The last veil has been lifted from the 2014 Chevy Spark EV, allowing us to finally view the Korean import in all its aero-optimized glory. While we aren't much surprised by its appearance – the prototype in our First Drive wore only the thinnest of camo disguises – we were a bit taken aback by the announced pricing.

Customers will need to scrounge up almost $25,000 to park GM's first purchasable (you could only lease its predecessor, the EV1) all-electric automobile in their driveways. That's just under $32,500 for those who don't qualify for the $7,500 federal EV tax credit. Or, to put it another way, almost double the base price of the gasoline-powered version after the federal incentive.

In the context of other available electrics, that puts it well below the after-incentive $32,495 for the Ford Focus EV, but substantially higher than the $21,625 needed to bring home a Mitsubishi i. More importantly, it puts it dangerously close to the Nissan Leaf's current post-credit $27,700 pricetag, and perhaps even above the cost of the 2013 American-built model.

Luckily, GM isn't betting the farm with the Spark EV. With its US rollout expanded only slightly from California to include Oregon, the peppy little hatch should find enough buyers to suit its compliance purposes. And, like its plug-in Chevy Volt sister, the Spark shouldn't be seen as a means to an end in itself, but rather a starting point towards further electrification options for future models.

To get all the details – except, oddly enough, the estimated range expected from its 20-plus kilowatt-hour battery pack – check out the official press release below.
Show full PR text
Chevrolet Spark EV is Pure, Electric Fun
Competitively priced under $25,000 with tax incentives
  • Expected range among best in EV segment
  • Advanced, U.S.-built motor and drive unit deliver best-in-class acceleration
  • Two seven-inch, high-resolution LCD screens display key vehicle functions and infotainment
  • Initial markets include California, Oregon, Canada, South Korea and other global markets
  • Optional SAE Combo DC Fast Charging capability enables Spark EV to charge to 80 percent in 20 minutes
LOS ANGELES – The 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV, introduced today ahead of the Los Angeles International Auto Show, packs smart performance and connectivity technologies into an affordable five-door urban mini car designed to make the trip as electrifying as the destination. It will be priced under $25,000 with tax incentives.

With the Chevrolet Volt, Chevrolet accounts for more than 50 percent of all plug-in electric vehicle sales in the United States and Spark EV builds on Chevrolet's proven electric motor and battery development programs. When it goes on sale next summer, the Spark EV is expected to have among the best EV battery range in its segment and be the first electric vehicle to offer SAE Combo DC Fast Charging capability, enabling the Spark EV to reach 80-percent battery charge in just 20 minutes.

"When you engineer a technology-filled, all-electric mini car that goes from zero-to-60 mph in less than eight seconds, customers won't miss the gas," said Mark Reuss, president, General Motors North America. "The Volt and now the Spark EV show that Chevrolet not only knows EVs better than anyone else, we also know how to help customers get the most out of their EV experience."

Inside the Spark EV, critical vehicle functions are clearly and intuitively displayed on one of the vehicle's two reconfigurable, high-resolution, seven-inch color LCD screens, including a confidence gauge that shows the expected driving range based on driving habits and other conditions.

Spark EV also will keep urban drivers musically connected with Chevrolet's exclusive MyLink radio that comes standard and safely brings smartphone-based infotainment – including apps for BringGo full-function navigation, TuneIn global internet radio, Pandora and Stitcher – into the vehicle. Apple's Siri will ride shotgun, for customers with compatible (4S and newer) iPhones.

In addition to previously announced markets including California and South Korea, Spark EV will also go on sale in participating dealerships throughout Oregon, Canada and other global markets. Spark EV will be eligible for coveted high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes in California.

The soul of Spark EV

Spark EV is powered by an advanced electric motor and battery system. It consists of a GM-designed, coaxial drive unit and electric motor that together deliver 130 hp (110 kW) and 400 lb.-ft. (542 Nm) of torque for instant acceleration; and a more than 20-kWh lithium ion battery is expected to provide among the best EV range performance in its segment.

The drive unit and motor will be assembled of U.S. and globally sourced parts at GM's White Marsh, Md., manufacturing facility, and the first time a U.S. automaker has built both a complete electric motor and drive unit for a modern electric vehicle in the United States.

Spark EV's long-life battery is designed to be safe, durable and reliable, and is warranted for eight years or 100,000 miles. It consists of a 560-pound (254 kg) square lithium-ion battery pack with a volume of 133 liters, comprising 336 prismatic cells.

"The Spark EV battery has undergone more than 200,000 hours of testing in our global battery systems labs," said Pamela Fletcher, Chevrolet executive chief engineer of electrified vehicles. "It is extremely durable and has undergone the same abuse tolerance testing as the Volt battery."

Leading the charge

Spark EV is the first all-electric vehicle in North America to offer optional SAE Combo DC Fast Charge capability, which can charge the battery to 80 percent of capacity in about 20 minutes. A common on-board charging receptacle accommodates all three charging platforms – DC Fast Charge, AC 240V and AC 120V.

Using a dedicated 240V outlet, Spark EV recharges in less than seven hours. Owners can coordinate charging according to departure time or during off-peak electricity rates. They also can manage and monitor the vehicle remotely via computer at OnStar.com, or with a special Chevrolet Mobile App powered by OnStar Remote Link. The Spark EV comes with three years of standard OnStar service.

Energy-saving exterior; tech-filled interior

In developing the Spark EV, Chevrolet set out to help customers conserve as much total energy as possible to maximize battery range. One important way to achieve that is by improving the vehicle's aerodynamics. By evaluating every detail of the gasoline-powered Spark, designers and aerodynamic engineers added the equivalent of about 2.5 miles of real-world range.

Spark EV colors include Electric Blue, Black Granite, Summit White, Silver Ice and Titanium. Inside, designers sought to create a comfortable and spacious cockpit with noise-reduction features and a combination of bright accents in Electric Blue and chrome.

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 197 Comments
      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      The notion that this is 'double the price' of the petrol version is based on the lowest trim at $12,995: http://www.autoblog.com/2012/08/07/2013-chevrolet-spark-first-drive-review/ I haven't seen the details of the trim that are included in the EV, but likely a fairer comparison will be with the $14,495 ILT trim. So the difference assuming you are eligible for the tax rebate will be around $10,500. That still buys a lot of petrol, but does buy you security that you will be able to get around regardless of events in the Middle East. With a battery likely to last as long as the car without ridiculous capacity loss, it is probably difficult to justify on purely economic grounds, but not wildly silly either.
      Marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Interesting cautious limited release by GM to gain further experience of the American market for small EV's. Despite it's South Korean origins, the little Spark EV sports a GM badge, and is more identifiable as an American vehicle, being seen int the same context as GM's Volt. Like Renault's Zoe, or Mitsubishi's iMev, the Spark will be sold as an urban commuter vehicle. Unlike Zoe, iMev or even Leaf, GM is not claiming that this vehicle is targeted to reach sales figures where it's production is profitable in the usual sense. For what it is, it's an interesting little EV from a major auto-maker. As Domenick Yoney rightly points out, The Spark EV shouldn't be seen as an end in itself, but rather as part of a long process of gradual development. In the meantime, it's good to see another EV choice being manufactured.
      HVH20
      • 2 Years Ago
      The range is going to be 68miles +/- 5%.
      Hazdaz
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'd be interesting in seeing what the range is from this vehicle. EVs are still not for everyone, but its amazing that this technology is available for "only" ~$25k. That's not cheap, but when the price of the average new car in the US is about $30k, $25k for an EV is really not bad. I do have to say though, that GM STILL doesn't have a viable hybrid system. Yeah, the Voltec is fantastic, but the more immediate future is hybrids. And I just don't see them being able to bring down the costs of Voltec down to be able to be put in nearly all their cars any time soon. GM jumped a generation in technology by bringing out Voltec, but until both the market and prices for components (batteries) come down, they have little to offer in the interim and Toyota will continue to eat their lunch because of it.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Hazdaz
        [blocked]
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Hazdaz
        [blocked]
      ferps
      • 2 Years Ago
      I wonder how many people will go to a dealership to look at a Volt but find it a bit expensive, and then end up buying one of these instead.
      Daniele Ingrao
      • 2 Years Ago
      Here is a very clear article that explains how the tax credit will work: http://consumerguideauto.howstuffworks.com/a-7500-federal-tax-credit-not-for-joe-sixpack.htm
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      mikeybyte1
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sorry, the price is not $25,000. It is $32,500. The tax rebate is just that - a rebate deduction that you may or may not qualify for. When you go to purchase it you are paying $32,500. Not $25,000. You will put that cash down or get a loan to cover the $32,500 cost. Then later when you go to file your annual taxes you can claim a $7,500 deduction to lower your taxable base. So it's not the same thing. I think leasing is always the way to go with these vehicles. But I am getting fed up with the "it's really only XXXX with the rebate" explanations. It's not.
        Ankur Shah
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        Not a deduction - It reduces your tax liability.
        Mike Fernandez
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        True that's the real price. But you should take into account the rebate and make note of it's existence.
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        Even though I am not a resident of the US even I know that you don't actually have to wait and reclaim, but can tell the IR what you are doing and take make the deduction as you go.
        throwback
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        davemart, yes you do because you may not qualify for it.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @throwback
          Obviously if you screwed it up and did not qualify you would owe the IR the money. I am assuming that anyone who is that dumb is unlikely to earn enough to get a rebate anyway, or more likely won't earn enough to think about buying a new car of any sort in the first place.
        Jason
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        It's a tax credit, not a tax deduction. A tax deduction is a reduction in your taxable income. A credit is cash back, regardless of your taxable income.
          Ken
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Jason
          Sorry Jason, but this tax credit is non refundable. This means that if your tax liability is less than $7500 and you wanted to take the tax credit you wouldn't get the difference as a refund. Kind of unfair since only higher income folks would qualify.
          Nemebean
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Jason
          I'm skeptical that there are a significant number of people who are both looking to buy a 32500 subcompact and would not get the full tax credit. Early adoption is a rich person's game.
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Jason
          [blocked]
      Matt
      • 2 Years Ago
      Can you say "Compliance Car"?
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Matt
        [blocked]
      Jason Krumvieda
      • 2 Years Ago
      How far will some people go for good gas mileage or no fuel costs? I know that it is good for the environment but it is also ugly, not fun to drive, can't haul much and I would be embarrassed to be seen in it.
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jason Krumvieda
        Many people would rather spend more upfront... and figure gasoline prices might spike again, but not have a recession bring them back down. Millions of people DO NOT think it's ugly. Americans tend to, but this car is not meant for the U.S. primarily. Koreans and Japanese have different tastes. They think the Leaf and Prius cars are very pretty. Like Hello Kitty. Not fun to drive? Once again, Americans put that as a high priority, but most of the world do not need FUN while sitting in rush hour traffic. Can't haul much? True, but do we all need pickup trucks? Most urban and suburban drivers (most of us, most of the time) only "Haul" a single person and a couple of bags, and occasionally a second person. Embarrassment is what many people feel when they cannot afford gasoline prices when they spike above $5/gal and beyond, and have to sell their truck for a cheap price because they didn't need to haul a boat as much as the commercials suggested.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Nothing is ever sarcastic enough for me. The Prius has a VERY big following as far as groups... even though it was introduced in the late 90's. Sure the Camaro and Mustang have more... but their legacy has transcended decades and generations already. The Spark is too new and too few. It has nothing to do with what good ol' country folks think is 'purdy'.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Yes, a Car Enthusiast is not limited to American Cars only and American values. An efficient ride can be just as appealing to many people, just as raw power is to others.
          Jason Krumvieda
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Yes you are right, the number of Spark car groups on the internet far out number the Camaro and Mustang sites. The other day I saw the one and only Spark rally and the couple of girls that showed up had to leave early because they were going to be late for class. Is that sarcastic enough for you?
          Jason Krumvieda
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Isn't this a car enthusiast website? Forget all of the stuff that I said up above and explain to me how anybody can be enthusiastic about this car? Wow! they added a battery to an otherwise nasty looking car. Pictures don't do it justice, it is really ugly.
        BipDBo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jason Krumvieda
        Small cars are much more fun to drive. EVs have extra weight, but better weight distribution. With 130hp and lots of low end torque, I'd bet that this is a lot of fun.
          • 2 Years Ago
          @BipDBo
          [blocked]
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jason Krumvieda
        With that much torque it will be fun to drive alright. Looks are a matter of taste. Your mother probably told you that you were a good looking boy.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          -"Everything I say out here is usually crap and I say it to get people charged up."- At least you're a self admitted troll. -"They resort to name calling and that makes them look really stupid even though they are telling everybody how much smarter and better that they are "- I never implied I was... I am flattered you derived that though. -" I bet that he doesn't have many people in his life "- Yet you are the first to resort to a personal attack against me.
          Jason Krumvieda
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          If you want to go there....your mom told me was I was good also. Last night.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Jason, you seem to mistake a light hearted reply for an attack. It wasn't.
          Jason Krumvieda
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          That last one was the joke part that you didn't really get. I am not a troll because at the end of the day I don't care if I have a +5 or a -10 and I am not here to hurt your feelings I am here to hurt Chevy's feelings because this is one ugly car.
          Jason Krumvieda
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          At least you are cool about it. Everything I say out here is usually crap and I say it to get people charged up. True colors really show when they are mad. They resort to name calling and that makes them look really stupid even though they are telling everybody how much smarter and better that they are because somehow they know what is better for the rest of us. Take Joeviocoe for example, he is obviously smarter than all of us because he says that he is. In reality I bet that he doesn't have many people in his life that like to hear him talk about himself and how great he is.
      justgoawaymad
      • 2 Years Ago
      Please cut the b/s of.....oh its only 25k after tax credits. If you had ANY brains you would know that a tax credit is NOTHING like a rebate. Its NOT 25k no matter WHAT you do with your taxes.
        mycommentemail
        • 2 Years Ago
        @justgoawaymad
        If I buy this car and owe more than $7500 in taxes, then this car will cost me $25,000. There, I explained it for you. Again.
          mycommentemail
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mycommentemail
          Sales tax applies to any car you buy, so that is more or less irrelevant (though you are correct that you pay the sales tax on the full $32K). Delivery is also a non-issue with regard to this conversation. Every car you buy has this charge so it is a wash. You can wait to claim your tax credit, or you can adjust your withholding right away. It isn't the same as getting a single rebate check, but it does allow you to recoup your money faster. Having to wait for the tax benefit might be an issue for some people, but I suspect that anyone who can afford to spend this kind of money on an EV (remember, the base spark is much cheaper) can afford to wait the time it takes to recoup the money by adjusting their withholdings. A tax credit is exactly that. If you own, say, $10K (i.e. you have a tax liability of $10K), you will only have to pay out $2.5K
          mycommentemail
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mycommentemail
          aatbloke, Nothing you say is incorrect, but I think you are splitting hairs now. If you finance any car, the final cost will not be the "official" sales price of the car. So, if a person is buying this car, and they would normally owe more than $7500 in taxes, would the car then effectively cost them the same as any other car that costs $25K? Pretty much. It might be off by six or seven hundred dollars, but for the most part the price is correct. I'm amazed that any other autoblog articles that mention the price of the car don't get as many esoteric arguments that the reporter is being "very misleading".
          aatbloke1967
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mycommentemail
          In addition, you have to take into account most of these cars will be financed. Let's take sales tax, fees, and trade ins out of the equation for a moment. There are a good many people who, based in income, may qualify to finance $25K, but not qualify to finance $32.5K which is a substantial percentage more. Yet it's the $32.5K you need to qualify for to buy the car in the first place, irrespective of any federal tax credits which may - or many not - qualify at the end of that fiscal year.
          aatbloke1967
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mycommentemail
          Yes, aatbloke, apparently the spectre of what you see as hidden fees does disqualify you. Stop trying to spike this car with a combination of incorrect arguments and FUD about "misleading articles" Rotation, I live in the real world and I'm an accounting professional. So I'm pointing out the costs that people who can actually afford cars - which precludes most Autoblog posters - actually face. And I don't really get share your passion for Korean cars, either. Sorry mate.
          aatbloke1967
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mycommentemail
          Plus sales tax. Plus delivery, etc. But what you'll do is either buy the car outright for $32.5K plus tax and fees less any trade in value, and then some indeterminate time later you'll make a claim on your federal income tax return. The credit is not subject to what you owe in tax - it's subject to the gross liability.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mycommentemail
          aatbloke: Like with the Volt, you can lease the car. The leasing company is eligible for the $7500 rebate and they will take if off the price as the time you take possession. So your attempt to undermine this story does not succeed. Could you leave this story to those who are actually affected by it and understand it please?
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mycommentemail
          Bringing up sales tax, delivery, trade value, protective undercoating, etc... is ridiculous. Those things are ALSO hidden from the MSRP for every other car just the same.
          aatbloke1967
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mycommentemail
          STFU already about the sales tax and other "fees". No sales tax in Washington State on EVs. And if you don't make enough to pay $7500 in taxes, lease it, then the lease company passes the credit onto you in the form of a down payment to lower the capitalized cost. It is amazing the idiots that come out of the woodwork when stories about EVs are posted to Autoblog instead of AutoBlogGreen." In the event of a lease you can indeed get the discount passed onto you claimed by the leasing company. But you're not buying the car, and depending on the deal you reach the agreed terminal residual value can fluctuate enormously - hence the variety of lease offers. And leasing too low can see an enormous spike in monthly payments and interest rates if the car is subsequently purchased after two or three years. So I agree, it is amazing the idiots on here who don't think things through - they're primarily teenagers and mechanics who think they're accountancy, legal and industry professionals.
          aatbloke1967
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mycommentemail
          "And if they do, then they are making a mistake. It is an edge case. Not likely to happen." Why do you think the economy in the US tanked in the first place? It wasn't because of your "not likely to happens". Now, on with life in the real world.
          Turbo Froggy
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mycommentemail
          STFU already about the sales tax and other "fees". No sales tax in Washington State on EVs. And if you don't make enough to pay $7500 in taxes, lease it, then the lease company passes the credit onto you in the form of a down payment to lower the capitalized cost. It is amazing the idiots that come out of the woodwork when stories about EVs are posted to Autoblog instead of AutoBlogGreen.
          aatbloke1967
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mycommentemail
          Rotation, I am well aware that if you lease the vehicle, the leasing company will qualify for $7.5K as a credit against its CT liability on each vehicle leased and they pass that discount onto the customer. But in that situation, you haven't purchased the vehicle.
          aatbloke1967
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mycommentemail
          I know you guys are Americans, and the MSRP is $32.5K. But you're liable for sales tax, regardless of whether it is quoted or not. And it's pointless arriving at a number by taking account a variable tax credit which is received often many months later and not a tax liability which is due there and then and the point of sale.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mycommentemail
          Yes, aatbloke, apparently the spectre of what you see as hidden fees does disqualify you. Stop trying to spike this car with a combination of incorrect arguments and FUD about "misleading articles"
          mycommentemail
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mycommentemail
          "Because the tax points are different and unless you lease an EV, you're financing the gross cost up front." That hardly matters, unless you can invest the extra $7500 somewhere else for a year and earn any respectable amount of money. If you don't have the extra cash to do that, then you are not in the market for this car anyway. Either way, the end result is that the effective cost of this car is $25K for anyone likely to be able to buy it. "The gross tax liability is calculated on taxable income. Tax credits are deducted from the gross liability, but most federal credits - including that for EVs - cannot exceed the about of the gross liability itself." Again, correct :) But anyone who's total tax liability is going to be less than $7500 after all of their standard deductions or mortgage deductions or whatever is simply not going to have the money to buy this car period. And if they do, then they are making a mistake. It is an edge case. Not likely to happen. For nearly everyone who has the finances to buy an EV these days, the tax credit will almost certainly be less than their tax liability and for them, the effective cost of the car will be $25K
      Spiffster
      • 2 Years Ago
      Nice to see more EVs becoming available, and at rapidly declining prices. Between this car and the LEAF, well, we will have to see how its priced when the Smyrna plant is online and if those mentioned rumors pan out. I have my Volt, and my Empulse, so we got our sedan and motorcycle needs covered, just waiting on a decent EV or PHEV SUV / Crossover so my wife will be happy.
        justgoawaymad
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spiffster
        You better hope someone spends a butt load of money on improving our grid or your ev's will sit in the garage.
          mycommentemail
          • 2 Years Ago
          @justgoawaymad
          Why? Care to point out where the grid does not have enough capacity to handle the projected number of EV's over the next five to ten years?
          Turbo Froggy
          • 2 Years Ago
          @justgoawaymad
          Wrong, there is enough power on the grid at night to power http://www.lastgascar.com/the-5-biggest-electric-car-myths/ http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061211221149.htm http://www.ornl.gov/info/press_releases/get_press_release.cfm?releasenumber=mr20080312-02 "In fact a report by the Department of Energy concluded that if all the nations cars and trucks suddenly switched from oil to electrics, the idle capacity of the electric grid could generate most of the energy needed by the electrics. That is assuming a total immediate switchover, while such a transition would take decades in reality. Further studies by Oak Ridge National labs confirm that off peak charging could handle the extra load of plug in electrics with no additional power plants required."
          raktmn
          • 2 Years Ago
          @justgoawaymad
          Why would he care about the grid? He runs a website that includes a calculator for ROI on solar panels with EV's (like he has on his house). AutoBlog ran a story about him just a couple of weeks ago. I don't think the grid is his his biggest concern. He's helping the grid by producing electricity at peak summer heat of the day when AC demand is highest. www.empulsebuyer.com/
          RoyEMunson
          • 2 Years Ago
          @justgoawaymad
          "You better hope someone spends a butt load of money on improving our grid or your ev's will sit in the garage." Nonsense. We charge our Volt and (will) charge my Empulse on standard 120 outlets. Both will charge to full in less than 8 hours pulling about12 amps /ea. Even if we had 3 EVs they wouldnt all be charging all the time. It would take less juice to charge both than running an electric oven.
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