM’s transmission plant in White Marsh, Md., near Baltimore. GM says this will make the first time a U.S. auto manufacturer has built both a complete electric motor and drive unit for a modern electric vehicle in the United States.

“Spark EV is the latest demonstration of our growing expertise in electric motor and battery technologies – expertise we will need as we grow our portfolio of electric vehicles to address the needs of our global customers,” Nitz said.

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  • Van

    A 50 mile range is only about 1/3 of what is needed to make an EV viable.

  • Shines

    Maybe 50 miles is OK for in city and daily commutes. I’d hate to take a trip longer than 100 miles having to make stops every 50 miles to recharge. The Spark doesn’t look like it would be much fun on the freeway.

  • scolas

    Where did you see that the range is only 50 miles? I didn’t see any reference to range other than “EV range among the best in the segment.” In the video at 1:48 it shows a gauge showing 50 miles left, but it was not fully charged. The trip meter showed 12 miles so if accurate would suggest a range of only 62 likes, which is still way too low for anything other than a city car in my opinion. The 20 minute quick charge looks good.

    Of course it doesn’t look like a car I’d want to be in for too long a time anyway.

  • Volume Van

    Seems its battery weights 560 lbs, for a small car like Spark this should give a range of atleast 120 miles since Leaf’s 600 lb battery powers it for 100 miles.

    Pricing is very important, if its anywhere closer to 30 K, then for sure, people will go for much bigger C-Max Plugin which has 20 mile range without range anxiety. Mitsubishi’s MIEV is not selling well at 30 K.

    But we can appreciate that GM has chosen the smallest 4 seater vehicle for EV. This should be good for many families since they have only 1 or 2 children.

  • Van

    Assuming 80% of 20 KWh, that is 16 Kwh available for range. A fast DC charger (48kw) would recharge the 16 in 20 minutes. So assuming 16 Kwh, and getting 3.5 miles per kwh, the maximum range would be 56 miles. Thus with the AC or heater working the real world range is about 50 miles. Anyone can claim higher numbers. like the Leaf claimed 100 but the EPA said 75, and some folks in Phoenix are getting less than 50.

    To repeat this very simple truth, an EV needs at least 40 kwh to be a viable vehicle. This 20 plus kwh vehicle has too short an actual range.

    But the 40 kwh Tesla costs $50,000. So we need the next generation battery to make EV’s viable. For now, its hybrids, and plug-in hybrids.