EV-Modders Wait for Electric Chevrolet Spark
The electric Chevrolet Spark may not be very exciting to car enthusiasts. It's a very small city car with limited road abilities. Some may also question its look, but here's the best thing: it's a Chevrolet. Because there is something about Chevrolet that doesn't exist in any other brand, and that is parts availability.
Chevrolet makes high performance cars like the Corvette. The ZR1 version is a true supercar that stands out because anyone can walk into a Chevrolet dealership and buy its 600 hp V8 engine with no questions asked. It's not that easy with European brands. The customer would have to explain to a dealer what model he owns, and if he doesn't have own one, the dealer could refuse to sell an engine. In other words, there's no obligation to a non-customer.
This is where an electric Chevrolet might be a huge opportunity. Sure, the Chevrolet Volt is already there, but it's nearly impossible to reuse its parts in any other car. The T-shaped battery requires a specific chassis and its electric motor is too well integrated with the internal combustion engine (ICE).
There are a lot of EV enthusiasts who dream of converting an old car to electric drive. Some have already bought a car for that purpose, but the conversion is not that easy. Installing the battery pack is the easiest part. Replacing an ICE by an electric motor behind a manual transmission is also doable, if you're a DIY type.. But then it gets tricky. Connecting the motor, the inverter, the charger and the battery sounds easy, but making them work properly in the most efficient manner is difficult. Things would be considerably easier if it were possible to source the motor, the inverter, the battery and everything that makes them work together from a single supplier. Could Chevrolet be that supplier?
Let's hope GM is thinking about it. All the other companies in that market are either very small or they don't deal with private customers. The Chevrolet Spark has been rumored to come with a 85-kW motor. Nothing's known about the battery yet, but the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive has 17.6-kWh pack, despite having a smaller motor, so we may expect something similar in the Spark. It doesn't sound like much, but old cars are much lighter than newer models, so it should be enough for many uses. A 85-kW motor and a 18-kWh battery pack would be fine for an old Volkswagen Beetle. GM made something unusual last year, it released a video explaining how an electric motor works.
Nothing's known for sure but this video is a clear signal that there people who believe in EVs at GM. Let's remind them that there are several companies making kit cars, with the Porsche 550 Spyder a favorite. Some people have already made electric versions. An electric dune buggy could also be nice. There are today several British companies building AC Cobras replicas with Corvette engines. A lot more people, from all different background, could build EVs if only there was a complete electric drivetrain from a well-known brand on the market. That appears to be in the works.
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