General Motors said this week that Chevy Spark EV sales will start in Maryland this spring, and that federal and Maryland tax credits will get the out-of-pocket price of the Spark EV below the $18,000 threshold. GM took the opportunity to tout the Spark EV's 119 miles per gallon equivalent rating and says Maryland has sufficient charging infrastructure for drivers to welcome the EV without too much trouble.
Last June, Spark EV distribution was reported to be ready to extend beyond the Pacific Coast. Specifically, Ohio was thought to be next in line to get Spark electric vehicles after four state car dealerships listed the model on their websites. GM's Randy Fox, however, quashed that real quick, saying only California and Oregon had sufficient infrastructure to support the Spark EV.
GM first announced the Spark EV for public (or at least American) consumption back in 2011. Last year, the General sold 1,145 Spark EVs, up 87 percent from 2013. For more on the Maryland expansion, take a look at GM's press release below.
Customer demand drives addition of East Coast; features locally sourced drive unit
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Chevrolet will start selling the Spark EV in Maryland this spring, expanding the pure electric mini-car's "range" to the East Coast.
The Spark EV is the most efficient U.S. retail electric vehicle on the market, delivering an EPA-estimated combined city/highway 119 MPGe fuel economy equivalent and 82 miles of EPA-estimated combined city/highway range.
It is priced as low as $17,845, after federal and Maryland tax credits – and it features a locally sourced electric motor and drive unit, manufactured at General Motors' Baltimore Operations facility in White Marsh, Md.
"The Spark EV has been one of the most well-received electric vehicles in the industry and customer demand helped make the decision to expand its availability to Maryland," said Steve Majoros, Chevrolet director of car marketing. "Following the introduction of the next-generation Volt and Bolt EV concept, this further reinforces Chevrolet's commitment to electrification and delivering more choices where our customers want them."
Chevrolet introduced the 2016 Volt and Bolt EV concept earlier this month at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The second-generation Volt increases its all-electric driving range to 50 miles, with a total range estimated at more than 400 miles, thanks to its range-extending generator motor.
The Bolt EV concept is a vision for an affordable, long-range all-electric vehicle designed to offer more than 200 miles of range starting around $30,000 after tax incentives.
"Maryland has a strong commuter market and a good charging infrastructure, which influenced the decision to make it the Spark EV's first East Coast market," said Majoros. "We also have a strong dealership network in the Old Line State that's eager to offer it."
Chevrolet requires service training certification before a dealer is authorized to sell the Spark EV because of its unique propulsion system.
The Spark EV is also sold in California and Oregon, where sales totaled 1,145 in 2014 – an 86.5-percent increase over the previous year.
Spark EV at a glance
Chevrolet Spark EV is designed to meet the transportation needs of urban dwellers, with an all-electric driving experience. Its GM-built motor and drive unit deliver 327 lb-ft (444 Nm) of instant torque, enabling a 0-60 time of 7.2 seconds.
It is also one of the most maneuverable EVs, with a 12.2-foot overall length and a tight 33.8-foot turning radius – making it ideal for the tight confines of city streets and parking spaces.
Three available levels of recharging capability include the industry's first use of the recently approved SAE combo charger for DC fast charging, which charges 80 percent of the battery in just 20 minutes. Aero refinements, unique wheels and tires and active shutter system on the grille opening help extend the Spark EV's range. Storing that energy from the charging process and the vehicle's regenerative braking capability is a 19-kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
The four-passenger, five-door Spark EV is available in 1LT and 2LT trim levels. Additional highlights:
Standard Chevrolet MyLink Infotainment system provides a seven-inch-diagonal color touch-screen that shows critical vehicle EV functions and connects with the owner's smartphone for infotainment that includes apps for Pandora, Stitcher, TuneIn global internet radio and BringGo full-function navigation (requires smartphone app purchase). For those with compatible iPhones, the system brings the Siri Personal Assistant into the car.
Standard OnStar 4G LTE with available Wi-Fi hotspot (includes three-month/3GB trial period)
Standard remote start/cabin pre-conditioning, heated driver and front passenger seats, push-button start
The front brakes include an electro-hydraulic regenerative brake system that captures braking energy – wasted in a conventional vehicle – and transfers it to the battery system.
GM engineers have driven more than 1 million miles and completed 4 million hours of validation on the battery packs. Comprehensive warranty coverage includes:
Eight-year/100,000-mile drive battery warranty
Five-year/100,000-mile transferrable powertrain warranty that includes emergency roadside assistance and courtesy transportation
Six-year/100,000-mile rust-through warranty.
In 2014, the Chevrolet Spark EV was ranked first in a Car and Driver comparison of the Nissan Leaf, Honda Fit EV, Fiat 500E, Ford Focus Electric and Smart Fortwo ED Cabriolet.
Car and Driver's editors noted the Spark EV was a "studied application of brainpower and enthusiasm" and that "everything about the Spark was all in."
The Spark EV raced ahead of the competitors in the 0-60 mph test, recording the only sub-8-second time, which beat the nearest competitor by more than half a second. The Spark EV was also the least-expensive car in the test.
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 4.8 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature engaging performance, design that makes the heart beat, passive and active safety features and easy-to-use technology, all at a value. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.