Chevrolet shows us the Spark EV electric motor

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 27, 2011

Before Chevrolet starts the domestic production of electric motors at GM’s White Marsh, Md. plant in late 2012, it will show off its expertise on these motors at a pilot facility in Wixom, a suburb in Detroit. The validation and testing of the equipment and processes at White Marsh will be done in Wixom.

Different electric motors are already being used by conventional vehicles to power seats, windows, and windshield washers but GM is now focusing on developing permanent magnet and induction motors for several applications.

Hybrid and electric vehicles have been using electric motors to move the vehicle forward. Journalists were recently given a tutorial at the Wixom facility. They got the chance to hand build portions of a permanent magnet motor. The Chevrolet Spark electric vehicle, which will debut in 2013, will use this 85 kW (114 hp) permanent magnet motor configuration.

The White Marsh facility will manufacture electric motors for the Spark as well as other future vehicles. Presently, electric motors are used as part of the propulsion system in nine GM vehicles: Chevrolet Volt, Chevrolet Malibu Eco, Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid, Buick Lacrosse eAssist, Buick Regal eAssist, GMC Sierra Hybrid, GMC Yukon and Yukon Denali Hybrid, and Cadillac Escalade Hybrid.

Just like its Cruze sibling, the new Chevrolet Spark has been designed to defy how vehicles on their respective segments should look, drive and feel like. Although the Chevrolet Spark appears like a three-door hatch, its rear doors were cleverly disguised by integrating their handles into the C-pillar area – thereby lending the minicar with sporty looks sans any compromise in four-door comfort and utility. By integrating the spoiler over the rear hatch door, the Spark is able to boast more dynamic looks and a more aerodynamic appearance that help the minicar become more fuel efficient.

The new Chevrolet Spark features a new grille and front fascia and a longer rear fascia as well as modified headlamps and taillamps. It is also provided with redesigned outside rearview mirrors that help enhance its aerodynamics. With a wheels-at-the-corners stance, the new Spark rides, as standard, on 15-inch alloy wheels. In addition, higher-end models of the new Spark minicar come with features like matching rocker panel molding, liftgate handle trim and chrome brightwork at the beltline. Further higher-end features include details around the poke-through exhaust outlet and around the fog lamps.

Customers could choose from an array of available exterior paints like Black Granite, Denim, Grey Area, Jalapeno, Lemonade, Salsa, Silver Ice, Summit White and Techno Pink. Featured as standard on all Spark models are power windows and air conditioning. The Spark’s color-coordinated interior boasts of a lower instrument panel that feature a motorcycle-inspired gauge cluster, as well as a lower center console that allows for optimal visibility and storage.

Its front door and instrument panel are provided with decorative inserts while the door pockets and dash feature ice blue ambient lighting and faceplates. Spark 2LT models are specified with leather-wrapped steering wheel and heated leatherette seats. On the other hand, the new Spark – specifically the 1LT and 2LT Spark models -- features the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system that includes a seven-inch color touch screen.

MyLink allows users to play their music files inside the Spark as well as use their smart phones and Bluetooth connectivity to gain access into both Pandora and Stitcher internet radio and navigation. In addition, when the Spark is at a halt, customers could project video or personal photo albums onto the MyLink screen. Higher-end models of the Spark are also available with SiriusXM Satellite Radio.

According to Perry, this marks the first time that this level of infotainment and connectivity was featured in the segment, thereby allowing owners of smaller cars like the Spark to enjoy a certain level of personalization.

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