After two years of production, Chevrolet’s Spark EV is getting a battery pack makeover, courtesy of a switch from LG Chem manufactured cells to ones made by General Motors at its Brownstone production facility, the same facility used to produce battery packs for the Chevrolet Volt, Vauxhall Ampera and Cadillac ELR range-extended EVs.
Made in preparation for the 2015 model year Spark EV, the switch from externally-sourced cells to in-house ones will undoubtedly lower the cost paid by General Motors to produce its first all-electric car since the ill-fated EV1. And while GM hasn’t disclosed how much that will be, it has said the switch from externally-sourced battery packs to internally-made ones as giving it the ability to ‘better leverage economies of scale.’
Part of GM’s future plan for electrified vehicles, the shift of production of Spark EV battery packs to Brownstone also places General Motors’ entire battery production under one roof. Given its own production line alongside existing production line facilities for the Volt, Ampera and ELR battery packs, the Spark EV battery packs are based on the same technology used in GM’s other plug-in cars.
The new battery pack — capable of storing 19 kilowatt-hours of energy and made of 192 lithium-ion cells — is actually smaller in size than the outgoing 2014 Spark EV’s battery pack, which was rated at 21 kilowatt-hours of storage.
However, with smaller size and more efficient design comes a loss in weight — some 86 pounds, says GM. The drop in weight compensates nicely for the battery pack capacity, but results in identical range and fuel economy on previous years.
This means the 2015 Chevrolet Spark EV will be listed with a fuel economy of 119 miles per gallon equivalent, and an official EPA range of 82 miles per charge.
This switch of cell source may not seem like a massive change, but we think it’s a good indication that GM, who last month promised a massive $449 million of investment in electric cars along with two brand-new all-electric models, is already making moves to make good on its promise.
That’s a very good thing.
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