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.”

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