Chevrolet's Spark minicar may not have been showered with positive reviews so far, and it may not exactly create the kind of enthusiasm it needs to succeed.
Compared to the 84 hp power plant in the gasoline version of the Spark, the EV will pack a 130 hp electric motor. It appears that the EV version will be the much more desirable car to own with a 0-60 mph time of under 8 seconds and 400 lb-ft - compared to just 83 lb-ft in the gasoline version. Of course, there are some downsides.
First, the driving range is that of an EV - don't expect much more than 70 miles from the 20 kWh battery. A full charge from a 240 volt outlet will take 7 hours, but you can opt for a fast charger that fills the battery by 80 percent within 20 minutes. For the purpose of getting around town, that may be plenty for most of us. Second, there is the price: it will be close to $25,000, including the $7,500 tax credit, which you will, of course, have to come up with in the first place.
Third, even if it is not a cheap small car, and the $12,000 or so premium over a base Spark can buy a lot of gasoline, the EV is really a barebones vehicle for very basic needs. If you are looking for more luxury, there are some other pricier options out there, including BMW's i3 electric car, which will also be on display as a near-production version in LA. However, the compact i3 is not a big car either and will be priced close to a 3-series sedan, which, in today's market, suggests at least $40,000 and likely more than $50,000 if BMW is comparing the i3 to the 3-series hybrid.