Prepare for a low intensity price war over electric vehicles. GM announced that its all-electric Chevrolet Spark, going on sale next month in California and Oregon, will sell for as low as $19,995 after the full federal tax credit of $7,500. According to the calculations of Reuters, that’s “as much as 38 percent less than what it takes to buy its larger sibling, the hybrid Volt.” (Read More…)
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?
If you have a pulse and a willful ignorance of the local speed limit, you’re probably not interested in the Chevrolet Spark. If you’re a media-savvy hipster who’s on Facebook sixteen hours a day, you’re probably not interested in the Spark, either. If you’re a techno-geek or an eco-geek, you’re probably still not interested in the Chevrolet Spark.
If you need something to get you from point Alpha to point Beta and aren’t willing to pay too much, you might be interested in the Spark. But only after all the alternatives have been removed from your short-list as being too sensible. And even then, a lobotomy might be required to help you make up your mind.
That’s a shame, because the Spark isn’t really that bad.
GM’s plan to develop an electric version of its (previous-generation) Chevrolet Spark city car for developing markets had been dependent on a joint development deal with REVA, the Indian firm responsible for such vehicles as the REVAi (known to Brits and Top Gear fans as the G-Whiz). But with the AP [via BusinessWeek] reporting that Mahindra & Mahindra has bought a 55 percent stake in REVA, GM’s deal to use REVA’s technology in its Daewoo-developed hatchback appears to be off. GM had already scaled back its cooperation with REVA, delaying the planned release of the Spark EV and focusing on fleet testing the car. But, says GM India President Karl Slym
Now we’ve stopped the test fleet as well. We were doing it purely as something to learn. Now there’s no real benefit to that. We may as well stay with the GM solutions.
While India is still waiting (and waiting, and waiting) for volume production of their ballyhooed Nano, the cars-for-pygmies segment is in overdrive in neighboring China. It’s hard to keep them apart. When Chery launched the QQ in 2003, taking a bit more than just design cues from the Daewoo Matiz (a.k.a Chevrolet Spark) Car and Driver called the QQ a “carbon copy.” GM called their lawyers. After three years in court, the spat led to nothing, except that Chery can’t sell cars in the US under its own name due to the similarity between “Chery” and “Chevy.” In the meantime, the QQ is a runaway hit in China. Hits attract admirers. There’s a new copy in the house! (Read More…)
The Scion xD is known in Europe as the “Urban Cruiser,” and with an AWD option it’s sold as a quasi-SUV. According to a Euro NCAP crash test of comact cars though, the Urban Cruiser offers a lot less safety than you might expect in an SUV. NCAP’s latest round of compact testing saw vehicles from the new Opel Astra and Chevy Cruze to the Peugeot 308 and Mazda3 recording perfect five-star scores, indicating just how safe compact cars have become. And even the video of the Urban Cruiser’s three-star performance lacks the drama of earlier compact crash tests: a failure of side airbags and a weak performance in the new side pole crash caused the poor score. Most embarrassing of all, the Chevrolet Spark (neé Daewoo Matiz Creative) came in second to last, scoring four stars to the Urban Cruiser’s three.
I have driven a Spark around Michigan and have had some (GM executives) out for Saturday afternoon driving. We’ve cruised Woodward. North America has been an on-and-off thing for (the Spark). At the present time, though, it is very much on. Most of the world’s minicars were not designed for North America. The safety and repairability standards are different for side, rear, front crash and rollovers, as are emission standards and other things. They are difficult to meet if they weren’t planned for in the original engineering build. We can meet the U.S. standards. We can even package the Spark for Big Gulp cupholders
GM’s Jack Keaton [via Wards Auto] on the Chevrolet Spark (neé Daewoo Matiz Creative) and the many modifications needed to ready the 1.0/1.2-liter A-segment hatchback for the US market. Including making the cupholders large enough to hold a soft drink cup that’s nearly double the displacement of the Spark’s engine. The 6′ 4″ Keaton swears the Spark’s front seat is comfortable for him, and that he “didn’t mind” the back seat on a recent 35 mile drive.