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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Comments (13)
  1. BMW is using A123 batteries in the 3 and 5-series hybrids, aren't they?

  2. @CDspeed: Yes, in all current ActiveHybrid models of the 3-, 5-, and 7-Series cars.

  3. So why does Fisker Karma seem to be the only car that suffered under A123's bankruptcy?

  4. Maybe b/c of the amount of battery needed. Hybrids use much smaller batteries than the Karma and their form and factor aren't the same either... That is just my guess.

  5. Other automakers have other sources of income and don't rely on only EV/PHEV sales to make the operating income. Also, didn't Fisker own a big chunk of A123 by the end? I think that probably played a role, but I'm not an expert and just guessing.

  6. Fisker has multiple things hurting them. They don't actually manufacture any part of their car, if I recall correctly. They have a large investment in A123. They need lots of battery due to the Karma being a very heavy car. As they say on Facebook, it's complicated.

  7. A quick search says that A123 invested $23M in Fisker, not Fisker investing in A123.

    Fisker suffered under A123 bankruptcy because Fisker took delivery of many faulty batteries, which A123 was replacing with new good ones, but apparently ran out of money before all were replaced, so Fisker ended up effectively paying for batteries it did not receive.

  8. Great! Can't wait to see and hear about the production car's test drive! Please also let us know how the "new" DC charger works on those Spark EV... :)

  9. I am looking forward to test-driving this car. Do you know of anyone who has installed any SAE Combo chargers 'in the field' yet?

  10. No, I haven't seen them in person yet. But I assume eventually many of those faster DC-charger will be both SAE/CHAdemo compatible...

    That is why I put up the smiley face after the "new" DC charger. :)

  11. Only the uninformed media is guessing that GM will use A123. LG Chem makes a pouch cell the same size as A123, although it is rated at about 25% less energy which might explain why the initial 100 mile range is down to 80 something. GM uses LG chemistry in Volt so all the testing has basically been done.
    We will all know come this Fall.

  12. @Richard: No, actually GM has said several times that the Spark EV will use cells from A123.

  13. I really hope they launch it in Europe too.

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