Hands on With the 2014 Chevy Spark EV (pics)
When I drove the 2013 Chevy Spark this September I was quick to ask when and if they’ll announce an EV model of the car to compete with Ford’s Focus EV. At the time, the top brass at Chevy we’re reluctant to comment, but I heard murmurs of CES, which occurs every January. Wrong. Today, Chevrolet officially announced pricing, and showed off their Spark EV at the same press event that we got a hands on with their Siri integration in the Sonic.
The model they had on hand, which unfortunately was not available for test drives – though it had done 72 miles according to the odometer – was finished in an eco friendly powder blue that shimmered in the light as if it were water itself. The interior of the Spark EV is similar to that of the naturally aspirated Spark, though the speedometer has been replaced with a 7-inch LCD screen that pulls its graphics from the Chevy Volt (as does the honey comb like front grill) – a 7-inch screen in the center stack, also display energy info.
I was told that the Chevy Spark EV can hit 0-60 in under 8 seconds, though Chevy’s product manager was reluctant to state actual times, though he assured me it wasn’t 7.9 seconds. That said, I was also told that the Spark EV packs a 20-kWh battery, entitling early adopters to the full $7,500 federal tax break, dropping the price to $25,000 before state incentives.
Chevy is mum on the range of the vehicle, but after peaking at the battery gauge (it wasn’t fully charged) it’s probably safe to assume that the all electric Spark can achieve 80-100 miles on a single charge. However, unlike the Volt, or really any other electric car that I’ve tested, the Spark EV will include an optional SAE Combo DC Fast Charge capability, which can charge the battery to 80 percent of capacity in about 20 minutes, provided of course you can locate a charging station of that ilk.
Nevertheless, the Chevy Spark EV is a pretty impressive little package, at least on paper. I’m not crazy about the $25,000 price tag, especially since the entry gas version costs $12,000 less. But EV cars are a relatively nascent category, which always comes with a higher price for entry. And let’s not put aside the fact that Chevy is the first U.S. automaker to build both a complete electric motor and drive unit for a modern electric vehicle in the United States.
The 2014 Chevy Spark EV will roll out sometime June of next year, and will include an eight year or 100,000 mile warranty on the battery.