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.