On Tuesday, ahead of the 2012 LA Auto Show, GM unveiled specifications and other details about the 2014 Chevy Spark EV, GM’s first all electric car since the now-crushed GM EV1. The Spark EV, first shown a year ago, is a compact car derived from a gasoline car built by GM Korea, will offer a peppy 0-60 time of under 8 seconds, will have a lower price than most of the electric cars, and will be the first electric car to use the newly approved SAE DC Fast Charge specification to implement a 20 minute 80% recharge.
The fast acceleration comes from an electric motor/controller combo that delivers 130 horsepower (110 kilowatts) of power, and 400 ft-lb (542 Nm) of torque. The 20 kilowatt-hour battery pack is expected by GM to deliver best-in-class electric driving range, but the company is not disclosing an estimate of that range. The battery pack size is smaller than most other all electric cars, which should give a shorter range than the other electric cars, but the Spark EV also has very good aerodynamics which could make up for the smaller battery pack.
The charging system supports 120 volt (AC level 1) or 240 volts 3.3 kilowatt (AC level 2) charging, the latter giving a 7 hour full recharge time. The SAE DC Fast Charge system is what the SAE calls “DC level 2” and what others refer to as “level 3” and is a method for pumping power into an electric car at a high rate, to recharge it very quickly. GM and Nissan have been trading punches since at least 2010 over the CHADEMO and SAE DC Fast Charging systems, because CHADEMO is an existing system that performs most of the same functions as the SAE DC Fast Charge system. But the standards bodies, in October 2012, chose the SAE DC combo plug over the CHADEMO system for fast charging.
The battery pack is described by GM as “long-life, safe, durable and reliable” and carrying an eight year 100,000 mile warranty. The battery pack is being supplied by A123 Systems, a plan which may be in danger due to the recent bankruptcy of that company. Presumably the dust will have settled in the bankruptcy proceedings by then.
The interior will feature two “two reconfigurable, high-resolution, seven-inch color LCD screens” that provide a variety of gauges, information, and infotainment. This will include Chevy’s MyLink radio system, smart phone integration, BringGo full-function navigation, TuneIn global internet radio, Pandora and Stitcher, as well as Apple’s Siri for owners of iPhone 4S and later cell phones.
The initial sales markets had been announced to be California and South Korea. This has broadened to include Oregon, Canada and other global markets as well. In California the Spark EV will qualify for the white sticker allowing solo driver access to the HOV lanes.
The price for the 2014 Spark EV will be $25,000 after tax rebates, meaning an MSRP of $32,500. Sales will commence in the summer of 2013.
“When you engineer a technology-filled, all-electric mini car that goes from zero-to-60 mph in less than eight seconds, customers won’t miss the gas,” said Mark Reuss, president, General Motors North America. “The Volt and now the Spark EV show that Chevrolet not only knows EVs better than anyone else, we also know how to help customers get the most out of their EV experience.”