2014 Chevrolet Spark EV
And, “charged’ is the operative word for the 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV, a pure electric city car that joins the brand’s plug-in extended range Volt.
Unveiled for the recent L.A. Auto Show, the Spark EV starts life with the same quirky five-door mini car shape as it’s gasoline powered sibling, but substitutes the original 84-horsepower 1.2-liter petrol engine for a U.S. made 130 horsepower electric motor drive with 20kWh Lithium Ion battery pack.
So, this Spark better lives up to its name with some 400 pound feet of torque and a 0-60 time of under 8 seconds, or nearly three and a half seconds faster than the gas powered model.
More importantly for EV buyers, the Spark is expected to have a driving range that bests other volume EVs like the Nissan Leaf and Ford Focus EV.
To us that means a maximum driving range of well over 100-miles, and 75 or better in real world use. The Spark EV is also the first all-electric vehicle here to offer DC Fast Charge capability, which can deliver an 80 percent charge in about 20 minutes. Using 240 volts, charging takes about 7 hours, and at least twice that long at 120 volts.
The battery fits behind the rear seat and under the cargo bay, giving this EV a lower center of gravity and thus more tied down handling than the gas powered Spark. Still, the Spark EV retains its four person status and split folding seats provide decent versatility for this mini-city runabout.
Spark EV sales here will begin next summer with the first North American markets to be in California, Oregon, and Canada. Base price is expected to be about $25,000 after federal tax incentives.
Price: Base price $25,000