A week after unveiling its all-electric Chevrolet Bolt concept EV and second-generation 2016 Chevrolet Volt range-extended electric car at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, General Motors has announced that its 2015 Chevrolet Spark electric minicar will finally go on sale on the U.S. east coast, nineteen months after initial sales started in California and Oregon on the west coast.
The first east coast market? Maryland, well known for its proximity to Washington D.C. and home to many of the Capitol’s many hundreds of thousands of daily commuters.
The five-door, four-seat hatchback, based on the popular gasoline Chevrolet Spark, features a 97 kilowatt electric motor and 19 kilowatt-hour nanophosphate lithium-ion battery. Rated by the EPA as having an 82-mile range per charge, the little plug-in is nimble and a lot better behaved than its gasoline sibling, something most in the automotive world agrees makes it the most enjoyable of the Spark lineup.
With a 0-60 time of 7.2 seconds and a total length of 12.2 feet, the Spark EV is best at home in busy cities, managing a full 180 degree turn in just 33.8 feet. And while it’s no Tesla Model S, DC CCS quick charging as standard means it can be refilled from empty to 80 percent full in under 30 minutes in most situations at a compatible CCS quick charging station.
There is, sadly, a catch: at the time of writing there’s not a single CCS quick charging station anywhere within the Greater Washington, D.C. area. As a consequence, anyone considering a Chevy Spark EV in Maryland right now should expect a much slower recharge of around 5-6 hours from a Level 2 charging station to be the norm, although we would hope GM will work with charging providers to change this lack of CCS provision in time for the Spark EV’s east coast debut this Spring.
It’s likely that GM will eventually expand its Spark EV sales beyond Maryland, but for now, it will remain the only east coast state where the four-seat plug-in will be sold.
GM says the Spark EV will be priced at $17,845 after $7,500 federal tax credits and Maryland state tax credits, making it one of the more affordable plugins on the market there. But if locals need any further incentive to buy, GM thinks it has one: the motor and drivetrain used in the Spark EV are made at GM’s Baltimore Operations facility in White Marsh, just a 50-mile drive from the border with the nation’s Capitol.
For the majority of Americans however, the Chervolet Bolt looks to be unobtainable as ever, a fact which cements itself as little more than a compliance car being sold to satisfy emissions requirements rather than consumer demand.
For an automaker keen to set itself up as the automaker which will bring us a 200-mile affordable EV in a few years’ time, we think that’s not necessarily a good image for the Spark EV to have.
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