By on April 2, 2015

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There comes a moment when it’s time to try something new. Like switching to an iPhone after using a Nexus and promptly learning that the iPhone can bend. Or wearing a mechanical watch rather than a quartz watch, only for it to stop ticking after it was on a nightstand for the weekend. Moving to a house from an apartment and dealing with the perils of home ownership, such as property taxes, having to clean gutters, and the inability to have the building manager fix the broken kitchen faucet. My trying something new involved testing an electric vehicle for a week.

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After all, I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, home to Tesla Motors and ZAP (the hard-core TTAC B&B should know them; there’s even a road test on here of their cars from way back when), and home to dinner parties with prolonged debates about whether electric car ownership is worthwhile. “What if you’re coming home from work and you forgot your phone? You’ll run out of charge retrieving the phone and then there’s no way of getting home.” an attendee might say, while his counterpart might reply, “Well, I’ve saved hundreds of dollars on gas and I haven’t had to visit a gas station. And are these chips and dip vegan?” Since I get asked the electric car question a lot as the “car guy” among my friends, I decided once and for all to test an electric car.

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To live out my electric car experience, Chevrolet had a Spark EV available in the Northern California press fleet, which was delivered to me with 301 miles on the odometer. 55 of those miles involved delivering the car to my driveway from the press car place. So I was effectively testing a brand-new car. Additionally, it should be noted at this point of the review that most of the country cannot buy the Spark EV. It’s only sold in California and Oregon, where the metropolitan areas tend to have a more developed electric vehicle infrastructure. As a result, this review applies to less than fifteen percent of the population, so those of you not within a 10-hour drive of San Francisco don’t have to care as much.

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The first thing I did when I got the Spark was test the performance of the car using the 22 miles of range it arrived with. Its performance was surprisingly good thanks to the torque from the electric motor. It could go from 0-60 miles per hour in around seven seconds, which is on par with most six-cylinder midsize sedans. Chevrolet also got the suspension tuning very right, making the Spark quite fun to drive at low speeds. There’s even a “Sport” button which sharpens up throttle response. With this car, it’s actually possible to create an autocross course around your housing development, and have actual fun doing it, without waking up the neighbors. Just make sure there isn’t too much tire squeal.

Secondly, since spirited driving tends to use up much of the battery, I needed to ensure I could charge it at home. Now, to make electric car ownership worthwhile, it helps to have a 240V outlet in your home to ensure your electric vehicle charges faster. Usually, an electric car can go from empty to fully-charged in one night (usually within 8 hours) with the 240V setup. Thankfully I had the means to “improvise” a home charging facility for the Spark with the 120V outlet that came with the Spark. However, most homes have 120V outlets, which is what my house had. With a 120V setup, it usually takes about 12 to 18 hours to go from empty to a full charge.

Regarding styling, the Spark EV more or less looks like any other Chevy Spark on the road. For me, that’s not necessarily a good thing, as many people will believe your car is a lot cheaper than it actually is. Most people will also believe that you’ll be driving a rental car. I had the fortune to have a Jaguar XF Sport in the driveway before I got the Spark EV, and most of my neighbors did a double take when passing by and noticing the red Spark in place of the XF. Personally, I don’t think homeowners’ associations will tolerate a Spark EV in the driveway.

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Inside, the Spark is airy and has plenty of visibility. It is a narrow car though, with the potential to rub shoulders with your front passenger and the rear seat only accommodating two people, but there is plenty of headroom. The trunk only has enough space for two airplane carry-ons. My test car had the “leatherette” (I consider it vinyl) seats that I didn’t like, largely because of how the material felt and I didn’t like sitting in them after the car had been out in the sun. Personally, I’d try to get cloth seats, but that involves “downgrading” to the 1LT trim level for around $400 less, though the steering wheel won’t be leather-wrapped.

On the highway, the Spark had no trouble keeping up with other cars or getting up to speed quickly. However, you will definitely hear the road noise at speeds above 45 mph. If you’re driving on the highway in periods of low traffic with speeds of 65 to 70 miles per hour, you will hate being in the car. I tried to turn up the stereo to compensate for all that road noise, but it didn’t help things and added to the noise pollution. As a result, the Spark EV is a car you’ll prefer in traffic jams and off-highway environments.

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I have to admit I didn’t use OnStar with the car (the OnStar Turn-by-Turn navigation is free for 3 years), so I don’t know if it’s a viable alternative to an actual navigation system. To get navigation maps projected onto the dashboard screen, Chevrolet MyLink can connect to your smartphone and garner the necessary information using the BringGo app. Downloading and installing the app on my smartphone would have been $50 so I didn’t try it out.

As for the money saved on fuel costs by buying the Spark, the car’s Monroney sticker states that it’s possible to save $8,500 in fuel costs over 5 years compared to the average new vehicle which gets 24 mpg and costs $11,000 to fuel over five years. The $8,500 figure comes from driving 15,000 miles per year at 12 cents per kilowatt-hour. On the other hand, when researching potential cost savings on FuelEconomy.gov, the website gives me an estimate of $5,250 saved over five years, but that’s based on “45% highway, 55% city driving, 15,000 annual miles and current fuel prices.” I’m assuming the Monroney value estimates the price of gas becoming higher with time while the FuelEconomy.gov number tends to fluctuate. But only you can estimate how much money you can save based on your driving habits and knowledge of local charging stations.

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When I had to ensure the Spark had a full battery, I fully charged the Spark EV at my house twice during the week I had it, and the electric bill only went up $10 compared to the same period last year. I’m not quite sure if the Spark contributed the extra money to the electric bill, but I did charge it during peak usage hours once, which may have contributed to the total. Also, many of my local hangouts had charging stations where I could park and charge the car for free for a limit of 2 or 3 hours. As a result, I largely didn’t have to pay for the car’s electricity when running errands. (On a side note, the Plugshare app came in handy when finding charging stations.)

Also, my test car had the “fast provisions” charging capability option, it enables the Spark EV to recharge 80 percent of the battery within 20 minutes utilizing the SAE Combo DC fast charging stations. Unfortunately, there were no SAE Combo DC fast chargers near me to sample. Nevertheless, having one of these nearby will help tremendously with range anxiety, especially if your daily commute is more than 60 miles round-trip.

The MSRP of my test car was $28,785 (before the $7,500 tax credit), with the sole option being the $750 “fast provisions” charging capability and an $825 destination charge. It also includes two years of maintenance. At that price point, Nissan has the Leaf which starts at $29,860 including destination, Ford has the Focus EV at $29,995 with destination, and FIAT’s 500e at $31,800. With the $7,500 federal tax credit and a California tax credit of $2,500, the Spark EV can easily come in below $20,000. (Unfortunately, Oregon doesn’t offer an electric vehicle tax credit.) Furthermore, the Spark EV’s lease rates are reasonable and close to the lease rates of the aforementioned electric vehicles, though their advertised leases are for 36,000 miles. On Chevrolet’s website, the current offer is $176 a month (plus taxes and fees) with $0 due at signing for a 3 year, 30,000 mile lease.

All in all, if you’re among the fifteen percent of the American population considering the Spark EV, I would advise buying it as strictly a commuting and errands car. It would make the perfect second or third vehicle if fuel costs are getting out of hand, you drive around 50 miles every day, and you would like to minimize trips to the gas station. With its $176 per month lease deal with $0 due at signing, the Spark EV is worth thinking about if considering a Leaf, the lease rate of which doesn’t come close. Even if you plan to buy an electric car, the Spark is a good candidate as the net price can go below $20,000 with the federal and California tax rebates.

And if you don’t live in California and Oregon and you’re still considering the Spark, come to nice and sunny California and make a vacation out of test driving the Spark EV. Though be wary of any dinner party invites you come across if you tell people your reason for visiting California. The menu has a good chance of being completely vegan.

Satish Kondapavulur is a writer for Clunkerture, where about a fifth of the articles are about old cars and where his one-time LeMons racing dreams came to an end once he realized it was impossible to run a Ferrari Mondial. He also learned that it’s surprisingly easy to sneak up behind people in an electric car, especially cyclists. 

 

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57 Comments on “Capsule Review: Chevrolet Spark EV...”


  • avatar
    Hummer

    “promptly learning that the iPhone can bend.”

    Count me in this group.

  • avatar

    #1 Don’t sit on iPhone6+

    #2 iPhone 6c is coming this year so now the phone won’t bend, it will *pop* out of its shell after it cracks.

    #3 Stop making these stupid small cars and build a MALIBU EV.

  • avatar
    ReSa

    Love your ‘what’s under the trunk-floor’ shots :)

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The Spark EV might be cheaper, but I think the Leaf would provide a better ownership experience since you get a lot more car for the money. The Leaf is much roomier, quieter, and better-equipped. When driving mine at 70 mph, you can still hold a conversation at normal volume.

    I don’t know the capacity of the Spark EV’s battery, but my Leaf’s can be filled from empty to 100% in about 6-7 hours at 240V. But with a normal day’s driving, it fills to 80% in about 2-3 hours.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      I have the 6.6kW charger on my Leaf, so the charges are even faster.

      At work, I usually charge with my portable level 1/level 2 charger plugged into a NEMA 14-50 socket. If the author had a portable charger like this, he would have been able to charge at level 2 from a 240 volt dryer outlet with the appropriate NEMA 14-50 to dryer outlet adapter.

      I’m also curious about how many miles per kWh the Spark gets. Also, does it have the ability to lock the charge cord once it’s plugged in and auto-release it once charged? That keeps someone from unplugging your car 10 minutes into the charge. Leafs have that feature, but Volts lack it. Not a big problem with a PHEV, but it could be an issue with a full EV. I had a Volt owner attempt to unplug my car before it was charged to charge their Volt. They left me a note complaining about the fact my car locked the plug preventing it. I laughed. Since then, that’s become an important feature for me. It also prevents someone from stealing your charger – or your car (unless they want to cut through a 240v 50 amp cable).

      EVs seemed to be mostly reviewed by ICEV owners, so they don’t have enough EV experience to do a thorough review. It’s good to get the perspective of a non-EV owner, but as an EV owner, sometimes I’d like more info.

      • 0 avatar
        j_slez

        Over nearly 10,000 miles my Spark EV is reporting an average of 5.2 miles/KWh. On the forums I’m seeing 4.5-5.5, depending on driving style, topography and speed. I’m assuming this is measured as the power leaves the battery for the motor. If you measured power from the wall it would be ~20% less, which still makes it one of the most efficient EVs on the market, which is impressive given the power it has available.

        The Spark EV has no way to lock the cord to the car while charging. By default, it sounds the horn like you hit the panic button if you unplug it while the car is locked.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          >> I’m seeing 4.5-5.5

          That’s good! Once the weather warms up, I think I might be in the 4.5 – 5.0 range. I’ve been getting better at taking advantage of the “B” mode aggressive regen in the Leaf over the winter, so I can’t wait to see what I can do with it in warmer weather.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      There are a lot of LEAFS running around here that are using a 120 volt charger. That works if you’re driving less than about 40 miles per day.

      The level 1 charging station that comes with most plug in vehicles will add about four miles of range per hour of charging. The most common size of level 2 charging station, which plugs into a 240 volt 30 amp circuit will add about 16 miles per hour, provided that your car is capable of accepting that much charge. Early model LEAFS and most plug in hybrids will not accept that much current and will typically add around 12 miles per hour when plugged into such a charging station. There are higher amperage charging stations available, if you need to charge quickly and have a car that will accept that much current.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        My portable L2 is a 15-kW capable unit plugged into a 50 amp line, so it’s capable of charging the Leaf at the maximum rate. I’m pretty sure my Leaf is charging at well over a 20 mph rate – and theoretically it should charge at 27.72 mph. For my 100 mile round trip which is mostly 55 mph, I manage to get over a 4 kWh/mile consumption rate. Typically, I’ll use around 12 kWh for the 50 miles – according to the car about 4.2 miles per kWh. So, 4.2 x 6.6 is 27.72 miles per hour charging. At a certain point, even with level 2, that rate slows down once you near 100%, so actual rate is hard to calculate. One of these days, I’ll figure out at what point the charge rate drops.

        As far as 120v charging goes, my unit is capable of taking advantage of 20 amp circuits. I’ve successfully pushed it up to a 2.2kw rate or 18 amps a couple of times.

    • 0 avatar

      Unfortunately, I somehow haven’t driven the Leaf so I didn’t directly compare the two. But the Spark EV is seriously cheap for an electric car with similar range to all the other electric cars.

      Also, even the Spark’s battery can charge as quickly as the Leaf’s with the 240V connection from experience with parking lot chargers and how much more quickly they charged up the Spark.

    • 0 avatar
      james2k

      I recently drove the Spark EV and the Leaf back to back and while the Leaf may be more practical, the Spark EV is dramatically more fun to drive. The amount of torque in the Spark is really surprising. If an EV is your only car, then get the Leaf. If you’re getting one as a second car for local errands or a short commute then you’ll have a lot more fun in the Spark.

  • avatar
    jfbramfeld

    Range?

  • avatar
    TrenchFoot

    I test drove one of these a year ago and I can tell you it’s quick. Very quick. That torque pulls hard at any speed. Stomp the pedal and you’ll have to slow down at the end of highway onramps before merging. I ended up with a Focus EV because I don’t live in CA or OR. It’s fun, but nothing like that Spark EV.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      I have read this pretty consistently. That is an absolutely barrel of monkeys to drive due all of that sweet electric motor torque, size, and tweaks to the suspension.

      It’s still a Spark – so it’s an A-segment penalty box – albeit the biggest A-segment penalty box you can buy.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Those eFoci seem to be hard to find. When Ford was desperately throwing money at buyers to take them, I probably would have, but I couldn’t find one in my half of the country.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Re: the highway noise level – look on the bright side, you will only ever be on the highway for about an hour at a time with this cars range. Making lemonade out of lemons…

    Electric cars make absolutely perfect sense as solo commuter pods, the smaller and cheaper the better. An electric Smart would be the perfect commuter pod for me (if I had a commute), and the electric drive solves the single biggest issue with the Smart, the horrid transmission. Even cheaper than this is, and available nationwide.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    The car as a whole isn’t exactly great-looking, but my God, the headlights! It looks like some madman attacked a normal car with a katana and sliced huge gouges, and the gaping maws are bulging out electrical intestines. It almost makes me ill, like I’m looking at some horrible accident.

    I’m not sure that’s what they were going for.

  • avatar

    Now I’m just curious…would you need to prove that you were a California or Oregon resident in order to buy this, or could you travel to California or Oregon to buy it and have it shipped to your home state?

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I’ve wondered this about other EVs, like the Soul EV or 500e. It’s not worth the trouble, though, because you couldn’t get it serviced, and resale would be questionable at best.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        And the $500-1000 it’d cost to ship it (depending on where) would, you know, *pay for a lot of fuel* in a normal car.

        A hybrid is much more sensible for pretty much anyone, in that context.

        (Especially considering how little you have to drive for the EV range limitation to be tolerable here…

        If you’re using 3/4 of the range every day on your commute, that’s still only 11,250 miles a year [assuming 50 weeks of commuting].

        It will take the lifespan of the universe for that to be compelling vs. a Prius C that’s also nicer in every way …)

    • 0 avatar

      It’s definitely possible, but a Chevrolet dealer in South Dakota might have trouble servicing it.

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      With an 18 hour charge every 82 miles you could cross the country faster in a covered wagon.

    • 0 avatar
      j_slez

      There have been a few bought outside CA/OR. I’ve heard of no issues getting it serviced. Most of the car is common with either the gas Spark or the Volt, so any Chevy dealer than can service a Volt can handle this car. The biggest problem I’ve heard is finding the odd-size tires.

  • avatar
    alexndr333

    My 2013 Spark EV has proven to be a solid, reliable and even fun car, though completely weird in appearance. I wouldn’t recommend it for long commuting – anything more than a 40-mile round trip on city street would argue for some other vehicle. However, for getting around locally, it’s perfect. Living in the desert, I can see how the maximum available mileage varies with the change in temperature, but never less than 78 miles. Meanwhile, the GM air conditioning is unfailing, the sound system is decent enough and the interior space is, as noted, deceptively ample. A good first effort at a pure, mainstream electric. Will the new, more normal-looking 2016 Spark be available as an EV? I fear that it will go by the wayside for the new Bolt. Too bad if it does – this generation is a fine city car.

    • 0 avatar
      natebrau

      I also have one of the early SparkEVs sold here in L.A.

      I’m happy to see a review of the car, but disagree with a lot of the reviewer’s points. As a commuter car (why yes, I do drive between 55-65 miles/day- commuting to Santa Monica over the recently-finished I-405 carpool lane with my HOV access stickers…), it’s been fantastic. No problems at all. Charge it every night at home- for the first year, I used the included L1 charger, then gave in and installed a 240V L2 charger. Had the car for a bit under 2 years now.

      One thing left off in the cost comparison. I just put up a 5.5KW solar panel array on the roof of the house. I am a “Net Energy Metering” customer (complete with SCE operator tags), so the solar panels dump electricity in during the day, I charge the car at night, after midnight at a discount rate. Last month’s electricity bill? About $3. So the cost to operate has my gas bill down to $0, and the electricity bill close to it. So for me, the only calculation is, when do these savings pay for the whole system, solar panels and car? My projections have it in about 6 years. The car is good for at least 8 (the battery has a 8yr/100k mile warranty), so there will be at least 2 years where the car is paying me to drive it. The solar panels are rated for 25 year’s operation, but I’ve been warned the inverters will most likely need replacement before then.

      • 0 avatar
        j_slez

        Me too. I got about #300 in the fall of 2013. I also just installed solar.

        A GM rep recently stated that the EV will remain on the 2015 style (no 2016 refresh) for the remainder of its run. He didn’t say exactly how long that run would be, but presumably it will die when the Bolt (or whatever they finally call it) arrives. I’d been hoping for a 2-car Chevy EV lineup, Spark EV with its 80-90 mile range at $25k or so and 200-mile Bolt at $37-40k, but that seems highly unlikely.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    “However, you will definitely hear the road noise at speeds above 45 mph. If you’re driving on the highway in periods of low traffic with speeds of 65 to 70 miles per hour, you will hate being in the car.”

    I never have understood why making a quiet car is such a challenge in this day and age for automakers and why you have to go to a luxury nameplate to get this feature.

    It seems so simple, sound deadening is cheap and despite what the internet tells you, not that heavy. With modern acoustic modeling, an engineer can also easily find where most of road noise is coming from and be strategic.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      The Leaf is very quiet at these speeds. Either the reviewer is unaccustomed to hearing only road noise vs engine noise + road noise, or GM didn’t do a good job on the design.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        I’m guessing that the tires are special low rolling resistance and they make a bit more noise than most tires. I think most people subconsciously filter out the drone of a gasoline engine, so when the background noise of that is missing then it can seem like the tire and wind noise is greater.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Love the EV part, hate the Spark part. That interior is channeling ’90s GM, just with piano black rather than acres of gray chiclet buttons.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    For the same money, I’m almost certain the LEAF is a better car. This seems like a compliance exercise only, and not a good option. Even considering the other options, $30k seems like too much money for an EV. Maybe I’m just thinking about it too negatively. I’m not very vegan.

    • 0 avatar
      jacob_coulter

      I agree, this car screams “compliance” model which is bad news for car companies like Tesla that basically have a business model built around selling mileage credits to other car companies. I see all the car companies doing this in the near future.

      $30k is an absurdity for this vehicle, and I’m deeply skeptical about the $8,500 over 5 years in costs savings if you got the same car with a gasoline engine. I would easily wager it’s less than half that for most drivers.

      I also don’t think it’s fair to use free charging stations for the EV and not take those costs into account. If you truly drove the average 10k-12k miles a year in this car and had to pay for all the electricity used out of pocket, I think you would see a much higher bill than only $10 a month added to your electric bill. My pool pump used more than that in electricity per month.

    • 0 avatar
      natebrau

      Re: Leaf vs. SparkEV
      I looked at both (along with the Fiat 500e) before choosing the SparkEV. As near as I could tell, the pros/cons fell along the lines of:

      SparkEV / Leaf
      Better (actively cooled) battery pack / Passively cooled battery pack
      Similar range despite much smaller battery, rated 82 miles / Similar range in spite of bigger battery (20KWh vs 24KWh), rated 84 miles
      More efficient, rated at 109mpge highway / Less efficient, rated at 101mpge highway
      More powerful motor (400lbft torque) / less powerful motor
      Worse charging options (3.3kw onboard) / better charging options (3.3kw onboard default, 6.6kw option available)

      Interestingly, the preschool my youngest child goes to has a surprisingly large number of EVs, besides my SparkEV, there’s two Leafs, and a Focus EV. When we talk about the cars, it turns out we’re all looking for different things, and have different uses. But we all put small children in the backseat.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    Its really not the “same” money as a Leaf, so that has to be considered. At $176/mo with nothing out of pocket, that is giveaway cheap. A Leaf is around $100/mo more with the same $0 down deal. Still cheap, but not really any cheaper than a regular gas car. My Civic lease is $230/mo, and I spend around $75/mo. But I have no range anxiety, I can take long road trips with it if I want, etc.

    I would consider the Spark to be a really basic transportation appliance to supplement a real car, like a nice golf cart with AC. If your commute is within range, in traffic or surface streets, it would be a cheap way to avoid putting miles and paying gas on a less efficient car, like a classic, truck or muscle car. At 19mpg if I commuted in my Mustang GT I would be spending $150/mo in gas alone, so the Spark would almost be free. Guys with big 4×4 trucks could technically get paid to drive this thing instead!

    And I would never buy an EV of any kind, leases makes the most sense. You are already range limited in miles, its nearly impossible to drive more than 15k/yr unless you live and drive a lot in a place with lots of charge stations. And the tech changes so often you are going to want a new one every 2-3 yrs anyway.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I’d love to see a pic of that gauge cluster online – I bet it’s much nicer than the ATS.

    Oh deadweight…

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Free charge stations aside, I don’t see the point. And free charging stations won’t always be free. Assuming a gasoline Spark gets 33mpg, $10 worth of fuel gets you 100 miles. From this article, I don’t see where actually *paying* for all the electricity used works out to <$0.10/mile.

    I just can't wrap my brain around why an EV is a good thing.

    • 0 avatar
      silverw126

      There are several factors to consider before owning an EV (or PHEV).

      You will want to know your average miles for commuting–and other uses for the car (errands, long trips, etc).

      You will definitely want to know your utility rates, and find out if the utility has rates for EVs.

      I live in San Jose, so I have PG&E. I have subscribed to the “EV rate” for the past 4 years (E9a, followed by EV-A this year).

      I had a ’11 Nissan LEAF until Jan 2014, then bought a ’14 Volt last year.

      We traveled ~1600 miles a month on our LEAF. Our PG&E bill only went up $49 to $55/month (depending if we went from Tier 3 to Tier 4). Still, $55 for 1600 miles a month isn’t bad at all.

      Now, if you stayed with the standard E1 rate (versus the EV rate from PG&E), the rates can get high very quickly. Also, if you charge at Peak Hours versus off peak (night and weekends), the rates will go crazy too. Our Volt takes 3.5 hours to charge on 240V overnight.

      Our ’14 Volt costs about the same per month, but we’re traveling 1300-1400 miles a month. Our utility is still charging us nearly the same ~45/month (but remember the Volt has a thermal cooling system, versus the Leaf didn’t). Haven’t bought gas since Thanksgiving.

      What’s great about the LEAF is that during the 44.5K miles we put on it in 2.5 years, there was so little maintenance. I replaced the cabin filters and wiper blades myself. It only saw the dealer twice (once each year for a battery status download–each for free). Aside from tire rotations, nothing else needed to be done.

      On the Volt, again, very little maintenance. Oil changes every 2 years. Aside from tire rotations, cabin filters, and wiper blades, nothing else until 97K (coolant). I’m at 22K miles in 14 months. I probably won’t need an oil change until 38K.

      The track record of the Volt has been great–very little issues reported over the years. 10 million lines of code, 4 loop cooling system, and a battery that doesn’t go below 20% or above 80%. 10 year/150K warranty on the entire Voltec system and battery. GM worked hard to get the Volt right–and I love it. Onstar already has found a Volt owner with over 200K miles with several following closely behind.

      In CA, there’s also the HOV lanes. Makes a huge difference for my wife–15 minutes on commute versus 1 hour each way.

      Plugshare App is great. I opportunity charge at public chargers a lot. Many are still free, but with so many EVs out here, they are becoming mostly occupied. That’s why I transitioned to the Volt. If the public charger is occupied, no sweat–I can still make it home.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        I read accounts like yours (and other Volt owners) and think, man I could use a car like that. The big fly in the ointment for me is, we’re downsizing and I don’t know if we will end up in a single family home again. I’m afraid if we end up in a condo or apartment building, there may not be a place to plug in any PHEV or EV I would end up acquiring. I think I will have to make the Pontiacs last until we can settle that issue. Maybe by then, GM will do a Voltec version of the Orlando. *That* would cover a lot of utility for me…

    • 0 avatar
      Garak

      Here in Commieland, fully charging up the Spark would cost about 3€, whereas driving 82 miles with a gasoline Spark would cost about 10-13€. That’s a fair bit of savings. Too bad Commieland authorities hate EVs, so you’d get a bunch of extra taxes to ruin your EV-owning experience.

    • 0 avatar
      j_slez

      Here are some reasons I’ve found why an EV is a good thing:

      Smooth, silent power
      Never visit a gas station
      Never get an oil change, tuneup, etc.
      Brakes last forever

      I don’t know how much the reviewer pays for electricity, but my solar just locked me in at $0.08/KWh for the next 20 years. That’s less than 2 cents per mile.

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