2014 Chevrolet Spark EV User Reviews
- $26,685 - $27,010
- hov lane decals, economical
- very small
Purchased As New
On 23 Oct 2013 I bought the Chevy Spark 2LT EV, primarily for diamond lane access and $10K gov't incentives - net cost $20K, and curiosity. Several friends were always talking about their Tesla cars and this was a cheap way into those conversations.
I'll describe my experiences so far, after driving about 500 miles.
The Spark EV has a 21kwh battery (from dead battery to full charge adds 21kwh, about $3, to your electric bill). Goes about 80 miles on that charge. The Nissan Leaf has a similar range but is much heavier and thus a bigger battery to charge. The Tesla has a 300 mile range and a Huge battery to charge.
The main Lithium battery is supplemented by a regular 12 volt car battery to run the usual car instrumentation.
In Calif the wait is 5 weeks to get the diamond lane decals. Depending on when the dealer applied for it, which they can do as soon as they know the VIN number, determines how long you have to wait after purchase. Mine took 3 weeks, indicating they are having no problem selling these. Unlike driving a new car without license plates (registration in temporary window sticker until your plates arrive), you will be ticketed if stopped without the HOV stickers on your car.
You discover that the car is not equipped with a couple features described in the Owners Manual - backup camera and 30 Volt DC charging. Maybe next year's model.
Operating the car: quite a learning curve at the beginning.
How to start the car? Ans: Press the Unlock button on the keyfob to disable the alarm and unlock the door. Unplug the charger and store the cord, close the charger socket door, get in the car with keyfob in pocket or nearby.
After opening the door, the instrument panel will indicate the miles remaining on the battery and indicate whether or not it has a "full charge", or how long remaining to achieve full charge with the charging cord left plugged in.
Put on seatbelt first to avoid annoying beeping after starting, press on footbrake, momentarily press Power switch, wait a second for the "Ready" indicator on the instrument cluster screen. The car is now "started" and the instrument panel (behind the steering wheel) and center displays light up.
With foot on brake, take gearshift out of park and push down on parking brake switch to turn it off. Note red parking brake indicator on instrument panel goes out and gearshift position is shown on instrument panel.
To turn off car, place foot on brake, put gearshift in Park, pull up on Park switch, and momentarily press Power switch. After getting out of car, do not close door with the keyfob inside or it will beep at you.
Before turning off car, go to center display panel and change charging current from 8 to 12 amps. It always goes back to 8 after starting. Otherwise it will take a lot longer to charge from the 120VAC, 15 amp house current wall socket. I haven't decided yet whether to pay the $1000 to install a 220V charger.
Gearshift is on floor between front seats with PRNDL positions engraved in the plastic next to the gearshift. However it is not lit and at night you have to read the instrument panel to see what gear you are in.
When driving, if you take your foot off the accelerator pedal the car slows gently. It will coast without slowing much if you put it in N. It will slow down rapidly if you put it in L, which "regenerates" to charge the battery from the energy from slowing down. However you only get back about a third of the energy compared to the amount it took to come up to speed.
With its short wheelbase it tends to weave a little compared with my Mercedes 420SEL. It has a lot of torque - rumor it will beat Camaro first 100 feet.
Looks like I've run out of space ......read morehide
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- slow charger
Purchased As New
my 1st EV. I found out that leasing in CA is easy on the wallet. $1399 down, $217 a month (includes tax). And you get $2500 back from the state, a free level 2 charger( installation extra) and a car pool lane sticker. It works out to be a free car for me when you factor in the cost of the gas you are not using vs. PGE costs. The car is VERY quick, a bit of torque steer when you gas( electrify it?) it hard. It rides very smooth for a small car but doesn't like pavement cracks. The warranty is bumper to bumper for the term of the lease. The battery starts out at about 82 miles range when fully charged but compensates for your particular driving habits. I see mine going to over 100 miles on the display. AC and heater use cut into battery power. Head room is very good, seats are a bit solid in the cushion and narrow in the chest. Good driving position. The mirrors are oddly shaped reducing view to rear. The trunk is good for 5 or 6 paper grocery bags of food. NO spare tire; just a repair kit with inflator. Easy to learn controls and programs. I smile every time a floor the gas(electric) pedal! It accelerates hard all the way to its limit. Passing another car is no issue. It has a low gear you can use like downshifting a manual transmission to slow the car- in is used to charge the battery more aggressively then just letting off the gas; it slows the car enough that the brake lights come on automatically when used so you don't get rearended. I plan to return this car to the dealer at the end of the lease and pick up the new and improved model; quick charging, longer range, bigger cabin, etc. So far no regrets only smiles...read morehide
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