KVUOFlyer wrote: ↑
Fri Jan 17, 2020 11:14 pm
I had a long list of EV's and PHEV's and have narrowed it down to just two. The Spark EV and the 500e. Can anyone tell me differences between these two. My commute will mostly be 80% highway ~55-65MPH. Commute distance is ~27 miles. There are a ton of reliable chargers at my work so I can top off. Sometimes I will have to head to another worksite (20 miles away with no chargers at all). I will occasionally take country back roads (curvy) home twice a week to avoid snarling traffic.
My wife has an ICE Van for the kids and her small errands. This EV will be purely for back and forth to work as my current ICE does the same. I never take it anywhere else.
Both will suffer from ONE issue : range is lower when it is cold out (starting under 55F); range is significantly lower when it is VERY cold (under, say, 40F). I don't know where you live, but range can drop by 40% if the temp is freezing. You can get around this by "pre-conditioning" the battery (plug in the car in the morning, and 'start' it about 15-30 minutes before you leave WHILE STILL PLUGGED IN. This will warm the battery while plugged in. Also, run the heater to warm up the insides while plugged in, thus pulling the energy from the wall instead of the battery.
HOWEVER, it sounds like you won't normally have that problem as your commute isn't that long. (Although if the commute is 27 miles ONE WAY you may have to be careful on days when it is close to freezing.)
Both vehicles have about the same EPA-rated mileage (82-85 miles).
All that being said, you asked about differences :
- the Spark is a four door, the Fiat is a 2-door. You may not care if it is going to be 90% used just for you, commuting for one person.
- I know that the Spark has two independent fold down seats, so you can carry a LOT more stuff. The Spark has a REALLY small trunk (good for shopping bags with the seats up). The fiat's trunk isn't much bigger, but it is bigger. Again, you may not care in a commuter car.
- The Spark is surprisingly big inside. I'm 6 ft 2 in and a bit wide, and I have no problems with head or elbow room inside the Spark (in the front seats). NONE AT ALL. In the rear seats, it is surprisingly comfortable as well. It's a little tight to have 2 people over 6 ft front-and-back, but I've sat in the back seat of the Spark when a 6ft guy was driving and it was "OK" (only problem was "knee room", head room and elbow room is fine). I don't know about the fiat.
- The Spark has a very good, water-cooled temp control system for the battery (heat in winter, cool when hot). I don't know about the Fiat.
- Fiat can charge twice as fast (6 kW charger). You may not care since you can just plug in at work, where it will sit for 8 hours. However, if more co-workers get e-cars OR you will go to that other work site in the middle of the day, being able to charge twice as fast MIGHT be useful every now and then.
- it used to be that one could find a fairly low-mileage Fiat500e for around $5K and used Spark EVs were at (or over) $10K. That doesn't seem to be true anymore. The used prices for the Fiat are a little less than for the Spark around San Jose, Calif ($6.5K to $8K, instead of $7K to $8.5K for the least expensive). The Fiats seem to be ones will lower mileage on them, though. If you aren't in a hurry (can wait 2-10 weeks) if you just keep an eye out every day or two, you might be able to snag a cheap Fiat with low miles that just pops up online.
The Spark EV has a battery/charging warranty that is 8 years and 100,000 miles
. I don't know about the fiat.
No matter which one you decide, these are things to consider :
- lower mileage is better, because batteries do degrade. 18K miles vs 22K miles is no big deal, but paying $2K less for a car with 120K miles isn't the great deal that it seems at first.
- know how to figure out battery capacity for the car model(s) you are interested in
- measure battery capacity remaining, and don't buy one that won't be well over your estimated daily drive, as the battery WILL continue to degrade. If it barely meets needs today, you don't want to soon be stuck with a car that MUST be charged at work or you won't make it home
- check out the LOCAL DEALERSHIPs. Are the local Chevy or Fiat dealerships EV-rated? (i.e., do they have trained EV techs). If there is ever a problem with the vehicle, especially warranty service, you want to have a local rep who can handle it. If only ONE dealership in driveable distance (~40-50 miles) can work on EVs, that sort of makes your choice for you. (These cars don't normally break, but when they do I am sure you'd like to get it fixed)