Evidence mounts that the Chevy Spark EV is the best overall electric vehicle
Guess which electric car was chosen the winner by Car and Driver in its most recent shoot-out of popular EV/Plug-ins? Now, name the EV that has 400 ft pounds of torque. This car has the lowest 5- year cost of ownership according to Kelly Blue Book. The gas version of this same car just scored the highest in its category in the world’s toughest crash test and is a Top Safety Pick. Finally, the car we are talking about is also the second most fuel efficient vehicle in the US market. If you guessed the Chevy Spark EV you’re right.
The Chevy Spark EV sold 98 units last month continuing its monthly growth rate over the past few. That was surprising since most EVs nose-dived in US sales last month. The world of electric cars is extremely small. Even when counting the plug-in hybrids on the market the total number of EVs sold in the United States in January 2014 was 5,470. To put that into some perspective, in that same month Toyota sold 11,402 Prius cars not including the plug-in version of that car. Even as green cars go, EVs are a small sub segment of the marketplace. Chevy seems to have a hit on its hands and may want to consider building a few more than it needs to meet the California and other ZEV state mandates.
The Spark EV costs just $26,421 to own for 5 years according to Kelly Blue Book which is the best of all EVs and plug-ins. That means including fuel, insurance, maintenance and factoring in tax considerations this car will cost you about $440 per month. That makes it even more affordable than the Toyota Corolla, though in fairness we should point out that the Spark EV is a mini-car and much smaller than a Corolla. Still, the Spark EV is not costing you anything extra to own compared to the Spark gasoline version, which is the most affordable subcompact in the market. If you want a financial reality check, according to the results we got when we used Tesla’s Model S cost of ownership calculator we came up with a monthly cost to own of $1,095. That was for a base 2013 Model S with no navigation system, no high speed charging capability, no supercharger compatibility and it did include the fuel savings and all tax credits (in Massachusetts). The Tesla Model S is by far a superior automobile to the Chevy Spark, and if you have the means we highly recommend it. It may be the best car in the world at any price, but its price point excludes most Americans.
All the EVs and plug-ins I have driven other than the Tesla Model S are slow. Despite what some call high torque, they just don’t go, and they try to make your driving style that of a hyper miler by resisting all your attempts to drive normally or have any fun at all. The Chevy Spark EV is quickly gaining a reputation as a fun to drive car. Car and Driver called the Spark EV “Quick and Spry, fun and cheerful...” That magazine also ranked it number one among all EVs, setting aside the Tesla Model S, which was not included in the comparison. The Spark EV ran to 60 MPH in under 8 seconds, the informal cut-off for any fun in any car at any price.
The Spark EV is not for everyone. It is not a family car and it is not a luxury car. However, as a city car or commuter car it is hard to find an EV that has so much going for it.