The Low Down
The Electric Vehicle is no longer a daydream of the future – the future is now, and more and more consumers are opting for eco friendly autos as an alternative to the many gas-guzzling models on the market. Whether your attention was directed toward the EV’s from Tesla’s gorgeous full-size luxury Model S, or Sparked by the urban city mini-mobile that we know to be the Chevrolet Spark EV, it’s well worth taking a look inside what an electric car is comprised of.
If you’ve read the standard Spark review, you’ll know there have been major redesigns in the model from last year’s model; however, the Spark EV is virtually no different than the 2015 model. The 2016 Chevrolet Spark EV is a completely electric, subcompact four-door hatchback for 4 passengers. The interior of the car has its own unique styling and blue color features against its standard, nonelectric Spark comrade, to complement its battery charged engine. While minimalist and simple in styling, it’s almost refreshing for how straightforward, crisp, and clean in the design from the dash, stitching, knobs, even down to the Tron-like floormats, and it feels roomier than it looks both in cabin and the rear because of how tall the roof is.
From the driver’s seat, you’re able to quickly see where your battery and speed levels are at from the easy-to-read graphics so you know how much remains on your driving range. We love the easy to navigate MyLink touchscreen infotainment system, and how comfortable the front seats are. Keep in mind the rear seats cannot fully fold flat due to how the battery is packaged.
The Spark EV comes available in TWO trim levels:
1LT: Standard on the 1LT includes 15” alloy wheels, EV-specific aerodynamic bodywork, keyless ignition/entry, remote start, cruise control, AC, power windows/side mirrors/door locks, adjustable driver seat, heated front seats, 60/40 folding rear seat, and technology features including 7” touchscreen, OnStar telematics, in-car WiFi, and more (see Technology section).
2LT: The main difference here is some small interior trim upgrades, but to save money even further, most people could happily go with the 1LT and be content. It adds leatherette premium vinyl upholstery and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
*DC quick charger available for either trim level and is recommended – JUST in case! When it’s connected to the right power source, the Spark can recharge in less than 30 minutes for up to 80% of its charge.
Now. For the big question on everyone’s mind: am I going to get stuck in the middle of nowhere with this thing? The Spark EV goes 82 miles of range, which is pretty standard among other electrics, which means you’ve got about enough for standard commute living situations.
If you live in California, you really don’t have to worry much about charging stations – they’re everywhere. And with apps like PlugShare that are determined to lend a hand when you start stressing where the nearest stand is, you really have nothing to worry about provided you’re not about to trek on a long road trip through no man’s land.
*Keep in mind: the Spark EV is a limited release design and only sold in three states – California, Oregon, and new for 2016, Maryland. If you live in another state, check out the Nissan Leaf as a great alternative.
When you need to consider replenishing the battery, charging from a standard outlet with 110 volts can take as long as 20 hours, and a 240 volt outlet will take about 7, which is great if you end up getting that set up in your garage for overnight charging.
The Spark EV also offers a DC fast-charge option which can actually refill your battery charge about 80% in less than a half an hour, provided you find the right port to set up and charge in.
The Spark EV is powered by a 105-kilowatt electric motor that comes from an 18.4-kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
In terms of performance, the Spark is pretty quick and nimble for an electric car – which is due to its size and shape, allowing you to take on unexpected twists and turns throughout your journey.
Standard on both models include: 7” touchscreen, OnStar telematics, in-car WiFi with 4G LTE, Bluetooth phone/audio connectivity, smartphone app integration, Siri Eyes Free voice-recognition capability, 6 speaker sound system with satellite radio, AUX and USB/iPod interface.
Standard safety features include: antilock disc brakes, traction/stability control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, rear-seat side airbags, and front seat knee airbags. OnStar’s services include features like automatic crash notifications, roadside assistance, remote door unlocking and stolen vehicle assistance.
Starting at $25,120
Why this Car?
If you’re always on the move, you practically live in your car for work commutes, and – most importantly, you have the time and facilities to charge it, this is a great option for an eco friendly model. It’s one of the fastest on the market for electrics, low in price for the features you get, and delivers a relatively quiet ride that lets you feel comfortable leaving such a small footprint while getting from here to there 7 days a week.