Chevrolet's Sonic EV Will Be An Ultra-Low Volume Compliance Car

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler

Last month, TTAC broke the news that GM was working on an American-made EV based on the Chevrolet Sonic, and that such a car would be a “compliance car”, used to meet certain regulatory mandates. Now, we have more information on the Sonic EV, including an idea of just how low-volume it will be.

John Voelcker of Green Car Reports (and one of the leading authorities on EV technology) is reporting that the Sonic EV will have a total production run of just 1,800 units. This is a shockingly small number, even for limited-run EVs, but the nature of the Sonic EV isn’t intended to be a successor to the Volt, or an extension of this strategy.

Instead, the Sonic EV is a play for regulatory credits by GM, which has calculated that the expense of doing a limited run EV built in the United States is worth it, since the credits they will ostensibly earn can allow them to offset other, more profligate vehicles in their lineup, like full-size pickup trucks and SUVs.

Currently, GM offers the Spark EV as well, but that model is built in South Korea, with American-made battery components. With a range of just 82 miles, the Spark will lag the Sonic’s rumored 200-mile range, though the $30,000 will be a fair bit pricier.

Derek Kreindler
Derek Kreindler

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  • Kyree Kyree on Aug 18, 2014

    $30,000 for 200 miles of range? That's not bad. And the Sonic is actually a livable car in terms of interior volume (though not as much as, say, the Fit or Versa Note).

  • Jpolicke Jpolicke on Aug 18, 2014

    How sad. GM management is saying: "Let's build an electric car, doesn't have to be all that good, just good enough that 1800 EV faithful will take off our hands. As long as it's green the zealots will overlook a multitude of sins. The boys in accounting have it figured that we need to unload precisely 1793.5 of these things to make our CAFE numbers, so we rounded it up to 1800." This gets justified by assuming they'll be money losers, which is a self-fulfilling prophecy when you determine in advance to build a ridiculously small number. Heaven forbid they should set out to build the best EV that normal people could afford and try to be leaders and not followers.

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    • 05lgt 05lgt on Aug 19, 2014

      @George B I don't live in CA, but I see Leafs all over where I live. They don't benefit much from HOV access if at all. They do get to use the charger parking. I'm pretty sure it's cost benefit on the prepaid fuel, especially as a hedge against rising gasoline prices.

  • PentastarPride PentastarPride on Aug 18, 2014

    It's pretty pathetic that manufacturers are essentially forced to mash together a car that few will want or buy to meet the requirements of the ever-so-overreaching Federal government and one of its crown jewels, the EPA. Government doesn't realize that the market will dictate the outcome, as with other things. We don't need the EPA to force car manufacturers to build cars to get specific mileage because of the current fuel prices. People will (and are) naturally gravitating towards the fuel efficient models and manufacturers would still scramble just as quickly--without the mandates, no less--to satisfy the demand. So, are fuel efficiency mandates necessary? I don't see why they would be. It just creates more headaches and cost for everyone involved. Truth be told, the EPA in its entirety isn't necessary, either, among many other agencies.

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    • HotPotato HotPotato on Aug 23, 2014

      @redav Fair point about buildings. But this is already happening, isn't it. Energy Star rated appliances, cheap home weatherizing and insulation programs, LEED standards for buildings, and so on.

  • Jdash1972 Jdash1972 on Aug 19, 2014

    Does everyone realize that the United States sells coal, crude oil and refined products and natural gas to the rest if the world? These are markets, with prices, that drive production. There isn't some patriotic effort to produce all of our energy independently of the test of the world on an effort to fight terrorism. The sale goes to the high bidder.

    • Jetcal1 Jetcal1 on Aug 19, 2014

      Hello JDash, Did the law forbidding the sale of crude get overturned? You're right about the rest. But, there are some supply and demand issues that both economic and political at work here.