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Chevrolet is using a lower price and new cash incentives to try and perk up sales on its 2015 Spark EV.
When factoring in other federal and state tax breaks, buyers can potentially pick up the electric vehicle (EV) for as low as $14,995.
The MSRP of a 2015 Spark EV with mid-grade 1LT trim dropped by $1,650, from $27,645 to $25,995. Chevrolet announced that it’s also adding cash incentives to state rebates, for up to $3,500 off the Spark EV’s price.
Oregon buyers, who don’t get any state tax reductions when buying an EV, can get a $3,500 bonus from the carmaker. In Maryland, Chevrolet is offering a $1,200 incentive alongside the $2,300 state excise-tax exemption. California offers the biggest tax rebate – up to $2,500 – to which Chevy is adding an extra $1,000.
The Spark EV is also eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit, available to most buyers.
Chevrolet said it isn’t pinning the price break and cash incentives on low fuel prices. The company wants to make “EV driving more accessible, affordable and fun,” said Steve Majoros, director of Chevrolet Car and Crossover Marketing.
“The Chevrolet Spark EV is helping us reach new buyers in critical markets like Los Angeles,” he said.
The Spark EV certainly isn’t a strong seller for the company, though. According to a Chevrolet representative, only 2,116 units have sold since its introduction in mid-2013.
Following typcial markets for compliance cars, the Spark EV is currently available only in California and Oregon. Later this summer, Chevrolet will begin deliveries to dealers in Maryland, followed by Canada at an undetermined date.
This limited availability may not be the only obstacle to Spark EV sales. The battery electric’s range of 82 miles is also likely to be holding it back. The release of upcoming hatchbacks, such as the Nissan Leaf and even the Chevy Bolt, are predicted to offer 200 mile or more ranges.
Chevy hasn’t announced any impending improvements that may stretch out the Spark EV’s range. In fact, while Chevy is refreshing its gas-only Spark for 2016, representatives say none of the upgrades will pass down to the EV version.
Size is another shortcoming, even for the compact hatchback segment. Though the Spark EV does offer more interior room than a Fiat 500e, the much more popular Nissan Leaf gives passengers almost two inches more space above your head and four extra inches for front passenger’s shoulders.
Still, the Spark EV isn’t the only alternatively fueled vehicle that has undergone a recent price reduction. In February, Ford cut the MSRP of a Fusion Hybrid by $900. Hyundai took a more drastic measure earlier this year when it reduced the South Korea price of its hydrogen-powered Tucson by more than $100,000.