It's getting harder and harder to be the first/best/most electric vehicle in the US market. Most range goes to the Tesla Model S. First all-electric of the current generation goes to the Nissan Leaf or the Tesla Roadster, depending on your viewpoint. Best? Well, that's in the eye of the beholder, isn't it?

We do have a new entry for "most efficient," though, which apparently goes to the Chevrolet Spark EV. That's what General Motors announced today, along with an official EPA-estimated range of 82 miles. That's less than the Fiat 500e, which is rated at 87 miles. GM's "most efficient" claim can't come from the way the Chevy commands its 82 miles from a 21-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, despite the fact that the Fiat needs 24-kWh to go an extra five miles. The Honda Fit EV is more efficient here, since is uses a 20-kWH pack to also go 82 miles.

But then there's the combined city/highway (estimated) MPGe number for the all-electric Spark, which is 119. The Fit "only" gets 118, and this is the number upon which GM bases its claim, saying that 119 MPGe measures overall efficiency.

So, first/best/most? Whatever. All these EVs have roughly the same performance stats, so we have to look at other aspects to differentiate them. On that front, the Spark will be the first (ah, sorry) production vehicle with the SAE combo charger port for DC Fast Charging. This will allow the battery to get 80 percent of a full battery charge in about 20 minutes. Again, this is about the same performance as CHAdeMO DC fast charging, which is already available in the Leaf and the Mitsubishi i.
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Chevrolet Spark Most Efficient U.S. Retail Electric Vehicle
Electric range EPA estimated at 82 miles


2013-04-24

NEW YORK – 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 100 kW (130 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.

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 4.5 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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