Print 23 comment(s) - last by Alexvrb.. on Nov 21 at 12:38 AM

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV in San Francisco  (Source:
The 2014 Spark will also have a SAE combo charger for DC Fast Charging

General Motors (GM) has released some new information about its 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV, which it claims will excel in power and range.

According to GM, the 2014 Spark EV will have an oil-cooled magnet motor that is capable of 130 HP, or 100 kW. Coupled with the 400 lb.-ft. of torque, the Spark can reach 0-60 mph in under eight seconds. 

“When our team set out to develop the propulsion system for Spark EV, we knew we had to provide surprising fun-to-drive acceleration with maximum efficiency,” said Spark EV Chief Engineer Chuck Russell.

“What we think customers will enjoy most is how fun Spark EV is to drive; it’s seamless and power is available at every stage of the drive. This will help us to provide an exciting option for those customers who are looking for an EV that’s as much fun to drive as it is environmentally responsible.”

Aside from power, Spark has another attractive feature: it's charging abilities. According to GM, the 2014 Spark will have a SAE combo charger for DC Fast Charging, allowing an 80 percent charge in just 20 minutes. This will certainly allow for more EV range within Spark's lithium ion battery pack, which will be over 20 kWh. 

Last year, it was announced that the Spark would use a different battery pack from the Volt after an investigation was launched into the cause of a fire during NHTSA testing. Instead, it was said the Spark would use batteries built by A123 Systems. The A123 batteries are less fire prone as they use lithium phosphate chemistry. However, A123 Systems just recently filed for bankruptcy.

GM also made sure to mention that the Spark EV's motor and drive system will both be manufactured in early 2013 in the United States -- which is a first. 

Source: General Motors

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RE: Not a bad start.
By Alexvrb on 11/20/2012 12:51:13 AM , Rating: 2
What component will overheat? The oil-cooled electric motor? The only possible weakness would be the battery pack. But I'd expect the Li-Phos batteries to be better in this regard than other currently available high-density Li chemistries.

RE: Not a bad start.
By Alexvrb on 11/20/2012 12:58:46 AM , Rating: 2
Oh, I forgot to mention that the battery pack is liquid cooled/heated like other high-end solutions. Not air cooled like the Leaf.

Even so, severe ambient temperatures do have an impact, though lessened by the aforementioned cooling/heating system.

RE: Not a bad start.
By Dr of crap on 11/20/2012 8:39:32 AM , Rating: 2
My question about this -
Doesn't it use it's own battery power to do the heating/cooling of the battery pack?

And is this included in the range given or does it reduce the range?

RE: Not a bad start.
By Alexvrb on 11/21/2012 12:38:15 AM , Rating: 2
Yes. At fairly moderate temperatures the system doesn't hurt at all. However it can help a bit by keeping the battery pack at its optimal temperature, this also helps with durability and long term performance.

At more extreme temperatures, even though you're using more power to heat/cool the pack, it actually still results in a net increase in range over simply letting the battery pack strain along at temperatures outside its happy operating range. It also significantly improves long-term reliability/performance. Look at the Leaf in very hot weather to see an example of why air-cooling is not always sufficient.

I suspect the range given is typical use in somewhat moderate temperatures. You'll lose some range depending on a number of factors including temperature, however the liquid cooling system will be more effective at mitigating these problems in very hot weather than air cooling.

RE: Not a bad start.
By Samus on 11/20/2012 1:50:26 PM , Rating: 2
Listen, I hate to use top gear as I reference as it is highly sensationalized with British snobbery but they reviewed a much more advanced electric car a few years back and we're able to get both models they received to overheat when driven 'hard'. I'd consider constant 0-60s driving hard. The regenerative braking, speed controller or battery pack is going to overheat before the motor does, which will be within minutes if driven this way. It's not a sports car and isn't built to be thrown around on track day.

RE: Not a bad start.
By Alexvrb on 11/21/2012 12:27:26 AM , Rating: 2
You just said "a bunch of 0-60s". I was thinking more like on the street, like 0-60 from light to light. I don't think it would have an issue with this sort of use, really. I guess you really meant to say flog the piss out of it in a ridiculous manner. For example:

Top Gear? 0-60 (or more) full bore, 60-0 (or more) hardest possible braking, repeat till it bleeds. If you had said from the start that you were thinking that Top Gear could bring it to its knees by hammering the piss out of it on the track, I wouldn't have bothered.

RE: Not a bad start.
By Jedi2155 on 11/20/2012 1:56:37 AM , Rating: 2
Its also the nanotech Iron Phosphate models which has a lot of power capacity meaning it can probably handle power draw without too much heat generation.

RE: Not a bad start.
By Alexvrb on 11/21/2012 12:18:14 AM , Rating: 2
Good catch. I hope we see cells like this in more vehicles.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain
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