Review of the 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV

Review of the 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV
Review of the 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV

While the Chevrolet Spark and the Chevrolet Volt have certainly been setting tongues wagging in the hybrid and electric vehicle market, it was perhaps no surprise to see Chevrolet take advantage of this to introduce the 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV. This is a fully electric version of the traditional Chevrolet Spark and while the vehicle certainly has a lot to live up to, it does seem as though it can stand its own ground in the industry.

We will now take a look at some of the feedback from those who have experienced the new addition to the Chevrolet electric vehicle portfolio.

Basic information

Priced at just over $27,000, the vehicle compares favourably to the infamous Nissan Leaf and will certainly put Chevrolet up against its Far Eastern rival. The car itself is powered by a 140 HP electric motor and the company is very pleased with the fact that the torque on this particular vehicle is more than that available on the Ferrari 458 Italia.

Quote from ElectricForum.com : "In what is certainly going to cause confusion amongst consumers around the world, the Chevrolet Spark, Chevrolet’s much acclaimed vehicle, has been launched in India under the name Chevrolet Beat. It is unclear at this moment in time why the company chose to change the name of his vehicle despite the fact that it will be the company's major blockbuster in the car industry during 2013/14.2."

The fuel to power the electric motor comes from an array of lithium ion batteries which are located under the rear seat, which in itself has worked out perfectly with regards to weight distribution. The mpg equivalent is 128 in the city and 109 on the highway which makes the vehicle fairly competitive on these figures. The range at this moment in time on a full battery charge is around 82 miles although perhaps one of the downsides at this point is the time taken to recharge the batteries which can be anything from seven hours upwards.

Drive experience

As we touched on above, the more equal weight distribution of the 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV makes it very easy to handle. One of the ways in which Chevrolet has been able to maintain a relatively low sale price is by using existing technology from the Chevrolet Volt, adjusting and amending this to create the Chevrolet Spark EV. Research and technology are two of the major factors to take into account when costing a vehicle, therefore the opportunity to use similar technology time and time again is literally priceless.

Despite the fact that the vehicle weighs around 3,000 - 600 lbs more than the traditionally powered Chevrolet Spark, it is surprisingly agile. Due to the torque ratio it is also able to accelerate from 0 - 60 mph in just 7.6 seconds beating its gasoline counterpart. Feedback regarding handling of the vehicle has been very complimentary and indeed the on-board "fuel monitor" makes you clearly aware of power usage and remaining charge.

Regenerative braking

As we have covered in some of our earlier articles, the vast majority of electric vehicles today will to some extent use regenerative braking technology. This allows minimal wastage of excess energy which is often lost under braking. The 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV incorporates this technology although there has been some negative feedback with regards to the brake pedal and the fact that you have to have it pushed to the floor for greatest effect. This is likely something which will be rectified in later models of the Chevrolet Spark EV, although at this moment in time it is probably one of the few negative comments.

Conclusion

Chevrolet has managed to maintain the style and the quality of the original Chevrolet Spark in the new 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV. Road handling is better than many would expect, acceleration is certainly better than forecast and while charging times are a problem at the moment there is new technology on the way which will reduce this significantly. Until we see a major improvement in charging technology for the Chevrolet Spark EV it will likely be used for urban travel with a range per full charge of around 82 miles.

Even though Chevrolet did not originally plan to release the 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV, it is certainly turning out to be something of a public relations coup. While maintaining the style and feel of a gasoline powered Chevrolet Spark the company seems to have successfully overcome the transition from traditional gasoline fuel to electric powered motors. It will be interesting to see how this particular area of the Chevrolet business develops and what else the company manages to pull out of the hat!