Eco-friendly car buyers throughout the U.S. are anxiously awaiting the release of Chevy’s
newest subcompact car, the Spark
, which debuts in late-2012. But even before it can debut the gasoline version of its latest micro-car, Chevrolet has already announced that testing has begun on the electric-only variant of the Spark, which is due out in 2013.
Testing of these newest EVs is happening in Torrence, California, as a group of engineers are driving six EV Sparks roughly 62 miles per day. The engineers didn’t get into the technical goodies, such as motor size and output, transmissions, driving range, or any other mechanics, but basically said that the new EV Spark is about 65% through the engineering phase and still has some bugs to work out.
When the Chevy Spark EV finally debuts, it has some stiff competition in the form of the Nissan Leaf
sedan, Ford Focus Electric
, and Mitsubishi i-MiEV
, not to mention the numerous hybrids in the market. Based on the current EV market, we can speculate that the new Spark EV’s electric motor will fall into the 60 to 80 horsepower range and the 125 to 140 pound-feet area. To even be considered an option, the Spark will have
to beat the i-MiEV’s class trailing 62-mile range. Considering the paltry 62 miles per day the engineers are driving these test cars and the existing Volt’s 30-mile battery range, Chevy has some serious catching up to do before its 2013 release.
In order to stay competitive, the Spark EV will likely range in the mid- to high-$20K range, which is where the i-MiEV is positioned. This added EV competition from Chevy can be nothing short of a good thing, as the more EV choices customers have, the lower prices fall and the more likely that EVs will become realistic options for the middle class buyer. We will continue to provide more updates on the Spark EV’s testing process and eventual specifications as they become available.
gallery: 2010 Chevrolet Spark