”2014 Chevrolet Spark EV”
Chevy’s first all-electric mini car – just plug and play
Portland, OR – The Bow Tie Team has just added the most efficient U.S. retail electric vehicle to their lineup – the 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV, with an estimated electric EPA range of 82 miles. THE MPGe fuel economy equivalent EPA-estimated combined city/highway is 119 (128 city / 109 highway or 28 kW hours per100 miles). The Spark EV joins an electrifying portfolio including the Chevrolet Volt along with the eAssist Malibu and Impala, in Chevrolet’s quest for efficient sustainability.
The Spark EV closely resembles the regular Chevy Spark in its basic form and dimensions, but serves up several design cues that hint at its pure electric propulsion, which qualifies it for HOV access. The Spark EV is a sporty 5-door hatch with room for 4 passengers. The overall shape is that of an exaggerated wedge. The EV is readily recognizable by its lack of exhaust and blocked out upper grille sections – only a lower air inlet, flanked by two smaller, sculpted inlets appear at the front.
Power for the 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV comes courtesy of a permanent magnetic drive motor (105kWh) with energy supplied by lithium-ion phosphate batteries in multiple linked square-shaped modules (133) consisting of 336 cells weighing in at a total of 560 lbs. and providing 140 horsepower along with 400 pound feet of torque (more than a Ferrari 458 Italia and a Porsche 911).
There is no conventional transmission, but rather a direct coaxial drive system with drive shafts off each side of the transversely mounted motor that transfers motive force to the front wheels with a 3.7 to 1 reduction. The Spark EV is capanble of scooting from 0-60 mph in a mere 7.6 seconds. The battery pack is mounted low beneath the rear seat floor, and its positioning results in a near 50/50 weight distribution (49/51). There is an eight year/1000,000 mile warranty (whichever comes first) for the direct oil-cooled motor and its components.
The Spark EV will be available in two levels of trim: 1LT; and 2LT. Later in the production cycle, the 2LT will offer a DC Fast charge hookup capable of an 80 percent recharge from a full discharge in roughly 20 minutes for $750. The Spark EV may also be recharged on regular household current with a 120V which takes approximately approximately 13 hours to achieve a full charge. Another 240V recharging system from Bosch Automotive Solutions may be utilized allowing a full recharge in less than seven hours with a credit of up to $500 for the system. Charging may be managed and monitored remotely using the Spark EV’s smart phone application provided by OnStar, which is standard for three years. Interestingly, 38 percent of all EVs sold across the country are in California, with sales, rebates, infrastructure and designated parking providing a favorable climate for EV ownership.
When compared to an average conventionally-powered vehicle, The Spark EV, which is initially on sale this summer only in California and Oregon, can potentially save its owners up to $9,000 in fuel costs over a five year period, not to mention reduced maintenance expense.
The starting price for the 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV is $27,495 with a net price as low as $19,995 after a full Federal tax credit of $7,500 and an additional rebate of $2,500 in California for residents. Some counties and specific regions offer even further supplemental rebates or credits. The 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV may be leased for 36 months for $199 per month with $999 due at signing. The Spark EV costs less than the Fiat 500e, Ford Focus EV, Honda Fit EV, which is lease only, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Nissan Leaf. Only the Fiat 500e has more range (by 2-miles).
The 1LT comes with Chevrolet MyLink featuring a 7-inch diagonal color touch-screen, Bluetooth® wireless technology, a USB port, a 3-month trial of Sirius/XM satellite radio, remote keyless entry, power locks and mirrors, cruise control, foglamps and 15-inch machine faced aluminum alloy wheel shod with 15-inch Bridgestone Ecopia low-rolling resistance rubber. The 2LT trim adds distinctive appearance upgrades such as: Dark Pewter leatherette heated front seats with blue-ray stitching, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with silver accents and the available at a later date (fourth quarter 2013) DC Fast Charger and Remote Stop Charge.
My test 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV was in 2LT trim with an Electric Blue (what else?) and the dark leatherette interior. The general price in California amounted to $19,995 after full federal tax credits and the California rebate.
SUMMARY: Driving the Chevy Spark EV is a total hoot. Punch the Sport button and the power application is amplified dramatically, which doesn’t do much for the economy, but it’ definitely provides a much more fun and spirited experience behind the wheel. Regenerative braking is standard and aids in replenishing the battery charge level, extending vehicle range. Even more regen braking benefit may be applied by selecting the low range in the shift panel for downhill runs.
The incredible 400 pound feet of torque delivers rapid and impressive acceleration, and the lower center of gravity (than the gas-powered Spark) and ideal weight distribution provide a flat and stable ride quality that is also quite comfortable. There’s also no need for an external or integrated navigation system as the Android and iPhone phone application “Bring Go” is available, projecting directions on the MyLink screen. Pandora and Stitcher are also available along with Chevy’s MyLink system for entertainment and state-of-the-art connectivity.
The Spark EV’s motor and drive unit are assembled at GM’s Baltimore operations plant in White Marsh, MD. The plant recently celebrated the Spark EV’s motor production, marking the first time a major U.S. auto manufacturer has designed and built both a complete electric motor and drive unit for a modern electric vehicle in the United States.
In the final analysis, the 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV is a great car for the city driving scenario that combines technology, functionality and style in a visually pleasing package that’s also great fun to drive – just plug and play!
SPECIFICATIONS: 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV
|Price as Tested:||$19,995. With full federal tax credits. California residents may qualify for an additional $2,500 rebate.|
|Engine Type and Size:||Permanent magnetic drive motor 105kWh powered by lithium-ion batteries in multiple linked modules (133 square-shaped) 336 cells=560 lbs. Eight year/1000,000 mile warranty.|
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):||400|
|Transmission:||Direct coaxial drive|
|Drive Train:||Front mounted motor / two-wheel front drive, coaxial.|
|Suspension:||Front – Independent MacPherson struts with side-loaded strut modules, specially tuned coil springs and direct-acting , 22 mm solid stabilizer bar .
Rear – double-wall, U-shaped rear profile; and specially tuned coil springs 39 mm.
Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel disc with ABS; electro-hydraulic; fully regenerative to maximize energy capture; dynamic rear brake proportioning; Stabilitrak and all-speed traction control.
Tires: Bridgestone low rolling resistance P185/55R15 all-season blackwall (front) / Bridgestone low rolling resistance P195/55R15 all-season blackwall (rear)
Wheelbase: 93.5 inches
Length Overall: 146.5 inches
Width: 64.0 inches
Height: 62.6 inches
Curb Weight: 2,967 lbs
Fuel Capacity: No fuel – all electric
EPA Mileage Estimates: 82 Combined city / highway – 119 MPGe
Drag Coefficient: .326
0 – 60 mph: 7.6 seconds Top speed = 90 mph