As General Motors gets ready to release the 2015 Chevy Spark EV, it is retooling the Brownstown Battery Assembly to build a new battery system for the chirpy little electric car. The new Spark will lose a few pounds and kWh from its lithium-ion pack, but it will keep all of it's performance specs.

The current Spark EV uses a 21-kWh lithium-ion battery pack with bits made by A123 Systems (known as B456 Systems during bankruptcy). For the 2015 model, GM is going to build a 19-kWh battery system in-house that will use 192 LG Chem cells. Losing a bit of energy capacity means that the battery system for the 2015 Spark EV will be 86 pounds lighter but it will keep the EPA-rated 82-mile range and 119 MPGe. The 2015 Spark EV also keeps its $26,685 (plus destination) starting price from the 2014 model. The car will once again qualify for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500. LG Chem also supplies the cells for GM's other plug-in vehicles from its facility in Western Michigan. The Brownstown production line currently builds the battery packs for the Chevy Volt, the Opel Ampera and the Cadillac ELR.

You can read our first drive of the 2014 Chevy Spark here.
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Brownstown Battery Assembly Expands Capabilities
Will build battery system for 2015 Chevrolet Spark EV


2014-05-14

DETROIT – General Motors will bring all its electric vehicle battery building capabilities in-house with production of battery systems for the 2015 Chevrolet Spark EV at its battery assembly plant in Brownstown, Mich.

"Using our in-house engineering and manufacturing expertise enabled us to deliver a battery system that is more efficient and lighter than the 2014 Spark EV without sacrificing range," said Larry Nitz, executive director of GM global transmission and electrification engineering. "Our successful working relationship with LG Chem has allowed us to deliver a new battery system for the Spark EV that helps us to better leverage our economies of scale."

A newly designed battery system features an overall storage capacity of 19 kWh and uses 192 lithium ion cells. The cells are produced at LG Chem's plant in Holland, Mich. The battery system weight of 474 lbs. is 86 pounds lighter than the system in the 2014 Spark EV. The Spark EV battery is built on a dedicated production line at Brownstown, which also manufactures complete battery packs for the Chevrolet Volt, Opel Ampera and Cadillac ELR.

Changes in battery design will not affect the Spark's MPGe, or gasoline equivalent, performance compared to the 2014 model. Range will remain at an EPA-rated 82 miles and MPGe will remain at 119.

Priced at $19,995 with full federal incentives, The Spark EV is one of the most efficient – and affordable – all-electric vehicles available. Currently on sale in California and Oregon, the 2015 Spark EV features segment-leading technology including Siri Eyes Free, 4G LTE and DC Fast Charging.

Brownstown Battery Assembly's 479,000-square-foot, landfill-free facility south of Detroit produces the lithium-ion battery packs for GM's extended-range electric vehicles. It started mass production in October 2010 and is the first high-volume manufacturing site in the U.S. operated by a major automaker for automotive lithium-ion battery production. The site was made possible with the help of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding through the U.S. Department of Energy.

About General Motors Co.
General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM, its subsidiaries and joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at http://www.gm.com.


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  • 63 Comments
      zoom_zoom_zoom
      • 7 Months Ago
      Needs more headlight
      SublimeKnight
      • 7 Months Ago
      How can it have the same MPGe and range with less capacity? Aren't two of those variables used to determine the third? Unless they have expanded the allowed SOC on the pack, so that usable capacity is the same.
        brotherkenny4
        • 7 Months Ago
        @SublimeKnight
        The pack has lower energy, and the cells are higher energy than A123s. They lowered mass, and lowered pack energy (fewer cells). result equals same range. MPGe has likely not been tested again.
        DaveMart
        • 7 Months Ago
        @SublimeKnight
        As you say, they must have extended the SOC.
          SublimeKnight
          • 7 Months Ago
          @DaveMart
          @BigNorm All lithium-ion cells hold their charge to negligible loss levels. You can leave a LEAF parked for a month and SOC might drop 1% and that would mostly be due to parasitic losses of it communicating with Nissan via cellular. Also if the lighter pack helped range, it should have increased the MPGe rating.
          BigNorm Jackson
          • 7 Months Ago
          @DaveMart
          Quality of cells matter also... LG battery's might have less capacity but can hold a charge longer and have better performance, plus now being *lighter will help the range also
        SteveG
        • 7 Months Ago
        @SublimeKnight
        Or the chemistry of the pack changed.
        Rotation
        • 7 Months Ago
        @SublimeKnight
        They may have increased the SOC. MPGe doesn't *strictly* relate to pack capacity versus range because MPGe also includes charger efficiency. But given it would require charger efficiency go down to produce this result with the smaller pack, it probably wan't a charger change that did this. Hey GM, how about a 6kW charger please?
      BB79826
      • 7 Months Ago
      I know nothing about EVs, but will this blunt performance at all? Cuz I remember reading a first drive on this car and people said the acceleration was waaaaay faster than they expected, with a 0-60 time 50% lower than the gas Spark.
      jebibudala
      • 7 Months Ago
      I'd buy this if it weren't for those god awful headlights!
      Avinash Machado
      • 7 Months Ago
      Not bad.
      Revis Goodworth
      • 7 Months Ago
      Learn to drive your current vehicle for free - don't exceed 60 mph, pull your head out of your butt and teach yourself you don't have to arrive at a RED light first. Don't accelerate like the green flag has been dropped at Daytona, and coast prudently by watching traffic behind you - and plan your trips and take the most efficient route. And keep your tires at least inflated to the posted pressure and check that weekly and adjust for colder temperatures which cause a decrease in pressure. Clean out your trunk, remove all things you don't need, and go on a diet along with your fat wife and chubby kids.
        Larry Litmanen
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Revis Goodworth
        It would take years to master this, but would work every time if car had some sort of a self launch and brake feature.
        48Chevy
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Revis Goodworth
        But, that means we would have to put down our mobile phones, iced coffees and extra-value meals in order to pay attention to our driving.....How dare you suggest such a thing!?
        brotherkenny4
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Revis Goodworth
        You sick monsters with your common sense are going to ruin the facist nation that we are building. Sickness and fear and ignorance are key attributes to how we will make this a great nation for the few who have the guts to destroy, torture and take from the weak like god intended.
        SteveG
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Revis Goodworth
        Don't exceed 60? So you plan to avoid all freeways or just be a danger to yourself and others. The rest of your comment I agree with. Especially the not racing to red lights. Just let off the gas if you see a red light.
        fairfireman21
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Revis Goodworth
        If you want to drive for free vote Demecrat, quit your job, and have 12 kids, or better yet denounce your citizenship move to Mexico and cross the border illegaly. Then you can not only drive for free but get free housing, food, education, cell phone, and tons of other stuff.
        Spec
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Revis Goodworth
        Those are good tips such that you'll save a few percent . . . but that is not driving your current vehicle for free.
      Eggmania
      • 7 Months Ago
      ive never seen a car with headlights bigger than its wheels. until now
      Neil Blanchard
      • 7 Months Ago
      But, will they sell them everywhere?
      danfred311
      • 7 Months Ago
      19kWh LG chem costs about 3400$ The ICE Spark costs 12k$. Difficult to see why Spark EV should cost 26k$ but what else is new.
        graphikzking
        • 7 Months Ago
        @danfred311
        R&D when it's the 1st model. Also, GM isn't that streamlined like a Tesla or other small automaker so they probably have 1,000 union workers working 4 hours a day and getting 8 hours of pay for this vehicle. I don't fault the workers on this one though. GM doesn't know how to streamline their production.
          theflew
          • 7 Months Ago
          @graphikzking
          Tesla isn't really sreamlined, they just make a single car with few options. Manufacturing is greatly simplified in those cases. When Tesla has several sedan sizes, SUV, coupes, convertibles, etc... then we'll see how streamlined their manufacturing process is. Right now they are basically doing with Ford did with the Model T.
        Spec
        • 7 Months Ago
        @danfred311
        $179/KWH for an automotive grade Li-Ion pack? No . . . you continue to live in some alternate universe.
        Rotation
        • 7 Months Ago
        @danfred311
        Well among other things the drivetrain is built in the US to be sent over to Korea to be installed in a car and shipped back. Low volume vehicles just cost more per unit. You don't get the value from mass production as from larger-production cars.
        postpast
        • 7 Months Ago
        @danfred311
        Pretty simple; The R&D cost of the ICE car will me spread over at least a million vehicles, when you look at cars with shared parts, technology, tooling, and drive-train; likely over ten million vehicles. The cost of the Spark EV R&D will only be spread over a few thousand vehicles. I highly doubt that GM makes more profit off a $26k Spark EV than it does off a $26k Malibu.
        m_2012
        • 7 Months Ago
        @danfred311
        You dont get out much, huh?
      Anonymous Coward
      • 7 Months Ago
      So they had the opportunity to increase the range but didn't want to take it. That is just plain stupid.
        SublimeKnight
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Anonymous Coward
        Its a compliance car. If it has the range it needs to count and costs less to produce, that's all they care about.
          Anonymous Coward
          • 7 Months Ago
          @SublimeKnight
          Maybe GM can pay Chevy dealers to sell this like they are paying Caddy dealers to try to sell the ELR. There is absolutely no reason to buy any short range EV other than the Leaf. Nobody is serious about them.
        fairfireman21
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Anonymous Coward
        Coward, The Leaf and the Sonic are not considered short range EVs. So if the Sonic gets the same range as the Leaf it is not worth buying? OH I SEE you just love Nissan and you hate that there is now a domestic pushing hard against it. So the Leaf is better with it's 107 HP and 187 lbs/ft of torque is better than the Sparks 130 HP and 400 lbs/ft of torque. The Leafs MPG of 106/92 is better than the Sparks 128/109.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 7 Months Ago
      Not bad... fix the brakes though!!
      2 wheeled menace
      • 7 Months Ago
      But... he saw the price on alibaba.com once. ....
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