2013 Chevrolet Spark minicar unveiled in Detroit, October 2011Enlarge Photo
General Motors has just officially, finally confirmed news that this site has previously reported:
New front-end styling
The 2013 Spark shown this morning on stage in Detroit at a celebration of Chevrolet's 100th birthday has a slightly restyled front end, very possibly to comply with U.S. safety standards that differ from those in Asia and Europe, where the car is already on sale.
2013 Chevrolet Spark minicarEnlarge Photo
The U.S. version of the Spark will be fitted with a 83-horsepower, 1.2-liter four-cylinder engine, the smallest engine sold in any GM model since the days of the three-cylinder Geo Metro almost two decades ago.
A five-speed gearbox will be standard, and an automatic option will also be available.
The 2013 Chevy Spark is 4 inches longer than a 2012 Fiat 500, but 14 inches shorter than the just-released 2012 Chevrolet Sonic subcompact. Unlike the Sonic, though, the 2013 Spark minicar will be offered only as a five-door hatchback; there is no sedan version.
2013 Chevrolet Spark EV dashboardEnlarge Photo
First all-electric car since EV1
The electric Spark will have a battery pack of roughly 20 kilowatt-hours capacity, just slightly higher than that of the 2012 Chevrolet Volt range-extended electric cars. Its lithium-ion cells provided by A123 Systems [NSDQ:AONE].
GM announced last month it would award a cell supply contract to A123 for an electric vehicle, but didn't specify which vehicle it was for at the time.
2013 Chevrolet Spark EV cutawayEnlarge Photo
According to GM, "Feedback from participants in Chevrolet’s electric vehicle demonstration fleets in Shanghai (Sail EV), Korea (Cruze EV) and India (Beat EV) are being incorporated into the Spark EV."
But the company declined to specify the Spark EV's expected battery range, price, or launch date. And it said only that the car would be targeted at "urban areas," in a "limited" number of regions.
Sell or lease?
The Chevy Spark EV will be the company's first all-electric production model since the GM EV1 two-seater launched 13 years ago. All EV1s were subsequently taken back by the company and crushed or disabled.
Electric-car advocates with long memories will be watching with interest to find out whether GM plans to sell or lease the Spark EV--which may indicate whether that car could suffer a similar fate to the late, lamented EV1.