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Unconventional Potential Owner

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:53 am
by mRahmani
Hey everybody, I might be coming at this car from a different angle than most people, and I'm curious to know how well you think it might fit.

Right now I daily drive a manual Chevy SS sedan 8 months out of the year, and have a 200k mile Saturn as a winter beater. Before the SS, I daily drove a Z06... and before that, a Camaro Z28. Basically, I've spent most of the last decade driving V8 powered muscle cars to work during the week and to the track on weekends. We leased a Cruze 1.4T for my wife a couple years ago, and while it was a perfectly nice car for normal driving, the lack of power was massively frustrating to me.

So why the heck am I looking at a Spark? I recently had the opportunity to test drive a Bolt for a few minutes, and aside from the godawful seats found it to be a fun around-town car. The amount of torque EVs make seems good enough (at least at first glance) to satisfy what I'm looking for in terms of passing power and acceleration. Now, I know the Bolt is a significant step up from the Spark EV, but the numbers look promising - 0-60 in 7.5-8 seconds is faster than my winter beater and much faster than the Cruze I drove.

From what I understand the Spark is a decent enough city car, but I don't actually drive in a city. I have a 35 mile commute, about 80% of which is highway use. We do have charging stations at work, which is a big part of why I'm looking at the Spark - if I shift this car to daily driving duty, I would cut my annual costs by about $1100 a year, and keep a lot of miles off the SS. I'd really like to test drive one, but given that they were only sold on the west coast that doesn't seem to be an option. I'd also have to figure in a $1000 or so charge to get the thing shipped out here.

All of this is a lot to gamble, so I'm asking for honest thoughts - would hate this car? How well does it handle 75mph highway cruising? How well does it handle the cold? I expect heavy snow and sub-freezing temps a solid 3 months out of the year. How well can these things stand up to sustained, 20,000 miles a year of daily driving?

Thanks everybody for your time!

Re: Unconventional Potential Owner

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:03 am
by ncerna
I believe you will enjoy the car very much. The car is quick and fun to drive. I live in Southern California, so I don't know how it drives in cold weather.
The fact that you have charging stations at work, will help a lot. As long as you go in with realistic expectations, you will not be disappointed.

*I would look for a 2016 model, since it will mean that the battery is still pretty fresh, plus you will still have about 6 years of battery warranty left.

Re: Unconventional Potential Owner

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:29 am
by JMenacker
The Spark EV will likely satisfy or exceed acceleration expectations. Cruise control works quite well both uphill (decent torque) and downhill (regeneration). Reduced service is also a bonus (no worries about oil filters, air filters, fuel filters, etc.). Brake pad life is also significantly extended as regen serves for most braking needs.

Since range is not an issue, the fit-your-life question is mostly related to size. The car feels unexpectedly roomy inside (from a front seat perspective anyway). Lack of a high center console provides flexibility in arm position not found in some larger modern vehicles. It is the overall size of the vehicle that one has to come to grips with. It is a fraction of the size of most other cars. Personally I feel safe enough on the highway, but it is sometimes a bit unnerving to ride alongside other behemoths on the highway.

Test drive a manual transmission ICE spark for a general idea of how the car feels and handles. The Spark EV does have heavier suspension to support the battery. It also has a low center of gravity because of the battery location as well. We didn't have much snow in eastern WV last year, but my Spark EV didn't have any issues at all in what we got on snow tires.

For a DD, installation of dedicated L2 (240v) service for recharging should be considered. We spent about $1500 for L2 at our house - new 50 amp circuit to detached garage, subpanel and EVSE.

Not sure if any unbiased opinions will be found on this forum. We have his 'n hers Spark EVs and both of us have been thrilled over past year with them.

Regards,

Joe M in WV

Re: Unconventional Potential Owner

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:16 am
by mRahmani
Thanks for the quick responses guys.

Size and range are non-issues as far as I'm concerned - this is single occupant, work week transportation. The handful of stops I would ordinarily make outside of work are well within the 80 mile charge range. This would be the third vehicle in our fleet too, so it's not like I don't have alternatives on days where I need a longer range.

Specific concerns I have:

- Driver legroom, I'm not crazy tall but I do have longish legs and frequently feel cramped in the Saturn even with the seat all the way back
- Driving dynamics. I'm specifically seeing reports that the car feels underdamped, especially in the rear. I might take a look at the gas Spark to get a rough idea but from what I understand the EV model is significantly better than the gas one in that regard. How wobbly is the car at highway speed?
- Highway passsing. The numbers say it scoots to 60 reasonably quick, which is good. But what's 60-80mph passing ability like? The Cruze had zero power once it got past 50mph and it was infuriating; the Spark EV has plenty of torque but not a lot of horsepower at speed. Does acceleration fall off after 40-50mph, or does it continue to pull reasonably well?

Re: Unconventional Potential Owner

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:29 am
by NORTON
mRahmani wrote:.... I have a 35 mile commute, about 80% of which is highway use. We do have charging stations at work,
>...I would cut my annual costs by about $1100 a year,
>... I'd also have to figure in a $1000 or so charge to get the thing shipped out here.
>... I'm asking for honest thoughts - would hate this car? How well does it handle 75mph highway cruising?
>...How well can these things stand up to sustained, 20,000 miles a year of daily driving?

Thanks everybody for your time!
>8 months a year you may be able to charge at just work, and if it's free.... well, you know!

>I am at +$1000 in savings over buying electrons at home doing it this way. And that's not counting the gas I don't buy. Almost 2.5 yrs / + 41k miles of ownership!

>Got a friend with a pickup? Or put a hitch on the SS. I spent $125 on a Uhaul dolly to bring mine home 800 miles. One weekend road trip.

>I drive 90% interstate on my 50 mile RT commute. Hanging with all my buds in the left lane, I bump the 90 mph limiter at least once a week!! No Problem Found. And it has great acceleration at any speed, imho.

>Mine hasn't burped in the time I've owned it.

Only thing I've seen is rarely the climate control drop-down header does not respond to control knob changes. The knobs work, theyjust don't display the changes. A quick reboot of the car and all is well. I think if I count to 3 before twisting climate control knobs at power up it always works correctly.

Tires are my only maintenance item, oh, and washer fluid. I never dik with rotating the tires because that is only a left to right deal. Lots of cars can't have their tires rotated.

I'm currently trying to burn down my current front tires before winter. I have a new set of 195/50-15 tires on .5" wider wheels waiting to install!
This car is FUN to drive and toss around. It has a Stability Control system that doesn't let the car get too weird.

You won't be sorry tracking down one of these EV Sleepers!!!

Re: Unconventional Potential Owner

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:59 am
by mRahmani
NORTON wrote:
mRahmani wrote:.... I have a 35 mile commute, about 80% of which is highway use. We do have charging stations at work,
>...I would cut my annual costs by about $1100 a year,
>... I'd also have to figure in a $1000 or so charge to get the thing shipped out here.
>... I'm asking for honest thoughts - would hate this car? How well does it handle 75mph highway cruising?
>...How well can these things stand up to sustained, 20,000 miles a year of daily driving?

Thanks everybody for your time!
>Got a friend with a pickup? Or put a hitch on the SS. I spent $125 on a Uhaul dolly to bring mine home 800 miles. One weekend road trip.
Heh, the other vehicle in the fleet is a Tahoe with the HD tow pack. I have no qualms about going and getting one (I've flown out to buy vehicles and driven them home before), but MI to CA and back is 4,000 miles round trip. Just the gas would be ~$650, not even considering tolls, food, or the 60+ hours of driving. This is one occasion where I think just getting it shipped makes the most sense.

Undefeatable Stabilitrak is a bummer. I run autoX all summer with my cars and was excited at the idea of trying out the Spark at some local events, I'll have to try my luck at working around it.

The climate control oddities sound like standard MyLink goofiness, my SS does that too now and again. I can deal with that haha.

Re: Unconventional Potential Owner

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:17 am
by fox
I keep telling people to use uship.com, which I've shipped many cars using usually with the "auction" style. Last shipment was in fact the 2014 spark ev from Kansas city to Orlando cost me $350! weeeeeee is all you'll be saying in this car from the stoplight til you get out of it, my 6'4" friend was able to drive it too!

Re: Unconventional Potential Owner

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:30 am
by JMenacker
I'm 6'-0"/170lb and have no issues with legroom. Seat is not at rearward limit and left foot rests comfortably on the dead pedal area. My son is 6'-4" and had no complaints regarding legroom when he took a test drive. Bonus - seats are quite comfortable - unlike my experience in the current Chevy EV offering.

Joe M in WV

Re: Unconventional Potential Owner

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:16 pm
by Taxman
fox wrote:I keep telling people to use uship.com, which I've shipped many cars using usually with the "auction" style. Last shipment was in fact the 2014 spark ev from Kansas city to Orlando cost me $350! weeeeeee is all you'll be saying in this car from the stoplight til you get out of it, my 6'4" friend was able to drive it too!
A friend of mine shipped a RX7 from southern CA to southern MI for $800 a couple of years ago, via a uship listing.

Re: Unconventional Potential Owner

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 3:08 pm
by NORTON
mRahmani wrote:....Undefeatable Stabilitrak is a bummer. I run autoX all summer with my cars and was excited at the idea of trying out the Spark at some local events, I'll have to try my luck at working around it......
Wait and see! The car is toss-able!!
Dropping throttle at high G's tries to bring the ass around but it applies individual back brakes as required to keep that from happening,,,, (I believe that's what's happening. :o .)
I show friends how I can go into, through and exit hard in roundabouts with the throttle floored. You can feel the power rise and fall a little with TC. You can kind of feel how the ass starts to drift but stops with SC. Good fun ! :lol:
In other words, I don't mind it. But it would be interesting to try it without those functions.
I used to run autoX way back when they were Gymkhanas ! 8-)

Ol' what's his name on this forum raced his Spark EV extensively in Oregon. Search for his threads.
I believe he had to lower it just to make it legal to slip into some class because stock it is too tall per some SCCA rule about 'The 3 Dimensions'. He never got to disable TC and SC.

I'd like to give it a try, but they take place at a race track in Topeka and I'm in KC with no DCFC between here and there,,, yet!
Plus I'm not spending the bucks to lower the car for that little bit of fun.