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Old 03-24-2012, 09:35 PM   #1
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Post Chevy Readies the EV Spark


Chevy Readies the EV Spark

Of course the Spark would one day go electric. Chevy's munchin-sized new gas-powered car doesn't hit dealers until later this year, but the automaker is already preparing an electrified version. The EV car will go on sale sometime in 2013. At this point, Chevy hasn't released any specs like the range, the recharge time, or even the price. Today, we simply got a chance to talk to the engineers who are currently testing the car in Torrance, California.

These so-called development drives are standard practice in the industry. Once a few prototypes are built, the manufacturers leave the secluded test tracks for the real world to ensure that the program is on track. The EV Sparks on the road are called "65 percent" vehicles according to Trista Schieffler, the Lead Development Engineer. That essentially means the six Spark prototypes are about two-thirds of the way along the engineering path.

Schiefflet said they hope to cover 1500 total miles with the six cars over a period of four days. That's an average of just 62.5 miles per car, per day, a pittance compared to what gas-powered prototypes will travel in similar tests. But of course EVs require rather longish car charging times. So what do they do while they wait around for the batteries to get replenished?

"We use that time to test out the other systems," Schieffler says, "Like how the driver will interface with the infotainment system and the amount of strorage in the cockpit, those kinds of things."

So how's it going? "It's not issue free," says Schieffler. But of course, that's the point: Highlight the problems now rather than face a barrage of angry customers—or worse—later.

By the time the Spark is available, customers will have a wide range of EVs. There's the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-Miev already available, Coda recently began selling its EV and soon, we'll have the electric Focus. Yeah, we know, Chevy's Volt is already out, but that car has a supplementary gas engine so it doesn't count.

Regardless, comeptition should drive innovation and lower prices. We can surmise that the Spark EV will cost somewhere in the high 20s, or about double the gas car. Tax cedits, and state incentives should mean customers will pay in the low 20s.


Read more: Chevy Readies the EV Spark - Popular Mechanics
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Old 09-27-2012, 06:41 PM   #2
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This aticle is six months old. Any fresh news about the Spark EV?
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