Chevrolet Pushes Electric-Powered Spark Into Production, U.S. Market

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The number of battery-electric small cars on sale in the U.S. is about to grow yet again. Chevrolet announced today that it will sell an electric-powered version of the upcoming 2013 Spark hatchback around the world, including in North America.

The Spark, which is already on sale in global markets, will come to the United States for the 2013 model year, which will render it the smallest car sold by General Motors in North America. Just how small is it? About four inches longer than a Fiat 500, though it has five doors.

U.S-spec Spark models will differ slightly from those offered around the globe. Chevy plans on adding a little more aggressive front fascia, along with larger headlamp assemblies. North American Spark models will utilize a 83-hp, 1.2-liter I-4, and will send that power to the front wheels through either a five-speed manual transmission or likely a four-speed automatic transmission

For those Spark drivers who need fewer miles between refills and want to go greener, however, Chevrolet will offer a Spark EV. The car will be sold in limited quantities and only in select states, but it’ll mark the first true battery-electric GM vehicle offered to the public since the EV1.

This also isn’t the first time GM has shoehorned an electric powertrain under the hood of a Spark: the production Spark EV will likely be based on the Beat EV (Beat and Spark are two different names for the same model), which GM tested extensively in India. This time, however, the Spark EV will use nanophosphate lithium-ion battery packs, which were designed and will be supplied by A123 Systems. A123 signed a deal with GM back in August to engineer and supply these batteries.

GM says that pricing for both models – along with the estimated range for the EV -- will be announced at next month’s Los Angeles International Auto Show.

Source: GM

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