2014 Chevrolet Spark is expected to set a new benchmark for urban electric vehicles when it is rolled out to dealerships in California next summer. First off, the 2014 Spark boasts of an oil-cooled, permanent magnet motor that provides at least 100 kW (130 hp) of power and about 400 lb.-ft. of torque with the coaxial drive unit.
This permits the 2014 Spark to accelerate from zero to 60 mph in less than eight seconds, making the electric vehicle a fast model for its segment. The 2014 Spark also boasts of having the industry-first SAE combo charger, which allows DC Fast Charging of up to 80 percent of battery capacity in just 20 minutes. This fast charging ability, which will be available shortly after Spark’s market launch, is expected to give the electric vehicle one of the best ranges in the segment.
The electric vehicle is powered by an over 20 kWh lithium-ion battery, which carries Chevrolet’s warranty protection of eight years/100,000 miles and has the capability to handle multiple DC Fast Charges daily. The 2014 Spark could also be charged completely in under seven hours using a dedicated 240V charge, with a 120V charge cord set as standard.
Charging of the 2014 Spark can be managed and monitored remotely using the vehicle’s smart phone application, which is provided by OnStar. The Spark EV team managed to leverage the expertise gained from the groundbreaking Chevrolet Volt program and the proceeds to use many of the same components and systems. It is estimated that over 75 percent of the Spark’s propulsion system components are from the Volt and GM’s hybrid truck programs.
Larry Nitz, the executive director of GM’s engineering team in global electrification, expressed that the new battery of the Spark EV had been tested for more than 200,000 hours in its battery systems laboratories. The upgrade allowed clients to perform several DC Fast Charges in a day to support convenience and minimize range anxiety.
The team involved in the development of the Spark EV gained its expertise from and utilizes a wide range of systems and components of the innovative Chevrolet Volt program. Much of the components of the Spark EV’s propulsion system are derived from the Volt as well as from the hybrid truck programs of GM.
The drive unit and motor of the Spark EV will be built starting in the first or second quarter of 2013 at the transmission factory of GM in White Marsh. It will be a historic undertaking since an American car manufacturer has never before built both the drive unit and an electric motor for an innovative electric car.
Nitz emphasized that Spark EV is a successful attempt to exhibit the company’s growing capability in battery technologies and in electric motor development. This expertise shall usher its progress in manufacturing modern electric vehicles that accommodate the needs of its customers from different parts of the globe.