Looks like there was a good reason General Motors dropped the "More car than electric" tagline for the Chevy Volt. That anti-EV phrase was always short-sighted, and the reason why could be on display later this morning in Detroit. Reports out now say that GM will announce a new U.S.-bound electric car today as part of Chevrolet's upcoming centennial celebration. The car is likely to be the long-awaited Spark EV.

That GM is working on an all-electric Spark is no surprise; a version of the vehicle (also known as the Beat) was shown in India earlier this year and GM CEO Dan Akerson said at the Detroit Auto Show this past January that his company was working on an all-electric vehicle to be sold in the U.S. A Spark EV would fit the rumors that GM's new electric car is small and designed for urban areas, particularly in California, where it would be used to meet the upcoming ZEV mandate changes.

Official details – like when and where this electric new car will go on sale and what brand it will be – should be forthcoming soon. We'll update this post when this information become available.

*UPDATE: Well, the first official details have arrived, and they all go along with what you read above. The Spark EV is going use nanophosphate lithium-ion battery packs from A123 Systems and will be sold in "limited quantities in select U.S. and global markets starting in 2013, including California."
Show full PR text
Chevrolet to Produce Spark EV All-Electric Vehicle
Mini-car joins growing portfolio of electrified vehicles


2011-10-12

DETROIT – Chevrolet today announced it will produce an all-electric version of the Chevrolet Spark mini-car – the Spark EV. It will be sold in limited quantities in select U.S. and global markets starting in 2013, including California.

"The Spark EV offers customers living in urban areas who have predictable driving patterns or short commutes an all-electric option," said Jim Federico, global vehicle chief engineer for electric vehicles at Chevrolet. "It complements Chevrolet's growing range of electrified vehicles, including the Volt extended-range EV and the 2013 Malibu Eco with eAssist technology."

Feedback from participants in Chevrolet's electric vehicle demonstration fleets in Shanghai (Sail EV), Korea (Cruze EV) and India (Beat EV) are being incorporated into the Spark EV.

"Our global demo fleets continue to provide insight into the needs of electric vehicle customers living in urban environments," said Federico. "The Spark EV is another step in Chevrolet's plan to provide customers with a variety of electrification solutions to address the lifestyle and transportation needs of people around the world."

A123 Systems will supply the advanced nanophosphate lithium-ion battery packs that will power the Spark EV. Details on specific markets, range, quantities and pricing will be announced later.

About Chevrolet

Founded in Detroit in 1911, Chevrolet celebrates its centennial as a global automotive brand with annual sales of about 4.25 million vehicles in more than 140 countries. Chevrolet provides consumers with fuel-efficient, safe and reliable vehicles that deliver high quality, expressive design, spirited performance and value. The Chevrolet portfolio includes iconic performance cars such as Corvette and Camaro; dependable, long-lasting pickups and SUVs such as Silverado and Suburban; and award-winning passenger cars and crossovers such as Sonic, Cruze, Malibu, Equinox and Traverse. Chevrolet also offers "gas-friendly solutions including Cruze Eco and Volt. Cruze Eco offers 42 mpg highway while Volt offers 35 miles of electric, gasoline-free driving and an additional 344 miles of extended gasoline range, according to EPA estimates. Most new Chevrolet models offer OnStar safety, security and convenience technologies including OnStar Hands-Free Calling, Automatic Crash Response and Stolen Vehicle Slowdown. More information regarding Chevrolet models, fuel solutions, and OnStar availability can be found at www.chevrolet.com.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 44 Comments
      lawrencetheman
      • 3 Years Ago
      starting in 2013? they better have a better range than 100 miles..
      Rotation
      • 3 Years Ago
      2013 is a long time from now. They will miss the initial uptake from the EV true believers. They better hope that the broader market is willing to accept a limited-range EV, this is yet to be shown.
        Ryan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        There needs to be a company that creates a standard trailer like U-Haul that has two battery packs in it and a simple way to connect it to increase the amp hours of the battery pack. Then the range of your car will be increased, and the trailer could be swapped out quickly and reserved. Maybe they could even have a efficient natural gas or gasoline turbine generator for highway use over long distances.
          Mallard
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ryan
          Spec, Actually, GM was using a generator trailer during development of the EV1 so they could drive the cars all day, instead of only getting an hour or so of work done every day. That's before the tZero had it, and it's what partially sparked the idea of the Volt arcitecture. Did Martin Eberhard build one for his Tesla too? It's a good solution to the range problem, but I don't have a 3 car garage where I can use one bay to store a trailer, and I'm not going to pay to rent one everytime I drive longer distances. What if there's an emergency and one's not available? What if I'm out at the mall and get a phone call that something happened to a family memeber and I need to get out of state ASAP? It's a decent solution that works for some people, sometimes. Which is the point of GM's powertrain approach. There are multiple solutions that will lead us into the next decade. That can be diesel, natural gas, hybrid, ER-EV, full EV, or any combination in between. GM's CEO has acknowled this and is working to provide solutions that works for everyone.
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ryan
          @Mallard Derp. His point is to have a ADD-ON TEMPORARY solution since it is not an issue 98% of the time. The Tzero had one that worked nicely. With a trailer, you could rent it and use it the few times you need it. And that way you don't lug around the weight and maintenance problems of an ICE that you rarely ever use. I think all these different solutions are good and buyers can buy the ones that work best for their particular driving patterns. But it is difficult to support many options in a market in its infancy.
          Mallard
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ryan
          Yeah, wouldn't it be great if someone made an electric vehicle that you could drive fully off the battery, then connect an efficient gas generator to it so you can extend your range?
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        The broader market WILL be willing to accept limited range EVs once they see many other people using them with no problems AND gasoline starts hitting $5/gallon or $7/gallon. And by 2013, I'd say at least $5/gallon is fairly certain.
      Dave D
      • 3 Years Ago
      I wonder what type of specs they'll have? As GM is advertising this as a metro car, I bet they go with about an 20kWh pack and only use about use about 17 kWh and rate it about 60-70 miles. That would let them squeeze more cycle life out of the pack without taking it too high or too low. I wonder what kind of price they'll get from A123 for some decent volumes??? I bet it doesn't drop below $500/kWh the way A123 is pricing things. They are just not going for market penetrarion with low prices. They are happier chasing niches to preserve profits, even in the short term, from what I can tell. But to be fair to A123...they don't get huge government backing and almost unlimited capital from their private markets to lose money as long as needed to buy up a market. We just don't think that way but the Japanese, Koreans and Chinese sure as hell do.
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dave D
        A123 did get big government funding to open up the battery factory they building in Michigan. Both loans from the Feds and tax-breaks from the state. The better use that money wisely and efficiently crank out lots of inexpensive batteries or else they'll end up as another Solyndra story.
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dave D
        A123 pricing doesn't seem to be the biggest problem. last I heard from the CEO it was around 400$/kWh. if GM bought big I imagine they could get them for 350 or maybe lower. but this project seems to be for only a handful of cars so the price is largely irrelevant. A123 is a robust chemistry with long life so they might try a very small pack and use almost all of it as a way to reduce cost of EVs. they could try as little as 8.5kWh which for a pack might cost them 4k$. it would only say 60km range but that's quite enough for many. and if you add in a few chademos you can charge the bulk of such a pack in 10 minutes or 5 minutes for 25km. say 17.499$, 7.5k$ rebate. I could see that working. of course they wont do that because that would be smart and that's not their style : )
      Dave D
      • 3 Years Ago
      Good update Sebastian, thanks. I agree with Ine937s....it will be good to see if they cill come out with a "de-plumbed" Volt and add some extra batteries to it. Why not go with that platform and shoot for a 100 mile range to compete with the Leaf? It's not as nice and roomy as the Leaf...but it's not as butt ugly either LOL Hey, I'm a big Leaf fan...but it is just not a sexy car...sorry :-)
      Ryan
      • 3 Years Ago
      Maybe they should produce the S10 electric again? The S10 was popular and there would be a lot less competition form the non-compact EV car market (Leaf, Prius). Hopefully, a pickup truck would be cheaper as well.
        Ryan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ryan
        Since the picture has been updated, I like the new gauges. I'm glad they are going back to the big digits again.
          ABG Sebastian
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ryan
          Yeah, this picture was just released by GM and it made more sense to show it than the old one. I can see a Volt-like efficiency ball over on the left side of the dash, I think.
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ryan
        Or they should make a Voltec pick-up truck. It would be easy to hide the batteries under the bed of a pick-up.
      mchlrus1
      • 3 Years Ago
      Crummy charge, drive, and battery system on this, I think I'll wait.
        Marco Polo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @mchlrus1
        @mchirus 1 Sorry, the position of resident troll is already filled.
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @mchlrus1
        You'll have to wait even if you want it . . . but you are complaining about things that they have not even released details on yet. That is pretty pathetic trolling.
      Harry
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why are they using A123 for the Spark and LG Chem for the Volt? Is A123 cheaper and LG Chem more robust? I hope they release the AER and the MSRP right up front. Building a pair of electric cars, both EREV and BEV, makes a lot of sense for GM. Sooner would be better, but late 2012 is probably as early as it is possible for GM to deliver this vehicle.
        theflew
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Harry
        It makes a lot of sense. They are painting EVs as "City Cars" and EREVs for everything else.
        amtoro
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Harry
        Different chemistries. The Volt's is a "power density" battery like the ones in many hybrids; a BEV requires an "energy density" type of chemistry, like the batteries in the LEAF, iMiev, etc.
          Jim McL
          • 3 Years Ago
          @amtoro
          The A123 pack is also likely to be larger and less protected than the LG Chem. The A123 chemistry is intrinsically safer than LG Chem so perhaps a better trade off for a BEV.
      Michael Walsh
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm not so much a hater as I am highly skeptical of anything GM does.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      rather late in the game to pull a BMW. a few token converted cars in california by 2013. what is that.. if that's all they are working on in the BEV department then they must be planning to ignore BEVs for the next decade or so. sigh. I guess it was naive to expect the automakers had learned anything. if Renault Nissan doesn't understand the need for lean EVs we might be in trouble. Tesla doesn't get it and will probably go bankrupt, same with Fisker. the germans are only doing tokens and lies, Toyota is offering a lame prius at a higher cost. the Leaf will sell quite a few but so ugly and expensive it will only be able to appeal to a small segment of people. we've got nothing : )
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 3 Years Ago
      Another car from GM to satisfy a California ZEV mandate huh.. sounds familiar..
      Michael Walsh
      • 3 Years Ago
      CARB play, pure and simple. I'll believe otherwise when I see a purchase price or a lease with a residual value.
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Michael Walsh
        I think it is more than a CARB play. GM sees the Leaf & Volt sales and they know they need to offer a pure EV. This may be a kludgy & rushed first offering but it is real. California is always a first market because it is a big market and it is a place with demand for EVs . . . I see Teslas, Leafs, and even Volts now often.
        Smith Jim
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Michael Walsh
        When I first saw this headline I thought about writing the following comment, "Will this news change the minds of GM haters? Probably not." I guess I was right.
      Pete K
      • 3 Years Ago
      Maybe they want to put it into a limited market because they know said markets will be early adopters of not just a pure BEV, but the charging infrastructure to support it...
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Pete K
        Charging infrastructure is always a Red Herring. People charge at home 98% of the time. Public chargers are something to reduce worry but people rarely actually use them.
          Michael
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          Spec, That's a great stat, but it doesn't convince those that are on the fence about buying an EV, and some people that would love to drive an EV live in these places called apartments and have no way to charge said vehicle unless a charging network is built.
          j
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          Spec, there is a lot of income potential in reducing worry. Pharmaceutical execs, build their mansions on it, load up on stock options, send their kids to college, drive their Maybachs and vacation in Bali because of it. I wouldn't discount the power of this red herring.
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          @j But people are willing to pay for those pharmaceuticals. Who will pay for these public charging stations? Many will get deployed by governments and some private businesses will install some for the PR reward. But I doubt there will ever bit a big infrastructure since they are expensive and they are unlikely to ever pay for themselves even people use them a little bit. Local governments are all cash-strapped so they don't have money to spend them. I'm just saying, don't count on it. Anyone who wants an EV needs to figure out how they'll get a charger where they will park at night. I think the best thing that could be done is that building codes should require all new apartments to have parking places with conduit (not actual wiring) installed for handling a future charger. Then when people demand a charger, it can be added easily and cheaply.
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          @Michael Well those people need to create a demand for apartments that have charging places. You are not going to be able to drive an EV relying simply on public charging stations. EVs need to have an overnight parking place where they can charge at night. Public charging places here and there will NOT fix that problem.
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