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2014 Chevrolet Spark EV Overview
Chevrolet brought the Spark back in 2013 as, on some fronts at least, an urban alternative. Fun, funky and functional, it appealed in particular, perhaps, to young city dwellers branching out from mass transportation and looking for something that fits in tight city parking spots, delivers good fuel mileage and will not bust the budget to purchase.
Now comes the next step, the 2014 Chevy Spark EV, which beats the gasoline Spark in several areas, but falls far short in one category that many place high on their priority list: cost.
How likely, some reviewers ask, are consumers to spend about $25,000—after incentives—for buying a vehicle with advanced technology that lowers emissions when they can get a gasoline-powered Spark with fewer limitations for not much more than half that price?
Other experts feel the 2014 Chevy Spark EV, which is due to hit the California market in the summer of 2013, is another of the forerunners in the field of electric vehicles. They trumpet its features and think it will find a place in an increasingly energy-conscious world.
For starters, the EV quickly ramps up the fun factor of the Spark when it comes to performance and pretty much leaves its gasoline-slurping brother in the dust.
Much as other electric cars do because electric motors get up to their top torque numbers immediately, the 2014 Chevy Spark EV offers serious punch off the line and gets from 0 to 60 in less than 8 seconds. Better yet, unlike some EVs, the Spark does not begin to back down once you’re up there and keeps pulling smoothly, reviewers say.
The Spark EV gets its punch from a 100-kilowatt motor good for 134 horsepower and an impressive 400 lb-ft of torque. The gasoline-powered Spark, in comparison, uses a 1.2-liter 4-cylinder engine at 84 hp and 83 lb-ft of torque.
Range numbers for the Spark EV, GM’s first battery electric car since the EV1 that was produced for a few years around the turn of the millennium, are expected to be among the best in the business, and the automaker is hoping the figure comes close to the 100-mile mark.
The company says the size of the lithium-ion battery pack in the Chevy Spark EV will be about 20 kilowatt hours or perhaps a tad more and top speed will be around 90 miles per hour.
The Spark EV will be able to use Level III, or 480-volt DC, charging stations, which will let it get an 80 percent charge in about 20 minutes. GM is working hand in hand with the manufacturers of chargers as well as government agencies to encourage the development of more charging stations accessible to the public.
Charging time for the 2014 Chevy Spark EV on a conventional 240-volt Level II charger is expected to be about 6 hours, and it will take the good portion of a day to charge the Spark on a 120-volt wall socket.
GM saved money on research and design for the Spark EV in part by borrowing ideas and features from the Chevy Volt, a plug-in hybrid.
Performance and its pick-me-up attributes aside, the gasoline-powered Spark and the Spark EV look and even drive quite similarly to each other. They offer a comfortable ride, reviewers say, and handle well. The EV carries a few more aerodynamic features than the gas version, and its colors are a little more subdued.
Among the differences between them are the EV’s standard leather seats, a Volt-style power button on the console and a switch between the seats that engages an electric parking brake. Another switch, near the shift lever, engages the Sport mode on the Spark EV.
The 2014 Chevy Spark EV comes with electronic stability control, hill start assist and standard airbags. OnStar and its automated crash response system are standard for the first three years.
by A. Lessels
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