By on October 12, 2011

GM confirms

Chevrolet today announced it will produce an all-electric version of the Chevrolet Spark mini-car – the Spark EV. It will be sold in limited quantities in select U.S. and global markets starting in 2013, including California.

A123 Systems will supply the advanced nanophosphate lithium-ion battery packs that will power the Spark EV. Details on specific markets, range, quantities and pricing will be announced later.

Well, I was wrong about the battery supplier. Otherwise, we should have seen this coming. The only question now is this: how does GM overcome its own “range anxiety” fearmongering? And by doing so, will it hurt the Volt’s marketing?

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22 Comments on “GM Announces Spark EV...”

  • avatar

    the marketing is so bad there will be no damage, just another product floundering in the marketplace. customers today buy GM cars based upon their relationship with a salesperson, proximity to dealer location, and giveaway price promotions. the styling advantage isn’t there, neither is warranty or fuel economy, nor reliability. their own employees and retirees have long lost loyalty to the company. times are tough and so is the competition, the management of GM is not capable of competing long term. sad to write these words but they are the truth as I see it.

    • 0 avatar

      You honestly think no GM car has anything going for it other than a salesperson or price? I’m guessing you love the new Hyundais? Someone needs to stop reading the drivel that’s passed for auto journalism online and actually look at the products out there.

      As to the story, no I don’t think the Spark EV will hurt the Volt ad campaign. For one, the Volt ad campaign is woefully bad. Those new commercials will do nothing to clear up the product to anyone who is confused about it. Second, they are only available in a few markets and they can advertise it as a city run-about, not a full on car for all uses.

      • 0 avatar

        I mentioned the main purchase motivations as I see them today. GM has good products but it’s the lack of any marketing talent that has been killing this company for decades, along with the pompous, arrogant attitudes of executives like John Smith. I haven’t yet figured out wht the guy was given so much power. he lied about Cadillac outselling Lincoln and was busted. he lost market share every year running VSSM. even Rattner trashed the guy in “Overhaul”. it’s been the corruption and ineptitude in the salaried upper levels that have caused the problems at GM. and the fools have the nerve to blame employees and everything else under the sun.

        then you get excited and have hope when a new guy like Reuss comes in, only to discover he’s as bad as the rest of them. he sold out for the position and has failed. there is no leadership at General Motors, sorry.

      • 0 avatar

        Well that’s fine if you’re talking about your reasons to purchase, and I agree about the management. In regards to styling, economy, and reliability, there are several GM’s i’d like if I were looking at certain vehicle segments.

  • avatar

    GM has a significant stake in A123Systems, much more so than they do for LG.

    A123 is kind of a big deal; they’re the supplier for Black & Decker, for example. If you see a hybrid electric bus, odds are they supplied the battery. Oh, and they powered KillaCycle.

  • avatar

    Great, now maybe GM will stop marketing the Volt as an electric car and instead market it as a plug in hybrid, since that’s what it really is.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    It all depends on GM’s true intentions for the EV Spark. (Same goes for the Volt too.)

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    “Spark” is a funny name for an electric car. A spark as a short life. It can be emitted from a wood fire. It sounds a lot like the word “spork” which makes people laugh. I don’t think I’d buy any thing called “spark.”

    But then again, this car is not marketed towards people like me. It’s for people who don’t like cars. Or motorcycles. Or don’t understand that you’d need an acre of solar panels on the other side of the planet so you could charge it up at night.

  • avatar

    I’m not sure what fear mongering you’re referring to. I admit I haven’t seen any Volt ads, but the article you link to merely speculates that GM might engage in fear mongering. Presumably the EV Spark will be significantly cheaper than the Volt, so I don’t see a problem offering both. The real question is whether there’s a big enough market for EVs to support the Leaf, the Spark, and other EVs coming down the pike. I don’t think that pie is big enough to get sliced up among 5 or 6 players.

    • 0 avatar

      The fear mongering comment was referencing GM’s take on the Leaf versus the Volt. There were several quotes by GM and probably Lutz (I don’t recall the specifics) about 100% electric vehicles being inferior due to the range anxiety aspects and that some sort of backup system would be necessary in order to have a worthwhile product for consumers.

    • 0 avatar

      You need to see more of the Volt ads. Like the one that talks about “What if your plans change or you need to make an unexpected detour? You need an electric car that go farther than just an electric car etc.”

    • 0 avatar

      “I’m not sure if I’d put the (Nissan) Leaf in the hands of my three kids. Say, what if they can’t charge it? What if they get to school and can’t charge it? The Leaf is a single-purpose car.”

      Mark Reuss, GM President North America (May 2011)

      • 0 avatar

        Toyota did something similar a few years ago. They critisized the Volt saying that lithium ion wasn’t ready for automotive applications. Then, less than a year later, unveiled plans for a plugin Prius with a lithium ion battery.

        Seeing his comment about the Leaf doesn’t mean that offering a Beat EV would change his mind. He probably wouldn’t put his kids in that one either.

        But your article actually implies range anxiety in marketing, not a quote from an executive, which most people don’t hear or read about.

        I remember one Volt ad where they tout the Volt giving freedom, but not necessarily range anxiety. Do you have an example of GM marketing that does?

      • 0 avatar

        Point taken, but I can’t get too worked up over a comment from a GM exec suggesting the competition’s product is inferior to his. That said, I’d love to hear somebody ask Mr Reuss if he’d let his kids drive a Spark EV….or is that a Sparky V?

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Why bother with another ev that won’t sell, until someone can come up with a range of over 100 miles, these cars won’t take off while gas remains under $5.00 per gallon

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    I think it makes perfect sense for GM to offer a pure EV. Why not? They arleady have a wealth of information on building an electric car that they aquired while developing the Volt. This one just won’t have a range extender. Too bad the Spark doesn’t look as nice as the Volt.

  • avatar

    “How does GM overcome range anxiety…”

    Don’t they promote OnStar as some kind of InstaNanny that will make better any automotive bad situation?

    Battery runs down, just press the OnStar button.

  • avatar

    Remember how Apple switched from PPC to x86? One day PPC was superior, the next day Apple faithful welcomed Intel. Did not even blink. People’s capacity to forget discarded marketing messages overnight is not to be underestimated.

    Actually, we have an example closer to home. Remember when Volt was supposed to be a range-extended EV, but turned out to be a hybrid, a more expensive Prius? Did one consumer care?

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      @Pete Zaitcev- Volt IS an EREV. It is fully capable of operating for its entire life as a pure electric. The engine could be completely removed from the vehicle.

      Simply because it is capable of operating as a hybrid, in you notion, does not mean it is only a hybrid.

      It is an electric car with onboard range extending capability.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    “Remember when Volt was supposed to be a range-extended EV, but turned out to be a hybrid, a more expensive Prius? Did one consumer care?”

    If you really believe this then you can’t possibly have a clue as to how the Volt works. Real world is that Volt owners have put 2000 miles plus on their cars and still have the fuel the dealer put in the tank. Let me see you do that with a Prius.

  • avatar

    fwiw I’d take the rear rims all the way around if I had the choice between the two assuming equal weight/cost.

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