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GM Unveils All-Electric 'Spark' Car at LA Auto Show

GM Unveils All-Electric 'Spark' Car at LA Auto Show

Is it simply a "compliance car"?

DETROIT (TheBlaze/AP) — General Motors is giving its Chevrolet Spark a jolt of electricity. As the auto maker unveils an all-electric version this week, it calls to mind issues reported by TheBlaze regarding cars that seem to be created for the purpose of meeting state compliance -- some argue the Spark EV doesn't appear to be a "compliance car" though.

Chevrolet Spark EV. (Image: GM)

The mini-car will debut this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show and goes on sale this summer in California, Oregon, Canada and South Korea, where it's made. Other markets will follow.

Unlike the Chevrolet Volt sedan, which can run in all-electric mode but also has a backup gas engine, the Spark EV is a pure electric. GM won't say how far the car will go on a charge, but says it will be a top performer among the small number of EVs available. The current leader, the electric Ford Focus sedan, can go 76 miles on a charge.

“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,” Mark Reuss, president, General Motors North America, said in a statement. “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.”

(Image: GM)

The Spark EV will also be cheaper than most of its electric rivals, GM says. Exact pricing hasn't been revealed, but the car will start for less than $25,000 in the U.S. when a $7,500 federal tax credit is factored in. The electric Nissan Leaf starts at $27,700 with the tax credit. Like all electrics, though, the Spark is much pricier than its gasoline-powered equivalent. The gas-operated Spark starts at $12,245.

(Image: GM)

TheBlaze recently reported on another all-electric vehicle being produced by Chrysler: the Fiat 500e. What makes this car noteworthy was the fact that the company is expecting to lose money on it -- and yet it is still producing it. Here's more from TheBlaze's Becket Adams on why:

California has one of the largest car markets in the country (it accounts for nearly 10 percent of all U.S. auto sales). California also has a strict zero-emission requirement.

So unless Chrysler offers a model that meets these increasingly stringent emissions standards, California could bar them from selling cars in the state.


But wait! There’s more! Ten other states, including New York, New Jersey, and Maryland, have followed California’s lead and have enacted similar zero-emission requirements. And much like California, Chrysler could be barred from selling cars in these states unless it offers a vehicle that meets these standards.

But GreenCarReports noted that the Spark EV might not be just a "compliance car," because it will be sold in markets outside of California. In a separate post earlier this year, GreenCarReports explained that to be considered a "real" electric car that wasn't made for compliance, it needed to meet the following criteria:

  • It's sold outright to consumers, not only leased; and
  • It will sell at least 5,000 or more a year in the U.S. or reach total global sales of 20,000; and
  • It's offered outside the 'California emissions' states, or will be within 18 months

Here are more details about the Spark:

  • Under the hood: The Spark EV is powered by an electric motor and a 20 kWh lithium ion battery. It gets 130 horsepower and can go from zero to 60 mph in less than 8 seconds, which is several seconds faster than the gas-powered Spark. GM says the Spark EV is the first all-electric vehicle in North America to offer SAE Combo DC Fast Charge capability, which can charge the battery to 80 percent of capacity in about 20 minutes. It can also be fully recharged in seven hours using a standard 240-volt outlet, or longer using a 120-volt outlet.

  • Interior features: Though it's a mini-car, it has lots of big-car touches, like leather seats and GM's OnStar safety system. The Spark EV will have a smartphone-based infotainment system that gives drivers access to navigation and music apps like Pandora. Drivers with a compatible iPhone can link up their phones and perform tasks — like sending email or texts — by talking to Apple's Siri. The car also has 10 air bags and electronic stability control, which helps keep it steady despite its small frame.

(Image: GM)

  • Exterior features: The five-door hatchback is tiny, at 144.7 inches long. That's about five inches longer than a Fiat 500. It comes in lime green and other unusual hues.

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