- Available in Maryland (introduced interim 2015)
- Repositioned MSRP continues to provide customers with greater value (introduced interim 2015)
The 2016 Chevrolet Spark EV is a pure electric urban minicar designed for fun, gas- and emissions-free driving, and easy ownership. After first being sold only in California and Oregon, its range extended eastward and became available in Maryland during 2015.
For 2016, the MSRP for the Spark EV 1LT continues at $25,995. Depending on a buyer’s tax situation and residence, Spark EV could cost less than $15,000 after full federal and state tax credits and retail incentives.
On top of that, compared to the average new gas-powered vehicle, Spark EV can save owners an average of $83 per month in fuel costs, according to EPA assessments based on 24 mpg highway for an average vehicle and 12 cents per kWh of electricity (details at fueleconomy.gov). Kbb.com named the 2015 Spark EV its Best Plug-In Vehicle in its annual 5-Year Cost to Own Awards.
Spark EV at a glance
Spark EV has been one of the most well received electric vehicles in the industry; in fact, 90 percent of Spark EV owners trade in a non-GM nameplate or add it to the existing household fleet.
When fully charged, its combined city/highway EPA-estimated range of 82 miles and EPA-estimated city/highway 119 MPGe fuel economy equivalent make it the most efficient U.S. retail electric vehicle.
Spark EV builds on Chevrolet’s proven electric motor and battery development programs for the Chevrolet Volt and its full-size truck and SUV hybrid programs. Its GM-built motor and drive unit (in Baltimore, Md.) deliver 327 lb-ft (444 Nm) of instant torque, for a 0-60 time of 7.2 seconds.
In 2014, Car and Driver magazine ranked Spark EV first in a comparison with other electric vehicles, including the Nissan Leaf, Honda Fit EV and Ford Focus EV. Spark EV recorded the only sub-eight-second time and was the least expensive car in the test.
For congested streets and tight parking spaces, it is one of the most maneuverable EVs, with a 12.2-foot overall length and a tight 33.8-foot turning radius.
Three levels of recharging capability include the industry’s first use of the SAE combo charger for DC fast charging, which charges 80 percent of the battery in just 20 minutes. Unlike most competitors, Spark EV’s battery system is capable of handling multiple compatible DC fast charges daily. Charging also can be completed in less than seven hours using a dedicated 240V charger and about 20 hours using the standard 120 V charger.
Aero refinements, unique wheels and tires and active shutter system on the grille opening help extend the Spark EV’s range. Storing that energy from the charging process and the vehicle’s regenerative braking capability is a 19-kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
The four-passenger, five-door Spark EV is generously equipped and available in 1LT and 2LT trim levels. Highlights include:
For 2016, Spark EV exterior colors include Electric Blue, Silver Ice, Black Granite (extra charge), Summit White, Salsa (2LT only) and Lime (2LT only).
Designed for efficiency
Spark EV is designed to reduce drag and guide airflow around the vehicle. Engineers made small yet important changes to improve aerodynamics and range:
Combined, these refinements help contribute to Spark EV’s 82 miles (130 km) of range and low 0.326 coefficient of drag.
Roomy, technology-filled interior
With 86.3 cu. ft. (2,444 L) of passenger volume and 9.6 cu. ft. (272 L) of cargo volume, Spark EV is one of the largest vehicles in the minicar segment.
Storage options include a center console bin, door pocket bottle holders, a passenger instrument panel storage tray and four cup holders, two each in the front and rear. Cloth seats are standard and leatherette-trimmed seats are available.
The customizable instrument cluster/Driver Information Center helps drivers get the most out of their EV experience. The cluster includes:
The integrated center stack adds a second seven-inch, full-color touch-screen with the infotainment display, audio and climate controls, heated seat controls, USB, power outlet, defogger button and StabiliTrak/traction control on/off button. LED knobs improve visibility and access.
Customers can choose between two Spark EV interior colors – Electric Blue and Dark Pewter.
Standard and available features
Spark EV 1LT is generously equipped and includes:
Spark EV 2LT includes 1LT standard content plus heated leatherette driver and front passenger seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Stay connected with MyLink, OnStar 4G LTE
MyLink is standard on Spark EV and lets owners view their EV performance and personalize their infotainment delivery. The system consists of a seven-inch diagonal touch screen, AM/FM/SiriusXM Satellite Radio (with three months of service) stereo with seek-and-scan, digital clock, Bluetooth streaming audio for music and select phones, voice recognition for compatible smartphones and six speakers.
EV-related information is accessed through a menu icon and includes an animated power-flow graphic, energy information screen and access to screens that allow the driver to program charging preferences.
For infotainment, MyLink integrates the owner’s compatible smartphone and stored media – via Bluetooth, plug-in outlet or USB – with the radio. Owners enjoy simple, safe and personalized connectivity.
MyLink also includes Siri and Siri Eyes Free capability for customers with a compatible iPhone running at least iOS6, as well as apps for BringGo in-dash navigation (requires smartphone app purchase) and TuneIn, which provides access to 70,000 global radio stations, Pandora and Stitcher Smart Radio.
Additional connectivity comes from standard OnStar with 4G LTE and available Wi-Fi hotspot (please see OnStar section for details).
Choice of driving modes
Spark EV’s electric drive unit produces 105 kW, 140 horsepower and 327 lb.-ft. (444 Nm) of torque. Without a traditional transmission, power goes directly to the wheels.
Owners can choose from two driving modes to meet their needs, using a switch on the center console near the shift lever.
The heart of the Spark EV’s propulsion system is its electric drive unit. It is the first time a major U.S. auto manufacturer has designed and built both a complete electric motor and drive unit for a modern EV in the U.S.
Encased in a strong, composite material case below the load floor over the rear axle, Spark EV’s 19-kWh lithium-ion battery is designed to deliver value, safety, quality, performance, durability and reliability. GM engineers have completed more than one million miles and four million hours of validation on Spark EV’s battery packs.
A liquid thermal management system cools and heats the battery for a long life, and it is backed by an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty.
Owners can choose three levels of recharging for the Spark EV:
The charge session automatically stops when battery charging is complete. The system also includes a remote stop charge feature that halts DC charging with the push of a button on a remote key fob.
Spark EV ride and handling
Spark EV derives much of its confident road feel and driving comfort from its stiff body frame integral construction. Sixty percent of its structure is made from high-strength steel that improves chassis stiffness, reduces noise, vibration and harshness and improves driving dynamics. Power, electric rack-and-pinion steering is standard.
The independent front suspension features MacPherson struts, coil springs and direct-acting 19mm stabilizer bar. The rear suspension is a semi-independent compound crank (torsion beam) design that combines the advantages of a conventional torsion beam axle with low weight and the ability to be tuned.
The Spark EV’s brake system includes:
The front brakes include an electro-hydraulic regenerative brake system that captures braking energy – normally wasted in a conventional vehicle – and transfers it to the battery system. From the vehicle’s top speed of 90 mph to approximately 10 mph, and as long as the deceleration does not exceed .3g – and the lithium ion battery pack can accept the charge – regenerative braking is used 100 percent of the time to slow the vehicle.
Hill start assist helps prevent drivers from rolling when restarting from a stopped position on a hill. It allows drivers to take their foot off the brake long enough to use the accelerator and move forward.
Safety, security and peace of mind
Spark EV offers crash-avoidance technologies such as StabiliTrak and ABS, and helps protect occupants in a crash with 10 standard air bags.
OnStar 4G LTE is standard. Three years of OnStar Guidance and five years of OnStar Basic Plan services are standard. Services unique to Spark EV include:
An available built-in Wi-Fi hotspot provides a mobile hub for drivers and passengers to stay connected. The hotspot is on whenever the vehicle is on, and comes with a three-month/three-gigabyte data trial.
The OnStar Basic Plan’s RemoteLink Key Fob service lets owners remotely start and lock/unlock a car (if properly equipped), and activate the horn and lights from anywhere with a data connection. It also includes OnStar Vehicle Diagnostics and Dealer Maintenance Notification, which sends a diagnostic report to a preferred dealer to simplify service scheduling.
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 115 countries and selling around 4.8 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature engaging performance, design that makes the heart beat, passive and active safety features and easy-to-use technology, all at a value. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.