News of Siri integration isn't the only tool in Chevy's belt today, as it's also unveiling key details of the 2014 Spark EV. The all-electric subcompact won't reach dealers until the summer, but it may be worth waiting for given a surprising emphasis on speed. Its 130HP motor puts out 400lb-ft of torque, or enough to reach 60MPH in under 8 seconds -- quite a bit of pep for any stock compact car, let alone one with green credentials. Drivers who don't always mash the throttle will still get a dose of speed through industry-first support for SAE Combo DC Fast Charging, which delivers an 80 percent charge in 20 minutes. The cabin technology parallels developments in the powertrain through its two customizable, 7-inch screens and the expected smartphone tie-ins for MyLink and Siri. Combining the tarted up performance and interior tech makes the Spark EV's sub-$25,000 price (after EV tax breaks) seem like a better value than usual for lower-cost electric vehicles -- and with Chevy's expanded plans to sell in Oregon, Canada and elsewhere, more of us can actually take the plunge. %Gallery-171973%
Chevrolet Spark EV is Pure, Electric Fun
Competitively priced under $25,000 with tax incentives
Expected range among best in EV segment
* Advanced, U.S.-built motor and drive unit deliver best-in-class acceleration
* Two seven-inch, high-resolution LCD screens display key vehicle functions and infotainment
* Initial markets include California, Oregon, Canada, South Korea and other global markets
* Optional SAE Combo DC Fast Charging capability enables Spark EV to charge to 80 percent in 20 minutes
LOS ANGELES – The 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV, introduced today ahead of the Los Angeles International Auto Show, packs smart performance and connectivity technologies into an affordable five-door urban mini car designed to make the trip as electrifying as the destination. It will be priced under $25,000 with tax incentives.
With the Chevrolet Volt, Chevrolet accounts for more than 50 percent of all plug-in electric vehicle sales in the United States and Spark EV builds on Chevrolet's proven electric motor and battery development programs. When it goes on sale next summer, the Spark EV is expected to have among the best EV battery range in its segment and be the first electric vehicle to offer SAE Combo DC Fast Charging capability, enabling the Spark EV to reach 80-percent battery charge in just 20 minutes.
"When you engineer a technology-filled, all-electric mini car that goes from zero-to-60 mph in less than eight seconds, customers won't miss the gas," said Mark Reuss, president, General Motors North America. "The Volt and now the Spark EV show that Chevrolet not only knows EVs better than anyone else, we also know how to help customers get the most out of their EV experience."
Inside the Spark EV, critical vehicle functions are clearly and intuitively displayed on one of the vehicle's two reconfigurable, high-resolution, seven-inch color LCD screens, including a confidence gauge that shows the expected driving range based on driving habits and other conditions.
Spark EV also will keep urban drivers musically connected with Chevrolet's exclusive MyLink radio that comes standard and safely brings smartphone-based infotainment – including apps for BringGo full-function navigation, TuneIn global internet radio, Pandora and Stitcher – into the vehicle. Apple's Siri will ride shotgun, for customers with compatible (4S and newer) iPhones.
In addition to previously announced markets including California and South Korea, Spark EV will also go on sale in participating dealerships throughout Oregon, Canada and other global markets. Spark EV will be eligible for coveted high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes in California.
The soul of Spark EV
Spark EV is powered by an advanced electric motor and battery system. It consists of a GM-designed, coaxial drive unit and electric motor that together deliver 130 hp (110 kW) and 400 lb.-ft. (542 Nm) of torque for instant acceleration; and a more than 20-kWh lithium ion battery is expected to provide among the best EV range performance in its segment.
The drive unit and motor will be assembled of U.S. and globally sourced parts at GM's White Marsh, Md., manufacturing facility, and the first time a U.S. automaker has built both a complete electric motor and drive unit for a modern electric vehicle in the United States.
Spark EV's long-life battery is designed to be safe, durable and reliable, and is warranted for eight years or 100,000 miles. It consists of a 560-pound (254 kg) square lithium-ion battery pack with a volume of 133 liters, comprising 336 prismatic cells.
"The Spark EV battery has undergone more than 200,000 hours of testing in our global battery systems labs," said Pamela Fletcher, Chevrolet executive chief engineer of electrified vehicles. "It is extremely durable and has undergone the same abuse tolerance testing as the Volt battery."
Leading the charge
Spark EV is the first all-electric vehicle in North America to offer optional SAE Combo DC Fast Charge capability, which can charge the battery to 80 percent of capacity in about 20 minutes. A common on-board charging receptacle accommodates all three charging platforms – DC Fast Charge, AC 240V and AC 120V.
Using a dedicated 240V outlet, Spark EV recharges in less than seven hours. Owners can coordinate charging according to departure time or during off-peak electricity rates. They also can manage and monitor the vehicle remotely via computer at OnStar.com, or with a special Chevrolet Mobile App powered by OnStar Remote Link. The Spark EV comes with three years of standard OnStar service.
Energy-saving exterior; tech-filled interior
In developing the Spark EV, Chevrolet set out to help customers conserve as much total energy as possible to maximize battery range. One important way to achieve that is by improving the vehicle's aerodynamics. By evaluating every detail of the gasoline-powered Spark, designers and aerodynamic engineers added the equivalent of about 2.5 miles of real-world range.
Spark EV colors include Electric Blue, Black Granite, Summit White, Silver Ice and Titanium. Inside, designers sought to create a comfortable and spacious cockpit with noise-reduction features and a combination of bright accents in Electric Blue and chrome.