Spark Ranger: 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV EPA Range, Efficiency Announced
General Motors will launch its first all-electric car in 14 years this summer. The 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV, an electrified version of the company’s subcompact Spark hatchback, is a welcome sequel to the two-door GM EV1 that retired in 1999–and by the numbers, its overall performance isn’t far off the earlier car’s.
However, the Spark EV is the first electric car to offer the SAE’s new combo plug for DC fast charging, which GM says can reinvigorate the 21-kWh lithium-ion battery from dead to 80 percent in 20 minutes. So far, eight automakers have pledged to adopt the new SAE fast-charge standard, which works with current Level 2 charge ports without requiring a secondary connection like the Japanese Chademo standard used by Nissan and Mitsubishi. Unlike some automakers, GM says it’s not worried if owners fast-charge their Sparks several times a day.
GM claims the Spark has an EPA-estimated range of 82 miles and is now the most efficient electric car on sale. However, that last point requires clarification. While the Spark EV’s combined 119 MPGe beats out the Honda Fit EV (118), the Mitsubishi i-MiEV (112), the Nissan Leaf (106), and the Ford Focus Electric (105), the 2013 Scion iQ EV is actually rated for 121 MPGe according to the EPA. But the Scion isn’t sold to regular customers, thereby allowing GM to claim the Spark EV is the most efficient retail electric car on the market. (MPGe is the equivalent amount of electrical energy in one gallon of gasoline.) Still, the Spark EV’s whopping 400 lb-ft of torque and 130 horsepower are said to scoot this little hatch to 60 mph in less than eight seconds, a far cry better than the 11 seconds or so we estimate for the 84-hp gasoline model.
- First Drive: 2013 Chevrolet Spark
- Instrumented Test: 2012 Ford Focus Electric
- Instrumented Test: 2012 Mitsubishi i Electric Vehicle
As Honda, Toyota, and Fiat are doing with their limited-production EVs, GM is not planning to sell the Spark EV outside of California and Oregon. If you’re lucky enough to find one, expect to pay a little under $33,000 before tax incentives, although GM has not yet confirmed pricing.