says its ’14 Chevrolet Spark battery-electric vehicle will travel 82 miles (132 km) on a full charge, putting it among the leaders in the nascent segment.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also estimates the Spark BEV, coming to select U.S. markets this summer, will achieve a combined-cycle equivalent of 199 MPG-e. MPG-e estimates the average distance an EV will travel for every unit of energy it uses.
“We’re poised to deliver to the market an EV that’s not just efficient, but also thrilling to drive,” says Pam Fletcher, executive director-electric vehicles at GM.
Powered by a 21-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, GM says the Spark BEV will go 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in less than eight seconds on the strength of a permanent magnet electric motor and coaxial drive unit producing more than 100 kW (130 hp) and 400 lb.-ft. (542 Nm) of torque.
At the same time, the car will save buyers $9,000 in fuel costs over five years of ownership compared with the average new vehicle, according to EPA estimates.
The Spark BEVs range and MPG-e estimates put it among the leaders in its minicar class, alongside the ’13500e at 87 miles (140 km) with a combined-cycle 116 MPG-e, and the ’13 Scion iQ BEV at 38 miles (61 km) and 116 MPG-e. limits the Scion iQ to fleet and car-sharing programs.
The ’13Fit, another key competitor to the Spark but classified as a wagon by the EPA, will travel 82 miles with 118 MPG-e.
GM initially will make the Spark available in California and Oregon only, before extending sales elsewhere in the U.S, Canada and South Korea, where it is manufactured. GM has not announced pricing but says the BEV will cost about $25,000 when buyers use an available $7,500 federal income tax credit.
A key selling point for the Spark BEV will be its optional DC Fast Charging system.
The option will not be available out of the gate, but when it does come owners will have the ability to fully charge their Spark BEV in 20 minutes, and the car will withstand multiple fast charges daily. Charging the Spark EV on a 220V outlet takes seven hours and a 110V outlet takes upwards of 14 hours.
BEVs are expected to help U.S. auto makers achieve new federal fleet-fuel-economy minimums of 35.5 mpg (6.6 L/100 km) by 2016 and 54.5 mpg (4.3 L/100 km) by 2025. The cars not only boost overall fuel efficiency for an auto maker but also provide credits if they fall short of their minimums.
BEVs particularly will be important to auto makers in California, where one-in-seven vehicles sold cannot emit any carbon-dioxide emissions.
Sales of the few BEVs currently available are tepid with 12,187 units delivered last year, for a market share of 0.08%, according to WardsAuto data.