nrvous
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:51 pm

So it's time for another car...

Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:53 pm

OK, my kid needs a car to get to school now so that means three people with places to go in the house and only two cars to do it with. The math is not adding up!

I have a new Volt which I love and our trusty old Toyota SUV. I test drove 2016 Chevy Spark EV last week and thought it was an absolute hoot. The thought of owning that thing is really growing on me! The plan is to give the kid the SUV and my wife and I get another car for us.

I have like $10K max to devote to another car. So here's my dilemma, do I go out and spend the $10k on a 3yr lease on something like a Clarity PHEV or a Leaf? I would like to avoid another gas burning car if at all possible.

At the end of three years I would have nothing

OR....

Maybe I should get a Spark EV for $10k drive the heck out of it and still have something to show for it after three years.

The thing that is holding me back is I'm reading stories of battery degredation and making these barely 80 mile ranges look more like 50-60 after three years. Not a total deal breaker but it leaves me wondering about spending my $10k more wisely and questioning the wisdom of buying a used EV.

A few additional facts...
My commute right now is like 40 miles round trip and there is actually L2 at my work (at a buck an hour!).
There are times where I need to go more than 60 miles if I'm running errands so I guess I'd charge at work (read $$$) or swap cars with my wife on those days.
My wife doesn't drive all that much but there are times when she needs to go further than the Spark could probably take her so that means she probably gets the Volt and i'd get the Spark most days.

What does everyone think? Is it a bad idea to get a 3 year old Spark EV?

Chris101
Posts: 110
Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:37 am

Re: So it's time for another car...

Sun Sep 02, 2018 8:17 am

We got a 2014 last year in November and now that we've owned it almost 10 months, we have zero regrets about the purchase FWIW.

It had 15808 miles on it when we bought it and now has 19515 as of this moment. We love just plugging in and never worrying about gas prices!

We actually love the electric car ownership so much we've been toying with the idea of selling it so we can hurry up and buy a new Bolt next to have better range while still getting in on the $7500 rebate.

I guess what I'm saying is I just don't see the Spark as a bad buy.

nrvous
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:51 pm

Re: So it's time for another car...

Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:15 pm

Thanks for the reply! I have heard a few horror stories about battery degredation and decreased range. May I ask what your range is and if you've noticed it drop off at all since you've owned it?

MrDRMorgan
Posts: 1025
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:27 am
Location: Manteca in Central California

Re: So it's time for another car...

Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:54 pm

nrvous wrote:Thanks for the reply! I have heard a few horror stories about battery degredation and decreased range. May I ask what your range is and if you've noticed it drop off at all since you've owned it?
In May of 2015, I leased a 2015 Spark EV 2LT with DCFC. I just turned it in last May.

In July of 2015 I purchased, from a Chevy dealer, a used 2014 Spark EV w/o the DCFC option. It was a Hertz Rental car, had 1500 miles on the ODO and judging from the front tire wear, had been driven hard. Otherwise, it was perfect. Now, just over 3 years later it is still an excellent vehicle with 16k miles on the ODO. I drive mainly in L and most of my driving is local, in town and in stop and go traffic. My current battery capacity is 17.0 kWh and my average driving range today is running about 6.6 mi/kWh. The combined trip mileage plus Blue Ball GOM estimated range left is running about 100 miles. Expect the driving range may be lower depending on how you drive and whether you use the AC or the heater. You should expect you driving range to be significantly lower if it is winter and you make heavy use of the heater.

These are things you will learn as you drive the car throughout the year. The key to really enjoying this car is to know how to drive it and, if needed, where you can charge along the way so you can return home unstressed. I also have a 2016 Spark EV 2LT with DCFC that I purchased used last year. It too had been driven hard. In almost every way, it is performing as well as or better than my 2014. Current battery capacity is 16.7 kWh with a full-charge range of about 100 miles.

Yes, the HV battery will slowly degrade over time and I have seen the degradation on all three of my Spark EVs. But, the factory warranty covers the HV battery for 8 years / 100K miles or 35% or more degradation. In my case, even if the battery degraded to 12 kWh, I still would have a full-charge range of ~72 miles which would more than meet my daily driving needs. I expect and have seen my winter driving range to be significantly lower as I do use the heater.

When I drive, I want to be comfortable. So, for me, comfort first, range second. So far it has been working just fine. I strongly believe range concerns will diminish as more charging locations come on line.

A final note: The HV battery cells found in the 2014 Spark EV were manufactured by A123 Systems which also produced the cells for the Chevy Volt. I believe there have not been many problems with the HV battery in the Volt. The HV battery in the 2015 Spark EV was manufactured by LG and this was the first year LG was used. I have seen concerning information and have personally experienced problems with this LG battery. Last December I experienced a sudden 1.5 kWh drop in battery capacity. A friend of mine, who also had a 2015 Spark EV, experienced the same problem. The HV battery in the 2016 Spark EV appears to be performing more like the battery in the 2014 Spark EV even though the battery is manufactured by LG. While this is my personal opinion, I would suggest a 2014 or 2016 Spark EV if one planned to keep the car for a while. I plan to run mine into the ground.

I hope this information helps you. The Spark EV is one OUTSTANDING vehicle!

Chris101
Posts: 110
Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:37 am

Re: So it's time for another car...

Tue Sep 04, 2018 5:16 pm

nrvous wrote:Thanks for the reply! I have heard a few horror stories about battery degredation and decreased range. May I ask what your range is and if you've noticed it drop off at all since you've owned it?
We've only had it since November last year but so far zero change in battery capacity after about 4000 miles of use anyway (so not that much use obviously compared to others)

TheLondonBroiler
Posts: 188
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2017 6:25 am

Re: So it's time for another car...

Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:56 am

nrvous wrote: The plan is to give the kid the SUV
Smart. If I had a Spark EV when I was 17, even worse things would have happened.
nrvous wrote: lease on something like a Clarity PHEV or a Leaf?
Both are excellent choices IMHO
nrvous wrote: I would like to avoid another gas burning car if at all possible.
This was what put me in a Spark EV. I considered a used Volt, LEAF, and I-MIEV, but the Spark w/ DCFC was the most appealing for my needs/budget. I have a 62 mile roundtrip commute to work.
nrvous wrote: The thing that is holding me back is I'm reading stories of battery degredation and making these barely 80 mile ranges look more like 50-60 after three years.
I'm not certain if you're referring to three years from original manufacture date (the present), or three years from now. Right now with a mix of interstate driving @ ~60mph, county roads, and in town, my estimated range is over 90 miles on a charge (I have ~15.5kwh usable battery capacity and getting over 6 miles per kwh is easy when driving (mostly) economically). In three years from now, I believe Sparks will have a minimum of 12kw usable capacity, so yes, they will be limited to 50-60 miles, however, if you need/have multiple vehicles, a vehicle with 50-60 miles range that operates very cheaply and is emission free, is still quite practical for most people.
nrvous wrote: there is actually L2 at my work (at a buck an hour!).
If your EV had a 6.6kw onboard charger, that's not a horrible rate, but for a Spark or other vehicle equipped with 3.3kw, that's a bit of a rip. If you have access to a 110v outlet for free or if you can successfully negotiate a price with your employer, that would likely be preferable.
nrvous wrote: There are times where I need to go more than 60 miles if I'm running errands so I guess I'd charge at work (read $$$) or swap cars with my wife on those days.
My wife doesn't drive all that much but there are times when she needs to go further than the Spark could probably take her so that means she probably gets the Volt and i'd get the Spark most days.
I couldn't have made a Spark EV work for me without fast charging capability and infrastructure. You might be in the same boat. If you're not familiar with the fast charging infrastructure in your area, check out plugshare.com or download the plugshare app.

I'm very happy with my Spark EV. I hope you find a zero emission vehicle that works well for you.
2015 Spark EV w/ DCFC 46,XXX miles
Purchased 1/20/18 w/ 16,5XX miles
2019 Bolt EV w/ DCFC 15,XXX miles
Purchased 3/16/19 w/ 87 miles

SparkE
Posts: 352
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2016 1:18 am
Location: SF Bay Area (San Jose, CA)

Re: So it's time for another car...

Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:36 am

"If you have access to a 110v outlet for free"

I have to second this. You can add about 5 miles per hour at 120V (12A) and that is plenty fast when you are at work (where the car is parked 8-10 hours). You just have to figure out a way to keep your EVSE from being stolen. Some people buy a quality padlock and 'U' the cable around an axle, then padlock around the cable, so that the EVSE can't be removed. (The setup looks a little like a pulley, with a padlock around the side with doubled cable.) You can do the same thing through your steering wheel, if it is OK to leave the driver's side window open an inch or two (e.g., not raining).

You probably will need a quality (12-gauge or better) extension cord as well.

jsca72
Posts: 148
Joined: Thu Jul 25, 2013 5:55 am
Location: Central Coast, California

Re: So it's time for another car...

Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:07 pm

I got my SparkEV soon after they came out. It is a 2014, but I actually bought it in July 2013 so it is over 5 years old. It has 43,300 miles on the odometer.

I don't baby my little blue car. I drive it normally, accelerating when I have to and staying with the speed of traffic. I hate the feel of "low" so I don't use it, but I don't use "sport" either. Usually when I get in the car, the guess-o-meter has 72 to 76 miles as its best guess so it has lost about 10 miles of range in the 5 years. If I need to drive more than that, then I baby the car. I take back roads and frontage roads as long as I can, and only take the freeway when necessary. Doing that, I can go 90 to 100 miles on a charge.

As far as ride, it is still such a hoot to drive! I keep thinking I should get a Bolt and take advantage of its rebates while I can, but I love my little Spark too much to give it up.

BTW: My SparkEV is an L1 without a fast charger. I have a level 2 charger in the garage, so the car is almost always at full capacity when I leave the house. Because of the ability to charge at home, I have never missed the "fast charge" option which wasn't available yet when I got the car. Different people have different needs when it comes to range, though.

Good luck on your decision.

SparkE
Posts: 352
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2016 1:18 am
Location: SF Bay Area (San Jose, CA)

Re: So it's time for another car...

Sun Oct 14, 2018 11:23 pm

SparkE wrote:"If you have access to a 110v outlet for free"

I have to second this. You can add about 5 miles per hour at 120V (12A) and that is plenty fast when you are at work (where the car is parked 8-10 hours). You just have to figure out a way to keep your EVSE from being stolen. Some people buy a quality padlock and 'U' the cable around an axle, then padlock around the cable, so that the EVSE can't be removed. (The setup looks a little like a pulley, with a padlock around the side with doubled cable.) You can do the same thing through your steering wheel, if it is OK to leave the driver's side window open an inch or two (e.g., not raining).

You probably will need a quality (12-gauge or better) extension cord as well.
Someone else recommended taking a 2x4 (a two-by-four piece of lumber) about 11 inches long and using a table saw to cut a 3/4"-wide, 1/2"-deep channel down the LENGTH of it (so, all 11 inches) - basically cutting a channel for your EVSE power cord. You put the cord into the channel, then put the wood down with the channel-cut on the bottom (cable sticking out of both ends) and drive ON TO the piece of wood - you put your tire on TOP of the piece of wood. The weight of the car is supported by the wood, not the cable - and NOBODY is stealing that EVSE - the car is parked on top of it.

MrDRMorgan
Posts: 1025
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:27 am
Location: Manteca in Central California

Re: So it's time for another car...

Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:12 pm

SparkE wrote:
SparkE wrote:"If you have access to a 110v outlet for free"

I have to second this. You can add about 5 miles per hour at 120V (12A) and that is plenty fast when you are at work (where the car is parked 8-10 hours). You just have to figure out a way to keep your EVSE from being stolen. Some people buy a quality padlock and 'U' the cable around an axle, then padlock around the cable, so that the EVSE can't be removed. (The setup looks a little like a pulley, with a padlock around the side with doubled cable.) You can do the same thing through your steering wheel, if it is OK to leave the driver's side window open an inch or two (e.g., not raining).

You probably will need a quality (12-gauge or better) extension cord as well.
Someone else recommended taking a 2x4 (a two-by-four piece of lumber) about 11 inches long and using a table saw to cut a 3/4"-wide, 1/2"-deep channel down the LENGTH of it (so, all 11 inches) - basically cutting a channel for your EVSE power cord. You put the cord into the channel, then put the wood down with the channel-cut on the bottom (cable sticking out of both ends) and drive ON TO the piece of wood - you put your tire on TOP of the piece of wood. The weight of the car is supported by the wood, not the cable - and NOBODY is stealing that EVSE - the car is parked on top of it.
GREAT IDEA!! You might even be able to find a suitable piece of extruded aluminum that might work.

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