2014 Chevrolet Spark EV to return outstanding fuel economy of 119 mpg

Article by Anita Panait, on April 26, 2013

The 2014 Chevrolet Spark electric vehicle will be the most efficient car sold to retail consumers as it could return the equivalent of 119 mpg in combined city and highway driving, according to General Motors. The carmaker said that the 2014 Spark EV that will be rolled out this summer in California and Oregon will have an EPA-rated range of 82 miles when fully charged.

Other EVs sold or bound for production in the US include Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Fiat 500e, Scion iQ EV, Honda Fit EV and the Focus Electric. While the Scion iQ EV has an EPA-rated fuel efficiency of 121 mpg, it is only used in car-sharing demonstration programs and not sold at retailers.

The US Environmental Protection Agency, created the mpg equivalency rating to help consumers compare the efficiency of gasoline-powered and electric vehicles. In terms of range, the Spark EV is beaten by the Fiat 500e, which could travel up to 87 miles in a full single charge. Chrysler Group is launching the Fiat 500e this month in California.

On the other hand, the best-selling pure EV, the Leaf, has a range of 73 miles. According to GM, the Spark EV will have a price of less than $25,000 with tax incentives. Spark EV buyers will qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit, which means that the unit has a sticker price of around $30,000. GM is also launching the Spark EV in Canada, South Korea and Europe.

According to a GM spokeswoman, the carmaker will consider selling the Spark EV in other US regions. The carmaker said that the Spark will be the first EV that comes with an optional combination charger that enables DC Fast Charging, an innovative technology that allows recharging of up to 80 percent of the EV’s battery capacity in 20 minutes. A full charge using a 240-volt charging station takes seven hours. On the other hand, a recharge using the standard 120-volt outlet takes around 14 hours.

Chevrolet revealed that in designing the new Spark EV, efficiency was the main focus. Indeed, while it initially appears as if it looks the same as that of the gas-powdered version, the engineers made significant, albeit tiny, modifications on the exterior. This was to enhance the aerodynamics and extend the range. For example, the upper two-tier chrome grille is now closed which helps lower the airflow.

The diffusers in the rear meanwhile allow for airflow under the vehicle to be optimized. Another important change is the rocker system which was made wider and lower. Thus this increases the tire coverage and with it improve aerodynamics. There were also modifications done to the tire air deflectors and underbody panels. Even the exterior mirrors were changed to optimize aerodynamics.

An active shutter system has been fitted in order to manage the airflow that goes through the opening of the lower intake. Further, there is now an electric charge portal above the front wheel well on the driver’s side. Other changes include the roof-extending rear spoiler, low rolling resistance tires, and the aluminum 15-inch wheels. All of these various changes result in the Spark EV having a coefficient of drag at 0.326 with maximum range of 82 miles (130 km).

Chevrolet also said that for the Spark EV, the designers made sure to focus on a vehicle that would have flowing, uninterrupted, and harmonious atmosphere that is inviting to one’s senses. Passenger volume measures 86.3 cubic feet (2,444 liters) with cargo volume of 9.6 cubic feet (272 liters). These figures show that Spark EV may well be the one of the segment’s largest vehicles.

There are various storage options available like the one on the center console bin and the bottle holders placed on the door pocket. There is even a passenger IP storage tray and two cup holders in the front and another two in the rear. Standard are cloth seats though leatherette-trimmed seats are also offered. For the exterior, Chevrolet will be offering a wide range of colors which include Black Granite, Electric Blue, Summit White, Titanium, and Silver Ice.

Press Release

Chevrolet Spark Most Efficient U.S. Retail Electric Vehicle

The 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV is the industry benchmark in retail electric vehicle efficiency with a combined city/highway EPA estimated range of 82 miles when fully charged and an EPA-estimated combined city/highway 119 MPGe fuel economy equivalent.

Compared to the average new vehicle, the Spark EV can potentially save its owners up to $9,000 in fuel cost over five years. The Spark EV goes on sale this summer in California and Oregon.

“Being able to provide our customers with the best overall efficiency of any retail EV has always been a key target for the Spark EV engineering team,” said Pam Fletcher, GM executive chief engineer for electrified vehicles. “We’re poised to deliver to the market an EV that’s not just efficient, but also thrilling to drive thanks to the 400 lb-ft torque output of its electric motor.”

The Spark EV’s 21 kWh lithium-ion battery pack will continue Chevrolet’s tradition of offering industry-leading limited warranty protection – eight years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Spark EV will be the first vehicle on the market to offer as an available option the recently approved SAE combo charger for DC Fast Charging. The capability, available shortly after launch, will enable the Spark EV to recharge up to 80 percent of its capacity in approximately 20 minutes. The battery system is capable of handling multiple DC Fast Charges daily. Charging can also be completed in less than seven hours using a dedicated 240V charge. A 120V charge cord set comes standard. Charging can be managed and monitored remotely using the Spark EV’s smart phone application, provided by OnStar, which is standard for three years.

"The Chevrolet Spark EV is a great city car which blends technology, functionality and style in an unexpected package" said Cristi Landy, director of Chevrolet small and electrified vehicle marketing. "We built on the success of the Volt and the gas-powered Spark to offer an affordable, fun and efficient mini car our customers will love to drive."

The Chevrolet Spark EV will set an acceleration benchmark for an urban city electric vehicle – 0-60 mph in under eight seconds due to the mating of a permanent magnet electric motor, which produces more than 105 kW (140 hp), with the coaxial drive unit.

The GM designed oil-cooled, permanent magnet motor is the heart of the Spark EV’s propulsion system. Putting more than half a million road miles on development versions of the Spark EV enabled engineers to make the performance of the electric motor the best it could be by using a bar wound copper stator and unique rotor configuration.

The motor and drive unit are assembled at GM’s Baltimore operations plant in White Marsh, Md. Last week, the plant celebrated Spark EV motor production, marking the first time a major U.S. auto manufacturer has designed and built both a complete electric motor and drive unit for a modern electric vehicle in the United States.

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