By on May 15, 2014

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV Exterior-003

Automotive News reports General Motors will bring production of the Chevrolet Spark EV’s battery pack in-house to its Brownstown Township plant in the Detroit metro area, having already moved the subcompact’s 85-kilowatt electric motors to White Marsh, Md. in 2013. The pack was originally assembled by A123 Systems before Wanxiang Group picked up the torch. No new jobs will be created as a result of the move, spokesman Dave Darovitz stating GM would add jobs “if consumer demand requires it.” The packs for the 2015 Spark EV — whose market will expand to include California and Oregon later this year — will be 86 pounds lighter than the outgoing units, and will have a storage capacity of 19 kilowatts held within 192 lithium ion cells.

Speaking of GM EVs, GoAuto reports the Holden Commodore almost had an EV variant that would have been priced for $10,000 AUD ($9,400 USD) less than the Volt. Only seven pre-production units made it out of the joint venture between Axiflux, EV Engineering, Bosch Australia, Better Place, GE Finance and Air International before Holden announced it would end all local production by 2017. The announcement, along with the collapse and withdrawals among a majority of the project’s partners, led to Axiflux acquiring EV Engineering’s assets. The company plans to focus on industrial applications for the developed technology until the right partner comes along to pick up where the project left off for an automotive joint venture.

The Detroit Press says GM’s board of directors has retained New York-based Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz to give an “independent assessment” of the automaker’s inner workings. An unnamed source familiar with the announcement says the decision “was a good governance practice” aimed to deliver sound advice to GM’s senior management. The firm is the latest third-party to join GM’s cadre of attorneys, including Anton Valukas and Ken Feinberg, as the automaker navigates the legal waters in the wake of the February 2014 ignition switch recall.

Finally, Just-Auto reports GM is planning to expand its Indian operations into a global base of operations for small-car exports to Latin America and beyond. The exports will begin with 2,000 to 2,500 Beats to Chile in October from the automaker’s factory in Talegon, with some 30,000 to 33,000 units to leave annually for Latin America within two years. GM expects Mexico to receive the biggest imports from India, with over 12,000 units shipped annually.

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18 Comments on “GM Moves EV Pack Production In-House, Almost Had A Commodore EV...”

  • avatar

    YEAH – because my entire goal in life is to pay top dollar for a silent, electric econobox with no soul whatsoever, no sex appeal and no excitement.

    These cars should come with a revolver in the glovebox and a single bullet.

    • 0 avatar

      Good lord in heaven ! We agree ! Again ? I guess this must just be a miraculous week . But here … let me add a bit more …

      Yeah …. like this will help either GM or Detroit’s rapid descent into the abyss . Building an overpriced car nobody wants and GM can’t even give away [ Worldwide I might add ] to save their lives in a city all but dead to the world . Once again the BeanCounters at GM coming up with a strategy guaranteed to fail everybody

      BTW BT . Cyanide . That way no chance of collateral damage ;-)

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Wow…gtr. I have my doubts about such a concept for feasibility reasons, but I suppose you didn’t read the part that said “$10,000 AUD ($9,400 USD) less than the Volt”. In reality, something in that price-range and of decent size wouldn’t be a bad idea at all. Second of all, it’s a bygone idea. With Australian manufacturing on its way out, the Commodore’s days are numbered, at least as we know it. So your comment about GM trying to peddle a large RWD electric sedan that no one would want (when, actually, they would want it), is also off. Please read more carefully before you jump onto the “Let’s Bash GM” bandwagon.

    • 0 avatar

      How about just put the airbag fuse in a little holder in the glovebox instead. Installation by the eventual owner is optional, just like cutting tags off mattresses.

      They could also include a simple assembly that will puncture the batteries on a rear impact. It should probably also have a manual override so the driver can do it at will. Go out in a blaze of rapidly-oxidizing lithium.

    • 0 avatar
      Master Baiter

      I sat for five minutes on an on-ramp this morning while the HOV lane on-ramp people flew by. I thought about test driving one of these. Why?

      1. HOV lane access
      2. Free charging at work
      3. Low price with tax rebates
      4. HOV lane access

      It’s not like you can wind out a Hemi in stop and go traffic on a commute anyway. Save the sports car for the weekend.

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe the Spark isn’t the best platform (an EV Sonic would be better), but you’d think otherwise if you live in an area where traffic jams and over $5/g for regular gas is the norm.

  • avatar

    I think this is a smart move by GM, like it or not the future is electric, and improved batteries are the enabling technology.

  • avatar

    as much as i like internal combustion even i’m excited about cars like the Tesla S

    but this EV Commodore… lets have two numbers sink in



    that says it all, expect Tesla like performance but i doubt it would have anything like the range

    we’ll never know

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      Indeed, if Axiflux is the real deal, the performance is frickin scary..

      “Developing 150kW of power and a truck-like 2800Nm of torque (compared with 145kW/400Nm for the current EVE Commodore) the new motor is also claimed to be up to 30 per cent more efficient and 36kg lighter, contributing to increased battery range.”

      The thing is about the size of a differential. Put one of them on each wheel behind a short shaft and have a battery that can supply 300kW (bursting at 600kW ‘nitrous’ mode) divided 4 ways at the discretion of the torque-vectoring power controller, along with 200kW worth of free-piston linear generators with a turbine on the exhaust.

  • avatar

    Isn’t the Spark built in South Korea?

  • avatar

    “The packs for the 2015 Spark EV — whose market will expand to include California and Oregon later this year…”

    Is that a typo? Seems like the Spark EV would currently be restricted to just California and Oregon, and not be available everywhere BUT those two states.

  • avatar

    Well, I’ll tell ya. The monthly fuel cost on my Fit EV is less than $20, thanks to charging at night. It’s no sports car, but has good torque and is comfortable for commuting (80 or 90 miles a day max). With the Tacoma for road trips, it’s a good situation. The Spark will provide a useful alternative.

  • avatar

    Always happy to see my current car talked about, although I’ve got the 2014, and not the 2015 model.

    I live in sunny Los Angeles, and commute about 65 miles/day in my SparkEV. It’s incredibly efficient, especially in the kind of stop-and-go conditions we see around here. I usually get well over 5 miles/kWh, so I get a realistic range of about 100 miles per charge.

    I also installed a 5.5kW solar panel grid on the roof of my house, so unlike the gentleman who has to pay $20/mo, I pay $0/mo to drive to and from work.

    Interestingly, the math actually supports this, since previously I was spending over $300/mo on gas just commuting, and now I’m down to $0. Plus, with the panels also reducing my $250/mo electricity bill (as an SCE ratepayer, I’m less than pleased with the price of their service, $.31/kWh at the highest tier) down to $0, this saves me about $6600/yr. So a payoff period of about 5 years for both the panels and the car. After that, the car pays me to drive it. So if it lasts for only 6.5 years, (15k miles/yr * 6.5 years = 100k miles), and the battery is warranted to last that long, for about 1.5 years, it’ll pay me to drive it.

    Not sure I see the downside to this arrangement.


    • 0 avatar

      I’m assuming that the utility is required to buy the electricity that your panels produce (meter runs backwards), effectively subtracting from your bill – correct?
      Under that assumption, your panels would be supporting the grid during peak demand, and your EV would be charging at night, when rates are lower.
      Oddly enough, this arrangement is under attack by politicians/utilities in several states – they’re trying to suppress this by limiting (or eliminating) the ability to sell “clean power” back to the utility. Some have even advocated making home-based PV systems ILLEGAL.
      Now what entities would stand to lose money by an individual’s production of clean energy to support the electric grid, and would fund politicians/candidates to squash this perfectly sensible energy strategy?

      • 0 avatar

        Yes, you’re totally right- SCE offers “Net Energy Metering,” which I’m currently covered by. You’re also absolutely right that they’re not happy about it. The CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission) regulates this, though, so the latest tea-leaf reading of the political teacup is that legacy customers like me will be grandfathered in for a 20 or 30 year period before the current NEM contract is forced to expire. They’re evidently still working on what “NEM v2.0” will look like post 2017.

        In the meantime, the window to take advantage of this is still open for at least another year or so.

        • 0 avatar

          I don’t know if your neighbors are aware (that, due to the nature of electrical resistance of wires) that most of the power that your PV setup produces is “propping up” your end of the grid, supplying some of the power used by their houses on bright, sunny days. I would assume that the “Natural” Gas interests would view this as a threat to their supplanting coal (and eventually, nuclear) to become the largest source of SCE’s energy supply. I hope that the CA government (i.e. the “people”) can resist this push, and allow solar to become a viable portion of the energy mix where it makes the most sense – in the sunny areas of the country.

    • 0 avatar
      Master Baiter

      How much was the 5.5KkW solar set up?

      • 0 avatar

        The after-subsidies quote is $14k. Before explicit subsidies, it was $22k ($4/W installed and permitted). The subsidies were a small one from SCE, and a federal subsidy of 30% of installation costs, to be applied to this year’s taxes.

        I spoke with several installers before deciding. Unfortunately, there’s a boom right now in installation so costs aren’t as low as I would have liked. On the other hand, it’s done.

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