Guess who just un-killed the electric car.
General Motors announced today that it will sell an all-electric city car starting in 2013. The microcompact Chevrolet Spark EV will be sold in select urban markets around the world including the United States.
GM's Chief Marketing Officer, Joel Ewanick, told Fox Business Network that the Spark EV will be a very low volume vehicle and initially offered only in California and the Washington D.C. metropolitan area.
Details on the Spark EV’s range and price were not revealed, but earlier this year GM tested a version of the Spark EV in India called the Beat EV that was powered by a 20 kilowatt-hour battery pack that was good for up to 80 miles between charges.
Unlike the Chevrolet Volt, which can travel an EPA-rated 35 miles on battery power alone before an internal combustion engine turns on to generate electricity for longer trips, the Spark EV is a pure electric car.
A gasoline-powered version of the Spark is also set to go on sale in the United States in 2012, and will be imported from one of GM's overseas facilities. It is currently built in South Korea, India and Uzbekistan. The location where the conversion to electric power will take place has not yet been announced, but the nanophosphate lithium-ion battery pack for the Spark EV will be supplied by Massachusetts-based A123 Systems.
The Spark EV is set to hit the road a decade after GM ended the revolutionary, but ill-fated EV1 program that made it the first major automaker to sell an electric car in the United States in the modern era. This time around it is playing catch-up with its Big Three competitors, Ford and Chrysler, both of which have previously announced plans to begin selling electric cars in the United States next year. But GM is already looking toward the next generation.
In addition to the Spark EV, GM is continuing development of its EN-V electric mobility concept, a two-seat, upright pod that uses technology from Segway to balance itself on two parallel wheels. Now branded a Chevrolet, GM is hoping to integrate the low-speed electric vehicle into the transportation infrastructure of the Tianjin Eco-City, a city of the future being built in China to showcase sustainable technologies and urban design.
The electric car may not yet have had its revenge, but it’s certainly making a comeback at GM.