2014 Spark EV check drive: reasonably priced inexperienced enjoyable (video)
We have pushed quite a lot of EV‘s through the years — from the Ford Focus Electrical to the Tesla Mannequin S — however none have been as reasonably priced because the 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV. It prices $19,995, together with the $7,500 federal tax credit score, and simply $17,495 in California, because of a further $2,500 credit score. The Spark EV is GM’s first pure electrical automotive because the firm scrapped the EV1 program in 2002. It is a 5-door supermini designed to hold 4 individuals plus baggage in consolation. Whereas it is primarily a metropolis automotive, it is completely comfortable on the freeway. We lately received the prospect to take one for a spin in pretty Portland, Oregon, so hit the break for our impressions and palms-on video. %Gallery-194735%
Efficiency is sort of spectacular for an EV this measurement: it sprints to 60mph in simply 7.6 seconds with a prime velocity of 90mph. The 21kWh nano-phosphate Li-ion battery pack is liquid cooled / heated and is situated within the flooring, fore and aft of the rear axle. It provides a variety of as much as eighty two miles and takes lower than seven hours to completely cost utilizing a degree 2 (240V) charging station. Higher but, with a DC quick-charging choice coming to the Spark EV later this yr, you’ll cost the battery to eighty % capability in simply 20 minutes. Chevy’s managed to maintain the load right down to 2,967lbs, which is fairly svelte for a pure electrical automotive. This, mixed a low middle of gravity and a near 50/50 weight distribution makes the Spark EV nimble and enjoyable to drive.
When it comes to powertrain, the Spark EV is motivated by a 140HP everlasting magnetic drive motor that generates a whopping four hundred ft/lb (!) of torque. It is mated to the entrance wheels by way of a single velocity gearbox with a low three.17 remaining drive. This implies the motor by no means spins quicker than four,300rpm and there is no lack of energy at greater speeds, in contrast to another EVs. In comparison with the gasoline model, the Spark EV good points rear disc brakes and wider 195mm tires in again (185mm in entrance). Lots of its electronics (just like the charger and motor controller) are shared with the Chevrolet Volt, which saves value. It is obtainable in two fashions, 1LT and 2LT — the latter provides heated leatherette seats and a leather-based wrapped steering wheel. Commonplace gear consists of energy home windows, locks and mirrors, cruise management, distant keyless entry, ten airbags and stability management.
The Spark EV comes with Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system which encompasses a seven-inch resistive touchscreen, SiriusXM satellite tv for pc radio, Bluetooth / USB connectivity and smartphone integration — together with help for Pandora, Stitcher, TuneIn and Siri Eyes Free. Whereas there is no constructed-in GPS choice, navigation is out there by way of the BringGo premium app, which could be managed instantly from the MyLink head unit. The system additionally shows info particular to the electrical drivetrain, reminiscent of battery standing, power particulars and utilization historical past. Rounding up the tech performance is OnStar’s remotelink app which supplies a option to remotely monitor and management the car’s locks, local weather settings and cost degree — amongst different issues.
General, we loved driving the Spark EV. It is a zippy automotive that is smoother and extra highly effective than anything in its class. Sports activities mode is especially entertaining because of a revised throttle mapping — it feels downright quick. Dealing with is sharp and dynamic, as we already talked about, however Chevy’s additionally accomplished a superb job with the journey, which is compliant with out being tender — this regardless of a fairly easy torsion beam rear suspension. As is usually the case with electrical energy steering, the setup may benefit from extra suggestions and precision, however it’s not a deal breaker. The pc modulated brakes might undoubtedly use some tuning, nevertheless: there is a slight delay between pedal software and caliper response at very low speeds which is a bit of unsettling if you’re accustomed to a extra responsive setup. Nonetheless, we appreciated the inclusion of a “low gear” which will increase the quantity of regenerative braking on throttle raise-off.
The Spark EV is on the market on the market or lease now beginning at $27,495 (earlier than credit) in California and Oregon. Check out our arms-on gallery and video above.