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GM offers no details on Spark at this point

GM has been offering the Chevrolet Volt for the past year and the car has proven to be reasonably popular, even if the price keeps some away. The Volt isn't a fully-fledged EV, and has a gasoline engine/generator onboard to extend the range of the vehicle when the battery pack is exhausted.

GM announced today that it has plans to start selling a pure electric vehicle (EV) in 2013. The EV will be called the Spark and it will be a complete electric powered mini-car that is aimed at drivers in big cities. The first markets to receive the Spark EV are likely to be the same ones that welcomed the Volt.

“The Spark EV offers customers living in urban areas who have predictable driving patterns or short commutes an all-electric option,” said Jim Federico, global vehicle chief engineer for electric vehicles at Chevrolet. “It complements Chevrolet’s growing range of electrified vehicles, including the Volt extended-range EV and the 2013 Malibu Eco with eAssist technology.”

At this point GM isn't offering hard details on the Spark. We don't know the driving range, price, or anything about its performance. All we know for sure right now is that the Spark will use battery packs from A123 Systems. Those battery packs will be nanophosphate lithium-ion packs.
 
The Spark EV will use nanophosphate lithium-ion batteries [Source: GM]

“Our global demo fleets continue to provide insight into the needs of electric vehicle customers living in urban environments,” said Federico. “The Spark EV is another step in Chevrolet’s plan to provide customers with a variety of electrification solutions to address the lifestyle and transportation needs of people around the world.”

It would be easy to expect the Spark to target the Nissan Leaf which has an EPA estimated driving range of 73 miles or less depending on the conditions.

Source: Chevrolet



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Huh?
By lightfoot on 10/12/2011 3:15:53 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
The Volt isn't a fully-fledged EV, and has a gasoline engine/generator onboard to extend the range of the vehicle when the battery pack is exhausted.

That's not right. The Volt IS a fully-fledged EV that just happens to have an onboard generator.

How does taking the generator away make it more fully-fledged??




RE: Huh?
By MozeeToby on 10/12/2011 3:29:33 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
That's not right. The Volt IS a fully-fledged EV that just happens to have an onboard generator.
Actually that's not quite true, at high speeds and low charge, the gas engine actually does provide motive force directly to the wheels.

There's two electric motors, one of which does double duty as a generator. The two motors together have the power to drive the Volt no problem but if the charge gets down and the secondary motor is needed to charge the battery the primary motor doesn't have enough power to maintain highway speeds. At that point the gas engine kicks in and turns the secondary motor to generate charge for the primary, but it also provides mechanical power through the secondary motor to the wheels.

If it wasn't so complicated I'd call it brilliant. It might still be brilliant, but I'll be waiting at least a couple more years to hear how maintenance goes for the early adopters before I can give a full opinion of it.


RE: Huh?
By lightfoot on 10/12/2011 3:49:52 PM , Rating: 4
You only confirm what I'm saying. The Volt is a FULLY capable EV when it is fully charged. When the generator kicks in it behaves as a hybrid to extend the range. Up until that point it is, without question, a full EV.

Removing the range extending generator and all the complexities associated with that does NOT make it more of an EV. It just makes it only an EV.


RE: Huh?
By MozeeToby on 10/12/2011 4:11:05 PM , Rating: 3
Well, by the same argument you could call a plug in Prius a fully electric car; it's true as far as it goes but doesn't tell the whole story. I suppose it's like arguing about whether a shape is a square or a rectangle. Both the Volt and the new Spark are electric vehicles, but the Volt is so much more that I have difficulty putting them in the same category.


RE: Huh?
By Keeir on 10/12/2011 4:30:10 PM , Rating: 5
No, not really.

The Prius PHEV is unable to complete the EPA testing cycles without turning on the gasoline engine.

The Volt is an EV until the charge is depleted. Regardless of the usage. Then it becomes a Serial/Par. Hybrid.

The Prius PHEV is an EV provided you stay below ~27 hp requirement. If at any time you exceed 27 hp, the gasoline engine turns on. This makes the Prius PHEV always a Serial/Par. Hybrid, just one with a very large reserve of initial electricity.

People seem to forget the initial NA Prius (which was already Prius 1.1) was a B-segment car that would get ~41 MPG combined on post 2008 EPA testing. Compared to the initial Prius, the initial Volt is a significant advance. Hopefully future versions of Voltec (by GM or others) shows the similar rapid advancement as the Prius platform (which is possible for "new" technology)


RE: Huh?
By Solandri on 10/12/2011 10:47:26 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I got into this argument over a year ago - any vehicle which can move via electric power is by definition an "electric vehicle". The purists disagreed and claimed that only vehicles powered entirely by electricity 100% of the time could be called electric vehicles.

Really makes no sense to me. California's definition is better (before they scrapped them). The Prius and Volt are hybrid electric vehicles. The Volt and Spark are ZEVs - zero emissions vehicles. But apparently that upset the purists too since hydrogen-powered vehicles are also ZEVs.

Factor in that over 2/3rds of our electricity comes from fossil fuels, and over 2/3rds of the remainder comes from nuclear, and I don't understand why it's so important to some people if a vehicle can only be powered by electricity.
http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/annual/txt/ptb...

2009 U.S. electricity generation
67.7% - fossil fuels
21.9% - nuclear
7.4% - hydro
1.9% - wind
0.4% - geothermal
0.4% - biowaste (i.e. methane from landfills)
0.2% - biowaste wood (i.e. sawdust from lumber mills)
0.02% - solar


RE: Huh?
By Reclaimer77 on 10/13/2011 12:15:46 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Yeah, I got into this argument over a year ago


One in which you no doubt lost.

quote:
any vehicle which can move via electric power is by definition an "electric vehicle".


Not if it has a gas engine. Then it's classified as this thing you might have heard of lately called a hybrid.

quote:
The purists disagreed and claimed that only vehicles powered entirely by electricity 100% of the time could be called electric vehicles.


If by purist you mean 99.9% of the total population, then you you would be correct.

I'm not sure what's so hard about this to understand. Battery only = electric vehicle. Battery and gas engine = hybrid. End of discussion.


RE: Huh?
By Solandri on 10/13/2011 3:05:22 PM , Rating: 2
Battery only = electric vehicle
Battery + gas engine = hybrid gas and electric vehicle.

"Hybrid" is just an abbreviation.


RE: Huh?
By Keeir on 10/13/2011 3:56:20 PM , Rating: 2
I think when you define things so literally your run into the American Cheese Issue. IE, while the product may meet the literal defination of the words, it does not hold up to reasonable market expectation of product so labeled.

For example, I've owned some cars that could move due to the starter motor. Would these cars then be electric vechiles as well? Would my currect car by BioFuel car, even though it would be destroyed within a few thousand miles if I tryed to use E85 or E100?

Clearly some kind of standards need to be maintained

All "EV" labeled cars (IMO) should be
1.) Able to perform to maximum capabilities under electric power alone
2.) Be able to complete each EPA/EU testing cycle under electric power alone

If one and two are met, its really an EV then. If a Leaf owner hooked up a trailer or brough along a generator would thier "EV" suddenly be less of an EV?


RE: Huh?
By Redwin on 10/13/2011 9:26:38 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I suppose it's like arguing about whether a shape is a square or a rectangle.


Erm.. how could you argue about that, its quite well defined. All squares are rectangles, and any rectangle with all 4 sides the same length is a square.

Seems like a ruler would end your "argument" pretty quickly. :)


RE: Huh?
By Reclaimer77 on 10/13/2011 12:10:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You only confirm what I'm saying. The Volt is a FULLY capable EV when it is fully charged. When the generator kicks in it behaves as a hybrid to extend the range. Up until that point it is, without question, a full EV.


????

This is the dumbest logic I have ever heard of. So I guess the Boeing 747 is a "full" glider because if you cut the engines off it then becomes a full glider...

Seriously, actually think about how dumb your position is on this. Then get back to me with the proper attitude.


RE: Huh?
By lightfoot on 10/13/2011 5:21:44 PM , Rating: 2
How so? The Volt even with an empty fuel tank perform all the functions of a "fully qualified" EV.

Just because it can use fuel to extend its range doesn't mean it has to.

If anything it is a more qualified EV.

The Prius can not operate at highway speeds and travel for 40 miles with out consuming fuel and thus would not be a full EV. The Volt however can.


Really an EV
By DrApop on 10/12/2011 3:13:53 PM , Rating: 2
Is it really an all electric EV? Remember what they said about the Volt up until they released it for sale.




RE: Really an EV
By MozeeToby on 10/12/2011 3:23:51 PM , Rating: 3
They said that it was a gasoline burning serial hybrid and then it turned out that it was a hybrid serial parallel hybrid that actually combined the advantages of both into a single, arguably quite complex, power train.

I won't argue that they didn't mislead, but they hardly delivered less than they promised.


RE: Really an EV
By theapparition on 10/12/2011 6:55:21 PM , Rating: 2
They did so for patent reasons, and to keep competition in the dark about thier plans.

In the end, does it matter if you call it an EV, a hybrid, or if you call it a gruntmaster 9000? The result is what matters, and they delivered on a vehicle that drives ~40miles on a charge, with gasoline range extending.


RE: Really an EV
By Dr of crap on 10/14/2011 8:50:04 AM , Rating: 1
And we are so lucky that they gave us that car, because we had been waiting and NEEDING such a thing!

<end sarcasm>


I'll buy one...
By DT_Reader on 10/12/2011 2:58:55 PM , Rating: 2
...if it's affordable. I work 20 miles from home, so a 60 mile range should be good enough when you factor in side trips after work. And I don't need a back seat for a commuter car. The Volt is too big for a commuter car, but the back seat is too small for a family car, so what's the Volt's target market? The Spark could be what the Volt should have been. The Leaf? Too damn ugly.

Now, where's the OnStar fuse so I can regain my privacy?




RE: I'll buy one...
By Spuke on 10/12/2011 7:08:07 PM , Rating: 2
Don't know what you consider affordable but my guess is it will be somewhere around the Leaf in price.


RE: I'll buy one...
By Natch on 10/13/2011 8:29:13 AM , Rating: 1
The real question, indeed, is how much will this car be overpriced/undervalued?

The Volt is ridiculously overpriced, for what it does, and is just another way for GM to point and say, "See? We're being serious about this green stuff!"

Pretty much the same for anyone who buys one, as it's been proven that you will likely not break even on that vehicle, unless you own it for >10 years, and have ZERO major breakdown expenses (i.e.-battery pack replacements).


RE: I'll buy one...
By elderwilson on 10/13/2011 11:23:10 AM , Rating: 2
Most people who buy a Volt aren't worried about saving money, they either want it as a status symbol or because they legitimately care about the environment.


"no details on Spark at this point"
By Breathless on 10/12/2011 2:34:32 PM , Rating: 3
That's not true. We know for sure that the back end will look retarded.




By mellomonk on 10/14/2011 1:50:27 AM , Rating: 2
I am sure the details of the EV version will be slightly different, but the petrol powered Spark has been shown and will hit the streets in the US before the EV version.

http://spark.chevrolet.com/geneva-v1/en_US/index.h...

It is based on the Beat concept from several years back and will be slotted below the new Sonic as the smallest Chevy in the US. Not really comparable to the Leaf or Volt for it is much smaller. A more interesting comparison will be with the forthcoming Prius C hybrid subcompact.


nanphosphate
By AnnihilatorX on 10/12/2011 1:23:48 PM , Rating: 2
Caption of the picture and the sentence before the picture both write nanphosphate

do you mean nanophosphate?




Leaf's range?
By Rzp on 10/15/2011 2:44:29 PM , Rating: 2
a 2013 car with Leaf's range looks an epic fail to me (just like Volt, overpriced, overated , overhyped hybrid garbage - mostly because its from an american automaker), there are 200 miles chinese cars coming next year already. i wouldnt be surprised with 300 miles range EVs at that point (2013).




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