I recently took delivery of my 2014 Chevy Spark EV. I have been (im)patiently waiting to buy this car since GM started releasing specs on the powertrain, as the numbers were shaping up to be pretty good for a fun, sporty EV. My wife has a Nissan Leaf as her daily driver, and I previously owned a Think City, and while both were very practical, I wanted something more fun. I bought the vehicle from Wentworth Chevrolet in Portland and had put my order in shortly after the Spark EV went on sale, however I had to wait a few months before the DC fast charge option was available. The process to get a car that wasn't being manufactured yet was a little confusing at first, but after bouncing between a few different people, I finally got linked up with a really helpful and knowledgeable salesman, Larry Hogan. I was able order the exact car that I wanted, and I believe it was the first car with SAE Combo charging sold in Oregon. A friend of mine works at GM and got me employee pricing, which basically covered the additional cost of the 2LT and DC fast charge options.
I'm a big fan of hybrids and EVs in general, I like small cars, and I like trying new things...so I decided to get this EV hot hatch and see how it goes. From a very high level, this is the best performance value you can get from an electric car...power to weight to dollar ratio is the best on the market, aligning well with my interests. It's the quickest EV you can buy that is NOT a Tesla, and it's only $20,000 after the government tax credit, so it's a great value.
I took delivery of the car last month (January 2014) and I've already started to tinker.
Some specifics about my Chevy Spark EV as delivered, according to GM (for those who find this and aren't familiar with the Spark EV):
- Options include 2LT trim package and DC fast charge option (RPO code: CBT)
- 2989 pound curb weight
- 140 hp, 400 ft lbs
- Single speed transmission with 3.17 planetary gearset
- EPA battery range is 82 miles
I like to box myself in with some constraints for projects, so here's what I'm trying to accomplish:
- Daily driven...the more I drive it, the more money I'm saving on fuel!
- Competitive in already existing classes against similar gas powered cars without any special allowances
- What I build can be easily duplicated, no engineering degree required!
- Car must be able to haul 4 tires+wheels and tire changing equipment inside OR my huge dog on non-race days
The most obvious places to make a competitive EV are autocross and hill climbs. After reading the SCCA solo rule book a few times (SNORE!) and going to the Nationals in Lincoln last year, I decided STF seemed like the right place for it. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't, but you've got to start somewhere and that seemed like a fun class. Of course, I'll have to learn a heck of a lot by trying to petition and get it into the list of allowed cars in STF, but I guess that's part of the...um...fun?
If you assume that the Spark EV was allowed to participate in STF, these are some things that I could do that may (or may not!) make it more competitive than a stock Spark EV (in order of appearance in the rule book):
- Replace driver and passenger seat (minimum weight of 25 lbs each, must attach in OE locations)
- Add 2 point strut bar (between top of front struts)
- Tires (duh!) - Class allows up to 225, 140+ treadwear (until 2015, then 200+)
- Wheels - Class allows up to 7.5"
- ABS can be disabled
- Anti-roll bars (likely add to the rear?)
- Lowered ride height
- Suspension bushings
- More front camber from camber bolts or camber plates
- More rear camber from axle shims
- Lightweight 12V battery
- Traction control can be disabled
- Reprogrammed powertrain control module and/or piggyback controller
- "Engine" shields for accoustic/cosmetic purposes only can be removed
- "Engine" or transmission mount
In theory, those are the types of mods you're likely to see me attempt/consider for this build. Some are easier said than done, but that is the kind of stuff you'd expect to do if you're trying to be competitive in STF.
The local hill climb group basically follows SCCA rules and seems pretty open minded, so I expect it should be pretty straight forward to play with them too.
That seems like enough background info, I'm rambling. On to the fun stuff, actually building it instead of bench racing!
P.S. You can find basically a mirror of this thread on the Grassroots Motorsports forum here:
http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/ ... 158/page1/
This isn't my first race car, and I spend a fair bit of time over there so I'm trying to increase exposure to a non-EV centric crowd as well.