Thursday, March 22, 2012

Chevrolet Spark EV Will Be Made In South Korea

Published March 22, 2012

By Jeff Cobb

Today we learned from General Motors that the pending 2013 Chevy Spark EV will be imported from South Korea where it will be made alongside the standard global platform Spark.

“The Spark EV will be produced in Changwon, South Korea, the same location as the Spark with the internal combustion engine," said Randy Fox on behalf of Electric Vehicle Technology Communications.

We’re reporting this because where it would be produced was the subject of speculation when the car was announced, and we know people who are following its development have still been wondering.

Ironically, the Spark EV will make use of American-made A123 Systems batteries, which represents an inversion of how the Volt is still produced. The Volt uses Korean batteries, but is made in America.

More specifically, the Volt uses imported LG Chem cells that are assembled into their production-ready T-shaped battery packs in Brownstown, Mich., but plans to change this are imminent as LG Chem’s U.S. plant in Holland, Mich. is due for cell production.

Coming back to the electric Spark, Chevrolet recently turned what might have been a clandestine test drive into a coy media event by parading “camoflauged” near-production ready Spark EVs through Southern California.

So far, GM has not divulged what other markets other than California are due to get the little battery electric vehicle.

“The Spark EV will be sold in limited quantities in select U.S. and global markets starting in 2013 (as a 2014 model), including California,” Fox said. “We have not announced any additional markets beyond California and have not said exactly when in 2013 they will be available. “More news and information will be coming as we get closer to the introduction and launch of the Spark EV.”

We recently reported the range at 106 miles, but this was a mistake based on an off-handed quip GM’s test engineer made in reference to a quote from a Blues Brothers’ movie.

“Allow me to modify one of the best movie quotes of all time: ‘It's 106 miles to LA, we've got full battery charge, half a pack of twizzlers, it's dark … and we're wearing sunglasses - HIT IT!,’" she said.

Actually, the Spark EV's range – along with curb weight, price, top speed, on-board charger details, and other specifications – are still not being shared, Fox said, as these details are still being finalized.

Although Fox did not say so, it’s likely the company will continue using SAE charging connections, and not Chademo, and he did confirm DC fast charging will be available.


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