Chevy To Show Tricked-Out Spark EV Concept

By · October 31, 2013

Souped-up Chevy Spark EV concept.

Souped-up Chevy Spark EV concept.

As anybody that has driven an electric vehicle can attest, EVs are fun to drive. Who can argue with instant acceleration? But a concept version of the Chevrolet Spark EV to be displayed at this year’s Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association Show—an event more associated with monster trucks with huge wheels than with battery-electric vehicles—shows how far the fun-factor can be brought to electric cars.

General Motors will exhibit the tricked-out Chevrolet Spark EV in Las Vegas at SEMA, which runs November 5 - 8.

The SEMA Spark EV concept has these features:

  • custom exterior colors and graphics
  • a special backlit Chevy bowtie on the grille
  • performance billet aluminum wheels
  • Chevy accessory sill plates, floor mats, and pedal cover
  • body-color trim plates and green stitching on the shifter boot and steering wheel

That’s just aesthetics, you are probably saying. How is it better performance-wise than the ordinary Spark EV, which is already pretty fun to drive? According to General Motors, the SEMA Spark EV concept boosts torque to 440 pound-feet compared to 400 lb-ft in the regular Spark EV. That shaves the concept car’s zero-to-60 mph acceleration to 7.1 seconds—from 7.5 ticks for the production version, said GM.

That’s achieved by a battery pack capable of 140-kilowatts of power output, rather than 120kW for the production version. Software is the key, according to GM, which points to a “power delivery algorithm that enhances acceleration.” GM is not providing details about the attributes of its algorithm.

But what is evident is a “military style flip-up activation switch” on the instrument panel that engages the extra performance features, enabling more torque, horsepower, and performance. (Other automakers just use a “sport” mode button, but an “activation switch” sounds so much cooler.) The production Spark EV claims 82 miles per charge. Since it is only a concept car, GM does not have data on how the performance features impact driving range or battery life.

When can you buy one of these tricked-out Sparks EVs? “We have no production plans at this time,” said Annalisa Esposito Bluhm, a GM spokesperson. “Concepts enable us to gauge public interest and acceptance. We continue to evaluate the business case on programs like the Spark EV concept.”


· · 4 years ago

Instead of hauling this Spark EV "concept" all the way to Nevada - a state where you can't even buy a "standard" Spark EV - why doesn't GM simply offer the car for sale in the 48 states beyond California and Oregon?

Also . . . concept cars are typically supposed to offer either significant sheet metal restyling or real technological advancements beyond what's currently being sold in the showroom. We're really stretching the definition of "concept car" here if a couple of cheap/ugly decals and aftermarket aluminum wheels elevates it to this status.

· · 4 years ago

I think you failed to read about the performance enhancing software, etc. Admittedly this is not a huge leap from the production version. But hey, GM doesn't even know if the production version will go into volume production. So I think it is kind of cool that they did a SEMA version.

The Spark EV is selling well -- within the confines of two states and a limited market -- as a story I wrote for tomorrow will tell you.

· · 4 years ago

Thanks for this story Alysha, I;m rooting for the Spark EV and hope demand builds to a point where GM is pressured to expand sales beyond CA and OR.

· · 4 years ago

Great article Alysha, i think most of us are upset that GM hasn't offered this car to all 50 states. I personally believe it would be a big hit and if by chance they bumped up range 10 percent per year model under 30k they alone would take electric cars out of the nich market.

· · 4 years ago

But this thing doesn't have real powertrain upgrade, just some color, interior and paint....

· · 4 years ago

You guys need to get out a little more. The idea behind SEMA is not for the manufacturers to build full on concept cars. It's to show what can be done to a standard car through upgrades and customization.

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