2013 Chevrolet Spark
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How about a little of that over here?

That's what some electric-vehicle proponents may say after General Motors announced the upcoming public debut of an all-electric Chevrolet Spark. In South Korea.

GM Korea, which is 77 percent owned by the US automaker (the rest is owned by Korea Development Bank and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp.), will start making and selling the all-electric Spark in 2013, according to the Wall Street Journal.

GM, which says it's investing more than $900 million annually to further development of electric-drive vehicles, will also eventually "export" the Spark EV here to the US, though fewer details were disclosed about that process. Most likely, the Spark EV will be a California "compliance car." In March, GM started testing Spark EVs in California, and estimated that the car had a single-charge range of about 100 miles.

South Korea accounts for about 25 percent of all Chevrolets sold globally. Pictured above is a gas-powered Spark.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 26 Comments
      Ryan
      • 2 Years Ago
      What are they spending $900 million on? They need to make a factory made equivalent to the EV home conversion. Use off the shelf LiFePO4 batteries, a standard motor, and a simple controller. Have simple gauges or the option of higher tech ones. Sell it for under $14,000. http://img641.imageshack.us/img641/4505/teslasuperchargers2017.png $0.25 million per dot would go a lot longer towards pushing EV sales. Installing regular J1772 plugs with solar or wind energy at parks, malls, casinos, movie theaters, office parks, rest areas, sport stadiums, parking garages will help too.
        Giza Plateau
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ryan
        Yeah Ryan, I don't understand why it costs that much either.
          HVH20
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Giza Plateau
          Because the battery system has to meet extreme safety, durability, and life time requirements. It needs to be mass producible, work in every climate, last for 10 years, have a service/repair strategy, and at the end of all that make a profit to cover all your Material costs, overhead, labor, r&d, and testing. Yes you can place a handful of lifepo4 cells from china in a shoe box, connect bus bars, and use a dc drive system in your garage to make a cheap EV functional on the most basic level. However if you managed to sell this into the general public you would be asking for a truck load of lawsuits and several deaths with your name on them.
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ryan
        GM's primary focus remains PHEVs, I take it. They could spend $900 million on just developing and producing a new, more suitable engine for the purpose, let alone all the sub systems and integration. For instance, one direction the industry is moving in is to integrate the complex wiring looms into a single circuit, which the various devices plug into and run off. Getting that to a level where they have enough faith in it for general release, with the huge costs of call-backs, fire risks and so on is a massive program in itself. That is aside from the expense of lightweighting vehicles, and BMW with their three continent set up to produce and integrate carbon fibre into their electric vehicles showed how expensive that is, and what a massive undertaking. Introducing new technology into the mass production car industry costs big bucks, and bears no relation to garage custom builds.
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          GM's focus is on having great cars in the US. If you've been following GM, they generally try to do shakedown in smaller markets before launching in the US, particularly for smaller vehicles like the Spark. The delay means GM effectively starts the US with a 2nd year car, rather than a 1st year car.
        MTN RANGER
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ryan
        When the industry is slowing moving towards PEV vehicles, GM is being responsible by continuing research and development. Volt 2.0, future Voltec vehicles, future BEVs, new battery technology include Envia are probably where the $900M is being directed.
          Spec
          • 2 Years Ago
          @MTN RANGER
          Yeah, I doubt a lot of money is being spent on this Spark program. It seems to be a beta-test for a small pure EV. But it is a start.
      Ryan
      • 2 Years Ago
      If they were selling a lot of cars already, it would be easier to have money to do research. As it is now, if you divide that 900 million (+ a hopeful profit/return) over the number of cars they have sold to date, it is a large number. The current generation might not be perfect, but computers in the 90s weren't perfect either, but they had a big marketing machine behind them and were easy to buy. If they would just make the EV2 that would be a upgraded and modern EV1 with Lithium batteries, lots of weight savings, more aerodynamic, LEDs, etc... and could sell it at a reasonable price without these costs, things would be doing much better in EV world.
      krona2k
      • 2 Years Ago
      Is this meant to compete with the E-Up! which is supposed to be available next year. The LEAF does need some competition.
      Ford Future
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hmmm. Honda Fit EV competitor. This will be interesting.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ford Future
        Well . . . they are both non-competitors. Both are apparently low-volume California-only compliance cars. Both will probably be priced pretty high and sold to early-adopter types. If someone could build cars like these (but hopefully a little more aerodynamic) and sell them for around $25K to $27K before the tax-credit, the pure EV market might get somewhere. Such cars would be less than $20K after tax-credit, be very cheap to operate, and provide the needs of a commuter and short trips. But sadly, I think that price point may be too hard for car-makers to accomplish right now. Unless battery & EV component prices drop more, that is probably money-losing price. So we are going slog along with a tiny marginal market of EVs until gas price inevitable creep up. But gas prices are probably not going to creep up over the next three to five years because of a weak slow-growth world economy and an increased oil supply (from North Dakota 'tight' oil, Canada tar sands oil, Gulf of Mexico deepwater oil, some oil production growth in Iraq, etc.)
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          @Spec, "If someone could build cars like these " That's exactly what the Smart EV and MIEV are doing. So far, both are failing, hard, but that's mostly due to Smart and Mitsu being weak OEMs. If you look where the big players are putting their money: - Chevy EREV - Ford Hybrid & EREV - Toyota PHEV - only Nissan went full BEV, and it's not been pretty. This is consistent with global market preferences for EREV and PHEV over BEV for the past few years. Chrysler and Honda are the wildcards, and it seems like they haven't decided which way they will go. I'd guess Honda will ultimately go BEV, simply because it's less expensive to develop., while Chrysler will license whatever technology they can afford.
          Ford Future
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          If Honda comes out with that Sportster EV, like they promised, it might make some interesting sales.
      Levine Levine
      • 2 Years Ago
      GM Korea is actually the Korean DaeWoo. GM bought DaeWoo, the financially distressed Korean auto maker last decade, while Kia and Hyundai consolidated. For all the stupid patriotic Americans who supported GM's bailout, this is where your tax dollar is working to create jobs and prosperity. For all you homies who still don't know, taxpayers still own about 25% of Government Motors. When millions of Americans are out of jobs, living on food-stamps or on the street, your government is diverting your tax dollars abroad. F-ing traitors.
        RoyEMunson
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Levine Levine
        So by that logic, any foreign automaker that sells cars outside their home country are "F-ing traitors"? You sir are an idiot.
        Spiffster
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Levine Levine
        Glad I one 2 Chevys, both built in the US by post bailout Guvment Motors :-)... Wait, these are insults! :-(
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Levine Levine
        What a stupid misleading post. GM bought DaeWoo TEN YEARS AGO IN 2002! You make it sound as if they took bail-out money and just bought them now. But misleading disinformation is what I expect from you.
        Marcopolo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Levine Levine
        Levine and Rick, dumb and dumber .....
        Ford Future
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Levine Levine
        If GM had gone under, there would have been many Republican small business suppliers and owners in bankruptcy along with GM. GM's bankruptcy threatened to bring down Toyota and Ford as well, as they all share suppliers. Giving up on the US Auto Industry would have been a disaster. This is why you Never Vote Republican, they are incompetent at governance and economics.
        Rick
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Levine Levine
        +1 Levine Levine Know where you are coming, all our RHD Chevys in the UK & Europe are shipped in from South Korea, build quality is very poor, as a result Chevy UK sales are very poor as well just a 300 hundred in the UK in August 2012. Would personally consider buying a USA RHD Chevy right now, but you can't buy one single RHD USA Chevy car in the UK, every single RHD UK Chevy is of South Korea Korean Origin, which l would never consider buying not in a million years. GM are hapless they should send us USA proper RHD USA made Chevys sales would rise 10-fold, and not the Korean junk whose build quality reputation is the worst in the UK they finish bottom of the pile every year JD Power thats the only thing you can rely on with the Korean made Chevy junk we get dumped on us in the UK, that we don't was, we want propers Chevy's that are made in the good ole US of A..
          Spiffster
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Rick
          The Ampera is RHD isnt it? That's built in the US.
          Marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Rick
          @ Rick, Y'know it might be still possible for the UK to exile you to South Georgia Island in the South Atlantic for being a notional embarrassment.
        RoyEMunson
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Levine Levine
        Im not going to pick sides because the bailout was a bipartisan decision (it was) The GM bailout was absolutely, ABSOLUTELY necessary... it was 2008, do you really think that any private investors were in any position to bet on GM? Stop fooling yourself! Think about it, who had the most to lose if GM went under? Hundreds of thousands of tax payers... Stop being so short sighted. Either way, it happened, get over it.
      Giza Plateau
      • 2 Years Ago
      What batteries will they use? I think GM made a deal to use A123 for the Spark.
        HVH20
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        They are using A123
        Spiffster
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        I remember A123 announcing that they won the contract for the Spark. Johnson controls is already a supplier for GM so they should be good to go.
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