Chevrolet announced today that it would build the electric motor for its upcoming Spark EV battery electric car in a plant in Maryland.

The carmaker also released the power specification for the motor, which will offer 85 kilowatts (114 hp) of peak output and roughly two-thirds of that in sustained operation.

That will be far more horsepower than in the gasoline version of the 2013 Spark, which will be fitted with a 83-horsepower, 1.2-liter four-cylinder engine. That's the smallest engine GM has sold in any model since the three-cylinder Geo Metro almost 20 years ago.

"I wish I could give you a ride in that car," said GM's executive director of global electrification--referring not only to the Spark EV's 40-percent horsepower advantage, but to the instantaneous torque characteristic of all electric motors.

The company said in January 2010 that it would add electric-motor production to a transmission plant in White Marsh, Maryland.

GM electric motor production

GM electric motor production

At the time, the company said the motors would be for "hybrid and electric" vehicles; the Spark EV motor is the first announced product from the plant, but it may not be the last.

Exactly two weeks ago, Chevy both unveiled its 2013 Spark minicar and confirmed that it would offer a Spark EV electric model. It has not yet announced where that model will be assembled.

2013 Chevrolet Spark EV cutaway

2013 Chevrolet Spark EV cutaway

The 2013 Chevrolet Spark minicar will be the smallest Chevy ever sold in the U.S. It is expected to appeal largely to an urban audience, Chevrolet says, and is adapted from a model (also known as the Beat) sold in Europe, Asia, and other markets.

The Spark EV will be the first pure electric vehicle from General Motors since the demise of the EV1 two-seat electric car.

It is likely to be built and sold in lower numbers than the 2012 Chevrolet Volt, the range-extended electric car that is GM's primary plug-in offering in North America.


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