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$25,000 electric Spark offers 400 lb-ft of torque in a tiny battery-powered package.
Electric cars are touted as the transportation mode of the future. That may be the case, but for now they're just too damn expensive for most buyers to afford. Enter the new Chevrolet Spark EV. Priced at under $25,000 (with federal tax credits), GM's first fully electric car you can buy undercuts the $32k Ford Focus EV and Nissan's $27k Leaf by a couple grand, but is still a few grand more expensive than the $21k Mitsubishi i. It is, however, nearly double the price of a standard Spark (if you don't get the tax credit).
Benefiting from Chevy's experience with the Volt hybrid, which is said to account for the lion's share of plug-in EV purchases in the US, the Spark EV has an electric motor offering a respectable 130 horsepower. That's already considerably more than the 85-horsepower 1.2-liter four in the conventional Spark hatch, but its massive 400 lb-ft of torque blows its internal-combustion counterpart out of the water to to give it instantaneous acceleration. GM is keeping conspicuously mum on the exact performance figures, as well as the range, but claims that the Spark EV will be able to travel farther on a single charge than any other vehicle in its segment.
Longevity of the 560-lb, 20 kWh lithium battery pack is guaranteed up to 100,000 miles or eight years, and is the first in its class to offer SAE Combo DC Fast Charge capability, which means you can charge it from a specially-installed quick charger, or from a common 120- or 240-volt wall socket. The electric hatch is being launched in California (where it can use the HOV lane no matter how many or few people are in the car), Oregon, Canada and South Korea. The rest of the world will just have to wait, but that's a refrain we've heard plenty of times from EV proponents already.