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Chevy greenlights electric version of Spark

Chevrolet is hedging its alternative fuel bets by adding an electric subcompact to its line-up.


Chevrolet appears to be hedging its bets on the electric car market, announcing that it will produce an all-electric version of the Chevrolet Spark subcompact for the U.S. market in 2013.

The auto manufacturer has been preaching the benefits of its extended range electric power train as the best fit for American drivers who want to dip their toes in electric driving, but it has also been testing all-electric vehicles in Asia and India. Tests of those EVs, which were developed jointly by GM Daewoo, LG Chem, and LG Electronics, have proven successful, and parent company General Motors has decided to bring the all-electric platform to the U.S. in the Chevrolet Spark.

That decision puts GM more in line with Ford, which will offer consumers a range of electric options for drivers, including hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and all-electric power trains to suit their eco-preferences. GM currently produces hybrid, eAssist "mild hybrid," and extended-range electric vehicles. The Spark EV will be GM's first all-electric car in the U.S. since the EV1 was scrapped in the 1990s.

The Spark EV's battery will be produced by A123 Systems, but details on its size or range have not been released. However, it's the same electric power train that is in the all-electric Cruze test fleet vehicles in Korea. The conventional gasoline powered Spark, which goes on sale in the U.S. in 2012, is equipped with a 1.2-liter engine producing 80 horsepower, and the European model achieves 55 mpg in combined city and highway driving.

Chevrolet hasn't announced which states will get the Spark EVs or when, but California is one of the target markets.

A cutaway of the Spark EV's electric power train.
A cutaway of the Spark EV's electric power train. Chevrolet