Douglas100
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2015 11:35 am

If you're sick of handholding a newbie, please don't read.

Tue Sep 22, 2015 12:08 pm

I'm the newbie. Or actually close to being a newbie. I've spent a few hours reading different threads, yet still don't have much of a feel for whether Chevy Spark EV owners feel like this was a good purchase. Here's a bit of my backstory, and I'd love ANY tips or advice.

I live in Albuquerque, N.M. and will be a new EV owner. I can charge at home and have extra rooftop solar to tap into for this. There is also one of these fast charging stations in Albuquerque. I am thinking of getting a 2014 Spark EV from a dealership in California, and either having it shipped here, or I go there and tow it back to N.M. I have some concerns about getting the vehicle serviced here, but have read that some on the thread, think it would be a good idea to get a Chevy dealership here in Albuquerque to put in writing that they would service the Spark.

My mechanical (car) skills are limited, so I don't know if I would be able to fix the Spark if something even basic, were to go wrong. I spoke with a dealership here about perhaps having them ship a Spark EV to Albuquerque, but still waiting to hear back from them. The Salesman tried to talk me out of buying the EV by saying it's real range is something like 20 miles, but I get the impression from reading on here, that it is much higher than that. Albuquerque is quite hilly, and I assume that would cut into the range.

I have gotten the impression from reading this forum that some recommend getting a Spark with the DCFC option, because this is the future of charging. Besides having some concern about having a dealership repair my Spark, I also wonder if parts would be available for the Spark in the future if the car is discontinued?

I am thinking of buying a 2014 Spark EV from a dealership in California and paying in the $15-18,000 dollar range. Does this seem like a reasonable price for a very gently used 2014 Spark EV? Any other tips for buying this car from a dealership?

ANY and ALL tips and advice would be appreciated. I do have some trepidation since this would be my first EV, and it might be the only one in New Mexico. Are people finding the Spark EV a pretty dependable vehicle?

Thank you. I will reply to all responses!
Last edited by Douglas100 on Tue Sep 22, 2015 1:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

NORTON
Posts: 1278
Joined: Fri May 01, 2015 5:52 am
Location: KC,MO

Re: If you're sick of handholding a newbie, please don't rea

Tue Sep 22, 2015 12:45 pm

Many of us would love to hear if you get anything in writing concerning warranty work from you local Chevy dealer.
I'm the one that posted the only official writing from GM concerning servicing a Spark EV out of the 3 states where it is sold, (that I know of). Not promising. You probably saw it.

Routine maintenance is fortunately minimal. Many here are talking about skipping the silly 'left to right tire rotations'. The cabin air filter replacement is called for too often, imo, unless you always follow someone down a gravel road.
The only big items: Brake fluid changes, (does any other GM product call for it so often, ??) and an ATF change at 97k miles.

Funny how the sales dog you spoke to said "20 mile range". Where did he pull that out of?
As for him, and any sales dog you deal with during your shopping, here's my bit of advice: Do you know how to tell if a car salesman is lying? His lips are moving.
Get everything in writing.
When I bought my used '14 it was all through email and txt with the internet sales guy. I only spoke with him when I was a few hours out with the dolly to tow it back home.

One more; get the DCFC if possible. It will have resale value and someday in your area functionality, hopefully.

Good luck!

ps. Be glad you are considering the Spark EV and not the Leaf. The Spark EV has a proper Thermal Management System that heats or cools the battery as needed when plugged in or running.
The Leaf has zip for TMS. You may have read about battery degradation in them, especially in hot climates.
Last edited by NORTON on Tue Sep 22, 2015 2:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Used '14 2LT w/ DCFC. +78 K miles.
Mostly free charging! Only one LONG visit to the shop....
GM needs Modern Troubleshooting tools for Modern EV's.
3 step Trouble Tree, 1st try car died again, 2nd try not covered / cost $800. 3rd try fixed the problem.

markusg
Posts: 33
Joined: Sat Feb 08, 2014 7:01 pm
Location: San Francisco, California

Re: If you're sick of handholding a newbie, please don't rea

Tue Sep 22, 2015 12:49 pm

20 mile range? That's funny. Real world range (even with hills) is 70 miles on the very low end and is more likely 80-100 miles depending on how you drive. I'm in SF which is about as hilly as it gets and my 2014 Spark EV's range is typically estimated in the 80s. I have no regrets leasing. Buying? Not as sure as I like to upgrade regularly and am interested in the Tesla Model 3 or Bolt when they are released..

Douglas100
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2015 11:35 am

Re: If you're sick of handholding a newbie, please don't rea

Tue Sep 22, 2015 1:55 pm

Thank you for your responses. Glad to know that the range on the Spark EV is a lot better than 20 miles. :lol:

Other thoughts/concerns:

1. So, what's a guy suppose to do if his car needs service out of the three states where the EV is sold?
2. With my Gasser I go to a local mechanic because it's far cheaper than the dealership. With a Spark EV you end up paying a lot going to a dealership for repairs? (Your kind of stuck having to go to a Chevy Dealership/Garage for most things)?
3. I haven't looked into leasing, and have never leased. Does it make sense if you buy used?

NORTON
Posts: 1278
Joined: Fri May 01, 2015 5:52 am
Location: KC,MO

Re: If you're sick of handholding a newbie, please don't rea

Tue Sep 22, 2015 2:36 pm

1. Call and write GM and try to get an answer, like I did. There is a special GM EV Tech call center/advisor team you should try to talk to. Share your findings !!
2. It's a new car. You'll have the typical warranty for quite a while. It's a modern EV. Shaky Jake's Auto Repair is not the place to take it. Look at the owner's manual the for maintenance schedule.
3. Some people make the case for renting. They probably rent everything in their lives; car, home, furniture, appliances, etc. I know I personally only rent beer. :lol:
Used '14 2LT w/ DCFC. +78 K miles.
Mostly free charging! Only one LONG visit to the shop....
GM needs Modern Troubleshooting tools for Modern EV's.
3 step Trouble Tree, 1st try car died again, 2nd try not covered / cost $800. 3rd try fixed the problem.

MrDRMorgan
Posts: 1096
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:27 am
Location: Manteca in Central California

Re: If you're sick of handholding a newbie, please don't rea

Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:42 pm

Douglas100 wrote:I'm the newbie. Or actually close to being a newbie. I've spent a few hours reading different threads, yet still don't have much of a feel for whether Chevy Spark EV owners feel like this was a good purchase. Here's a bit of my backstory, and I'd love ANY tips or advice.

!
Douglas100 - At the end of May this year, I was a "newbie" too. Then GM came along with a lease option for a 2015 2LT Spark EV with DCFC that made the cost of the car almost free with the California and San Joaquin County rebates. So, my wife and I drove 70 miles to the dealership and picked up our Spark EV. We have never looked back and we both just love this car. The DCFC is needed for distance driving - > 90 mile round trips. But.... we liked the car so much that we found and purchased a 2014 Spark EV 2LT with only 1500 miles on it but without the DCFC option. The price was too good to pass up. As of this date, we have put about 4000 miles on our two Spark EVs and have not had a single problem. I think ICE drivers are really amazed at just how fast this little car can accelerate.

I would think any Chevrolet dealer selling Volts should be able to service your Spark but getting confirmation from GM would probably be a good first step. If your local Chevrolet dealer will service a Spark EV, RUN, don't walk, to California and find a nice, clean, low mileage 2014 Spark EV 1 or 2LT and grab it! You may have better luck finding a 2015 Spark EV with the DCFC if you want that option.

I found our second Spark EV online using www.cargurus.com.

Good Luck!

elpwr
Posts: 66
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2015 4:11 am

Re: If you're sick of handholding a newbie, please don't rea

Tue Sep 22, 2015 4:34 pm

I'm a long way from the three sales states and was also very concerned about service. A couple of local Chevrolet dealers, who have Volt certified technicians, assure me they can service the Spark EV. However, I doubt you will get any dealer to put this in writing. But I don't really think that's necessary.

I don't think leasing, or even purchasing a new one, is an option for you. Dealers can only lease or sell these new within the three states. If you qualify for the income tax rebate, you might want to look for an extremely low mileage, untitled car that is still on the MCO. This will probably (but not guaranteed) still be eligible for the credit.

I'm in Florida, bought my car from a Maryland dealer about six weeks ago, and I am completely happy with it. No service issues and the car is far more useful than I anticipated it would be. Bought with 62 miles on it and it now has about 2100.

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

Re: If you're sick of handholding a newbie, please don't rea

Tue Sep 22, 2015 5:43 pm

Your post came at a time when I was thinking of writing a post regarding the value of the original 2014 Sparks without DCFC of which I own one.

Here’s my thoughts:

DON’T PASS UP WHAT MIGHT BE A GREAT, PERFECT DEAL FOR YOU!

Did I shout that loud enough? :)

You have to analyze your driving and car situation. As I said before, I have one of the original SparkEVs without DCFC. Here’s why my car works so well for me, and why I haven’t felt I’ve needed a fast charger.

1. There are no fast chargers in my area. If I had bought a car with one I’d never have been able to use it anyway.

2. So, say I had a fast charger and there were fast chargers in my range, and I decided to go south to LA to visit family and friends. Do I want to stop every 80 miles and wait 20 minutes for my car to charge (assuming I could find an open charger)? Nope! I’m not THAT dedicated. That would add a lot of time to a trip that’s already a 4 hour trek. Trips out of my Spark’s range, we take my husband’s ICE.

3. I have solar panels in my side yard and a level 2 charger in my garage. I plug in when I get home. I hardly ever plug in elsewhere.

4. My commute is short. I’m never even close to running out of charge on my day to day drive. If you have a long commute and have to charge before coming home, a Spark with a fast charger would be better. (I’d probably be thinking of a Volt if I had a longer drive. I wouldn’t want to be stuck waiting at a fast charger for 20 minutes each day, but that’s me.)

5. I’m one that buys a car and runs it until it doesn’t run anymore. The Spark’s 8 year/100,000 mile warranty covers what I will need. I thought that was a pretty good deal for a car that didn’t cost me much after rebates and tax credits.

6. Plus, since I run a car as long as I can, I’m not worrying about resale value. If we get another electric or electric-hybrid, it will be in addition to the SparkEV, not to replace it.

So think about what you need in a car. You’re the only one that understands your lifestyle.

These little cars without fast chargers are just as fast at accelerating, just as zippy, comfortable, roomy, and maintenance-free as those with DCFC. So if having a fast charger isn’t a big necessity in your life, don’t pass up a good deal on one of these originals.


Oh, that salesman saying the real range is 20 miles: he either hasn’t done his homework, has been grossly misinformed, is ignorant about EVs, is lying to try to get you to buy something else, or is an idiot. Don’t trust him! Two years in, and I haven’t had any degradation in range.

Douglas100
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2015 11:35 am

Re: If you're sick of handholding a newbie, please don't rea

Tue Sep 22, 2015 8:20 pm

Thank you everyone for your nice replies. One other issue I can think of before I make the plunge-safety. I thought I read that the Spark EV hasn't been tested yet. This is a major factor for me. I am still trying to decide between the Spark EV, and an older Volt (2011/2012). The Volt for those years rated pretty highly in crash tests. I would guess that the Spark EV, is not as "safe". (It's a smaller car, and generally speaking I believe smaller cars do not fare as well in crash tests).

Anyone having any thoughts on this? Any indication that a Spark EV would be as safe as an older Volt?

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

Re: If you're sick of handholding a newbie, please don't rea

Tue Sep 22, 2015 9:19 pm

I would guess that the Spark EV, is not as "safe". (It's a smaller car, and generally speaking I believe smaller cars do not fare as well in crash tests).
Sparks achieved "Acceptable" in crash tests vs. the unacceptable other cars of its sized received. I'm a firm believer that one has to take into account how well small cars can avoid crashes because of their maneuverability.

I had a semi-truck cut right in front of me on a grade forcing me to stop. I posted about it.


http://www.mychevysparkev.com/forum/vie ... f=9&t=3921

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