It’s safe to say that, amidst the hype leading up to its release for a few years, the Chevrolet Volt didn’t take off as well as GM, Chevy, and electric car enthusiasts (myself included) had hoped. In fact, the Leaf is outselling the Volt 7:1. So Chevrolet has decided to take another go at the eco-friendly car market with the all-electric 2013 Spark.
But is it enough for Chevy cars to regain share of the electric car market? Maybe not, considering its biggest competitors, currently led by Nissan’s Leaf and followed by the Mitsubishi i, showing great potential.
The Chevrolet Spark
First, let’s take a look at the Chevrolet Spark. GM is releasing the mini-car in both gas and all-electric versions to select regions of US and global markets in 2013, but Chevy is keeping a lot of details under wraps until the car is closer to its release. But here’s what we know:
- The lithium phosphate batteries for the Spark will be made by A123 Systems Inc., at factories in Michigan, which are also providing the batteries for the Fisker Karma, a luxury electric car
- The Spark’s battery will have 20 kilowatt-hours capacity, which is actually higher than the Volt.
- It will look pretty sharp for a mini-car (check out the gallery below)
Can it compete?
At this point, it’s hard to judge. However, it doesn’t look good.
The fact that the Nissan Leaf already has a huge lead in sales makes it the go-to for most people interested in picking up an electric car. Add to that the fact that the current leader in hybrid car sales, Toyota, is releasing an updated version of the plug-in Prius this year which could also take away some of the Spark’s marketshare.
But most importantly, when compared to the Leaf, which has a 24 kWh lithium-ion battery that you can charge wirelessly, the Spark just doesn’t measure up.
Unless Chevrolet can make the Spark the most affordable EV on the market, or add some killer features before its release (eg. wireless charging, an app to track battery levels and performance), GM’s line of eco friendly cars may be in trouble.