GM Announces 2013 Chevrolet Spark EV

Yesterday GM announced it would make an electrified version of its Spark minicar – its first full EV since the EV1.

The company said the Spark EV will start out as a limited production offering in select global and U.S. markets, beginning in 2013.

“The Spark EV offers customers living in urban areas who have predictable driving patterns or short commutes an all-electric option,” said Jim Federico, global vehicle chief engineer for electric vehicles at Chevrolet. “It complements Chevrolet’s growing range of electrified vehicles, including the Volt extended-range EV and the 2013 Malibu Eco with eAssist technology.”

A few details

What is known is it will be all-electric and powered by A123 systems lithium nanophosphate chemistry.

These batteries are said to utilize nanoparticles to increase the battery cell’s storage surface area, facilitating quicker storage and release of electrons.

GM said feedback from Chevrolet’s electric vehicle demonstration fleets in Shanghai (Sail EV), Korea (Cruze EV) and India (Beat EV) are being incorporated into the Spark EV.

“Our global demo fleets continue to provide insight into the needs of electric vehicle customers living in urban environments,” said Federico. “The Spark EV is another step in Chevrolet’s plan to provide customers with a variety of electrification solutions to address the lifestyle and transportation needs of people around the world.”

The vehicle has a bit more bulbous nose than the standard Spark, and unknown is the weight difference between it and the standard Spark.

Also undisclosed is its driving range, recharge time, battery size and other performance measurements are being withheld until closer to launch.

Where the vehicle will be built and what it will cost are further mysteries.

We tried to get additional details, but were told by GM Spokesman Randal Fox that it will have to wait.

“More information on the Spark EV will not be coming until next year,” Fox said.

Into the future

With the Spark EV, GM will be positioned to compete against electric vehicles pending from other automakers.

Aside from Tesla and Nissan, electric models are soon expected from Ford, Toyota, Mitsubishi and Kia.

Among obvious fuel-saving and environmental advantages, these battery powered mobility solutions will also improve their makers’ fleet emissions averages to better meet looming government regulations.

Looking at the horizon with short-term lenses, it could also be observed that GM’s announcement comes during shaky economic times, with gasoline prices having trended lower, and advanced-tech sales recently declined.

But negative forecasts are a risk GM is bucking against with moderate caution, and in its favor, it has recently said it is in the best financial shape it has been in many years.

Long term, the company has reiterated that it believes in electrification, and with the Spark EV, it again put its money where its mouth is, albeit cautiously, given its limited anticipated roll-out.

The little EV will join the list of promised electrified vehicles with the also-anticipated extended-range Cadillac ELR, which will reside on the other end of GM’s luxury spectrum.
GM said ELR development is only now starting, and declined to say when it should be expected.

GM


  • Charles

    GM maybe in its best financial shape in its very short history. The current GM was born on July 10, 2009. So I am not sure that is saying very much to be in its best shape.

  • Lad

    Where the “Smart” is too small and rather unstable, this car is just about the right size for a city car. However, I think they would have a real winner with a larger BEV, using the CRUZE body.

    If we could ever get GM to forgo the politics of supporting Big Oil and go full BEV, I think they could very well become the winner they were once.

  • Lad

    Where the “Smart” is too small and rather unstable, this car is just about the right size for a city car. However, I think they would have a real winner with a larger BEV, using the CRUZE body.

    If we could ever get GM to forgo the politics of supporting Big Oil and go full BEV, I think they could very well become the winner they were once.

  • TrasKY

    This car is quite popular or at least established in other parts of the world so there is at least a decent chance that it might sell somewhere. But I would rather see an all electric version of this:
    http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/car/11q4/2012_chevrolet_sonic_ltz_turbo_hatchback-short_take_road_test

    which is supposedly the first compact car GM has ever gotten right, at least according to Car and Driver.

  • van

    The key is whether the A123 battery specific energy will be over 200W/kg. We do not need another $33,000 EV with a day in and day out range of 70 miles or less. What we need is a $23,000 city car with a day in and day out range of 120 miles or more. The next generation Leaf with its “186 mile range” seems to have the juice but will it drop the price into the available market?

    I am against conspiracy theories, but when ICE makers come out with products that do not hit the market and are thus doomed to failure (Volt, Leaf) it does make you wonder.

  • Max Reid

    Smart is 2-seater while Spark is 4-seater. Since Miev is priced @ 29K, this 1 which is much smaller @143 inches should cost around 25K. Thats good for many people who have around 70-80 mile commute every day.

    Almost all companies are in with their EVs
    Nissan-Leaf
    Mitsubishi-Miev
    Ford-Focus
    Honda-Fit
    Toyota-RAV4
    Tesla-Model S
    BMW-i3
    Audi-A2

    No other go, but GM has to join this EV race.

  • Capt. Concernicus

    “But negative forecasts are a risk GM is bucking against with moderate caution, and in its favor, it has recently said it is in the best financial shape it has been in many years.”

    —I’m still waiting for my fricken’ thank you GM!!! Or have you forgotten that you took my tax money, so that you could be in the best financial shape of your life, which like someone else said has only been about 2 years.

    –I’m not angry. I just want my thank you. That’s all. :-)

  • Max Reid

    Hello Van

    Next year, Tesla comes out with Model S with 300 mile range. That will set a new mark that EVs can also go 300 mile / charge. Ofcourse, its an expensive car, but it competes with high end cars like Benz S600 and BMW i760 with those massive v12 engines.

    Tesla also has plans for Model X which will be a small CUV priced in 30s. Its all getting exciting.

  • MrEnergyCzar

    I just got my first Chevy, the Chevy Volt, and attached my test drive video here….

    http://youtu.be/jbjtKbWZ67w

    MrEnergyCzar

  • Segsby

    Just re-release the EV1 with today’s improved battery tech. You’d have a better vehicle than this 3rd world minicar converted into an EV. Probably get over 200 mile range on the same design that came from the 1990′s.

    You suck GM.

  • Indigo Halo

    I think the Spark is a pretty cute little car. I just wonder if 25 miles is enough range for a commuter in America. Didn’t GM state that 40 miles was the target number for getting 80% of Americans to and from work every day?