Chevrolet Spark Delivers Industry-Leading EV Power

More than 130 hp enables 0-60 mph acceleration under eight seconds

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – The Chevrolet Spark EV will set a benchmark in performance for an urban city electric vehicle when it arrives in dealer showrooms in California in the summer of 2013.  Mating the permanent magnet electric motor, which produces more than 100 kW (130 hp) with the coaxial drive unit will result in 0-60 mph acceleration in under eight seconds. 

The heart of the Spark EV’s propulsion system is the GM designed oil-cooled, permanent magnet motor.  Putting more than half a million road miles on development versions of the Spark EV enabled engineers to optimize the performance of the motor by using specifically designed bar wound copper stator and unique rotor configuration. 

The motor and drive unit will be manufactured beginning in early 2013 at GM’s transmission plant in White Marsh, Md., near Baltimore. It will be the first time a U.S. auto manufacturer has built both a complete electric motor and drive unit for a modern electric vehicle in the United States.

“When our team set out to develop the propulsion system for the Spark EV, we knew we had to provide surprising fun-to-drive acceleration with maximum efficiency,” said chief engineer Chuck Russell. “What we think customers will enjoy most is how fun the Spark EV is to drive; it’s seamless and power is available at every stage of the drive.  This will help us to provide an exciting option for those customers who are looking for an EV that’s as much fun to drive as it is environmentally responsible.”

The fun-to-drive factor is validated by the Spark EV motor’s ability to produce smooth, yet instantaneous torque of about 400 lb.-ft., which allows Spark EV’s power to exceed that of some small performance cars. The Spark EV’s performance will help broaden the car’s appeal beyond urban commuters.       

While performance was important, engineers also focused on making the Spark EV’s drive unit compact, simple and efficient.  The cast aluminum case provides excellent structure and weight benefits, while the coaxial design enabled a compact package for the drive unit, which is mounted directly to the cradle for improved noise and vibration performance.

The team was able to reduce development time and cost by using many of the same components and systems from the Chevrolet Volt and GM’s Two-Mode hybrid truck programs. More than 75 percent of the propulsion system components used are from other GM vehicle programs.

For example, the bar wound stator technology used in the motor has been proven in the Volt, Two-Mode hybrid and eAssist electrification systems. The motor control and cooling system used in the Spark EV is largely shared with the Volt.

The single stage planetary gear design was selected as the best choice for optimum efficiency.  The differential assembly chosen for the drive unit is used in GM’s 6-speed transmissions found in the Chevrolet Sonic, Cruze and Malibu.  

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4 million cars and trucks a year.  Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at

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Kevin Kelly
GM Battery and Hybrid Technology Communications
(313) 316-9742

Annalisa Esposito Bluhm
Chevrolet Communications
(586) 713-5907