Automakers like Chevrolet and FIAT are bringing all-electric debuts to – where else? – the Los Angeles Auto Show in an environmental mad dash to produce the cleanest cars on the market. Also, California law requires them to have electric vehicles, but don’t be a spoilsport.
Whatever their motives, the high-voltage debuts could send shockwaves through an industry that is quickly becoming more accustomed with building electric cars. Big time companies are rolling out vehicles like the Honda Fit EV and Focus Electric to compete with upstarts like the Tesla Model S. Can the new models from Chevrolet and FIAT add fuel to the fire?
The Spark EV will go on sale in California next summer as a 2014 model. It uses a 20kWh lithium-ion battery pack and oil-cooled, permanent magnet motor to produce the equivalent of 130 horsepower and a whopping 400 lb.-ft of instant torque. That’s good enough to power from 0-60mph in under eight seconds. But that’s not the best part. The SAE combo charger on the Spark EV allows DC Fast Charging of up to 80 percent in just twenty minutes. A regular 240V charge takes seven hours and a 120V cord is standard, but the potential for quick charges available with the Spark EV is a potential game-changer in the EV world.
We know much less about the upcoming FIAT 500e, except that it will be zero emission and gets unique wheels and front fascia. We spotted a 500e in testing near our offices over the summer, and thought the giant EV sticker on the back window may have just been a decoy to distract us from the car’s actual purpose. Turns out we out-thought ourselves. It will be interesting to see what technological advances the micro-car maker brings to the electric table.
We’ll know much more about the 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV and FIAT 500e after their Los Angeles Auto Show debut on November 29. We’ll be reporting live when the show kicks off in two weeks, so stay tuned for photos and video from one of the biggest shows in the world.