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Little Chevy Spark EV packs big power (pictures)

The electric version of the Spark accelerates quickly, but its battery pack gives it only range enough for short commutes.

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Wayne Cunningham
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1 of 12 Josh Miller/CNET
Chevy launched the Spark in the US as a subcompact with a tiny 1.25-liter gasoline engine, and this year is using the platform for a new electric car. As is typical of most modern electric cars, the range is less than 100 miles.
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2 of 12 Josh Miller/CNET
The Spark is a hatchback, with four doors. There isn't a lot of room in back, and the cabin is only designed for four passengers.
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3 of 12 Josh Miller/CNET
In EV form, the Spark's front intakes are covered for better aerodynamic performance. The grille plates use a design Chevy developed for the Volt.
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4 of 12 Josh Miller/CNET
Chevy cleverly hides the rear door handles in the plastic panel to the rear of the side window.
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5 of 12 Josh Miller/CNET
At about 12.5 feet long, the Spark EV is a bit smaller than a Peterbilt tractor.
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Directly under the hood sit the power control electronics, with the electric motor buried underneath. This drivetrain is good for 140 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque.
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As in the gasoline Spark, the cabin's roof is comfortably high and a touch-screen LCD sits in the center of the dashboard.
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8 of 12 Josh Miller/CNET
Rear seat space is a little tight, and Chevy puts a plastic cup holder insert in the middle of the bench.
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9 of 12 Josh Miller/CNET
The drive selector looks like a transmission shifter, and even has the standard PRNDL gate. But it is purely electronic, with no actual gears to shift or engage.
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10 of 12 Josh Miller/CNET
The LCD instrument cluster is unique to the electric version of the Spark, and can display more in-depth information or this simplified screen.
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11 of 12 Josh Miller/CNET
Chevy calls this infotainment system MyLink, but its look and features are quite a bit different from those of the MyLink system in larger Chevy cars.
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12 of 12 Josh Miller/CNET
Chevy added some screens specific to the Spark EV on the center screen, such as this power flow animation.

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