2014 Chevrolet Spark EV On Time, Unaffected By A123 Failure

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2014 Chevrolet Spark EV

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV

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As Fisker Automotive seemingly enters very public death throes, and its battery supplier A123 Systems works to get back to business after a bankruptcy sale, another electric car might have been caught in the crossfire.

The 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV is to launch this summer, after its announcement in October 2011 and a short media drive of Spark EV development prototypes last fall.

The Spark EV was officially launched at the Los Angeles Auto Show two weeks after that test drive.

But the littlest plug-in electric Chevy also uses lithium-ion cells from A123 Systems.

Does that mean that A123's bankruptcy filing.and subsequent sale to Chinese auto-parts maker Wanxiang has delayed the Spark EV's launch?

Not at all, says General Motors [NYSE:G].

There is "no change" in the little electric car's launch schedule, says Kevin M. Kelly, who's the Manager of Electrification Technology Communications for GM.

"The 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV," Kelly says, "will launch this summer in California and Oregon."

And there you have it.

The Spark EV will hit the market at about the same time as the 2013 Fiat 500e, also an electric conversion of a gasoline minicar.

Both cars--along with the Toyota RAV4 EV and Honda Fit EV, already on sale--are widely viewed as "compliance cars" that will be built only in the volumes necessary to keep their makers in compliance with California's 2012-2014 Zero-Emission Vehicle sales requirements.

Nonetheless, GM is throwing a lot of PR muscle behind the electric Spark and its electric components.

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV

Enlarge Photo

GM will build the Spark EV's electric motor in Maryland, and next week it is planning a media tour of that plant.

The motor, far more powerful than anything fitted to a gasoline Spark, powers the front wheels and is rated at 100 kilowatts (134 hp) of peak output. Peak torque is quoted at a whopping 400 lb-ft.

That's a much larger power output than you might expect for an electric car that small, although the 2013 Honda Fit EV as well has a surprisingly powerful 92-kW (123-hp) motor from the company's FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle.

In any event, GM says the Spark EV will launch on schedule.

Assuming it does, we'll bring you all the details of the car once we have the chance to drive a production version.


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