KVUOFlyer
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jan 17, 2020 11:07 pm

Trying to decide and wanted some insight from owners. Spark vs 500e?

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.

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

Re: Trying to decide and wanted some insight from owners. Spark vs 500e?

Sat Jan 18, 2020 7:20 am

Both are good cheap fun EV's.

I believe a big difference might be:
The Spark EV charges at 3.3kW on L2 and has an optional DCFC which charges at 50kW.
The Fiat charges at 6.6kW on L2. This would be really nice because you if you charge at public L2's, you're charging for half as long!
Some public systems are time based fees.
Can't remember what it has for DCFC.

But it means to use it at home you have to have a dedicated 40 Amp / 240V circuit/outlet available.
And a 30 Amp EVSE.
But it will work fine with a 16 Amp L2 at home with a 20 Amp / 240V circuit.

And of course you may get by just fine charging with stock L1 EVSE on 120 Volt.
Ideally that should be on it's own dedicated 20 Amp / 120 volt outlet.

I rented one in Vegas once through Turo.
It's very similar to the Spark EV.
The Spark EV is a hoot to drive! I can't remember how the 500e compares performance wise....
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.

ElDobro
Posts: 59
Joined: Sat Aug 31, 2019 1:05 pm
Location: NJ

Re: Trying to decide and wanted some insight from owners. Spark vs 500e?

Sat Jan 18, 2020 7:30 am

Well, the 500e is a Fiat. :P

SparkE
Posts: 376
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2016 1:18 am
Location: SF Bay Area (San Jose, CA)

Re: Trying to decide and wanted some insight from owners. Spark vs 500e?

Sat Jan 18, 2020 3:02 pm

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)

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

Re: Trying to decide and wanted some insight from owners. Spark vs 500e?

Sat Jan 18, 2020 5:55 pm

SparkE wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 3:02 pm
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.
.
Observation: Yesterday evening it was cold - in the 40s - as I drove home from Oakland. I was also monitoring SOC and HV battery temperature by using TorquePro on my tablet. One of the other variables I periodically monitor is battery cooling pump RPM. What I noticed yesterday is my battery temperature went up from the teens to 25 deg. C when the heater was on. TorQuePro showed the battery cooling RPM at 400. When I turned the heater off, the cooling RPM went to zero. It appears to me that if you want to warm up the HV battery, you need to have the heater on and running. Just plugging will not heat the battery. This would explain why, when I charge overnight in the winter, my battery temperature has been as low as 13 deg. C or 55 deg. F (Feb 2019). During my drive home with the heater on, my HV battery temperature was 25 deg. C or 77 deg. F. I get my best battery capacity numbers when the battery temperature is around 25 deg. C / 77 deg. F.

SparkE
Posts: 376
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2016 1:18 am
Location: SF Bay Area (San Jose, CA)

Re: Trying to decide and wanted some insight from owners. Spark vs 500e?

Sat Jan 18, 2020 7:10 pm

MrDRMorgan wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 5:55 pm
... What I noticed yesterday is my battery temperature went up from the teens to 25 deg. C when the heater was on. TorQuePro showed the battery cooling RPM at 400. When I turned the heater off, the cooling RPM went to zero. It appears to me that if you want to warm up the HV battery, you need to have the heater on and running. Just plugging will not heat the battery. This would explain why, when I charge overnight in the winter, my battery temperature has been as low as 13 deg. C or 55 deg. F (Feb 2019). During my drive home with the heater on, my HV battery temperature was 25 deg. C or 77 deg. F. I get my best battery capacity numbers when the battery temperature is around 25 deg. C / 77 deg. F.
.
I believe that there are different *degrees* of "keep the battery warm" (pun intended).

These *might* be different situations (I know they are on the Bolt) :

- car is not plugged in. Car will keep battery from 'getting too cold for battery health' (?35F?). And this may only happen if battery is over 40% full.

- car is plugged in. Car will keep battery 'warm' (above) a certain temp (?55F?).

- car is 'remote started' (i.e., during 'preconditioning'). You have told the car "I am going to be driving you soon", so it prepares the car by running inside heater (?and battery heater?). The car may heat the battery some more even if inside heat is OFF.

- car is 'on'. You are (supposedly) actively driving. May be the same logic as above.

- car is on, and HVAC is on (either heater or A/C). Causes additional heating/cooling of battery. I know running A/C on the Bolt causes the car to cool the battery down to a lower temp than if car is just 'on'.


MrDRMorgan :
Would you mind running a test (when you know this won't inconvenience you - you won't be using the car early in the morning, for example)?

- When you park the SparkEV, and you plug it in overnight, LEAVE THE HEATER TURNED OFF.
- Next morning, plug in OBD reader and get temps via TorquePro. Record initial battery temp. Leave car plugged in for all the following tests.
- "remote start" the car (verifying that the heater does NOT turn on). Is there any indication via TorquePro that any heater activity is happening?
- Let car finish its first "remote start". Check again with Torque - is the battery any warmer? What is the new temp?
* If 'yes, battery is warmer" in previous step, do a second "remote start", again WITHOUT HEATER.
... + Let car finish its 2nd "remote start". Check again with Torque - is the battery any warmer than after 1st remote start? What is the new temp?
* If 'NO, battery is NOT warmer" after first remote start, turn on car, turn on inside heater (?74F?), turn off car
... + Do another "remote start", this time heater will be ON.
... + Let car finish its "remote start". Check with Torque - is the battery warmer? (I'll bet the answer is yes) What is the new temp?
... + Run a second "remote start". Check with Torque - is the battery warmer than the first time? What is the new temp?

Just to beat a dead horse, you would be testing to see if just "remote start" heats the battery higher than the "low overnight" plugged-in temp, without heater. AND, you would be testing to see if the car heats the battery to a higher temp if "remote start" is engaged while the heater is running inside, and by how many degrees.

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

Re: Trying to decide and wanted some insight from owners. Spark vs 500e?

Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:07 am

Just to weigh in on this 'battery heat' discussion.

I don't think you have to put a lot of effort into this whole charging subject.

When plugged the battery will be kept in a proper temp range.
Left plugged in at the airport for 5 days in the winter I can see, on the Chargepoint app, power being used regularly for (TMS-Thermal Management System). Like twice a day for ~30 mins... as I recall...

On a day in the 20's I charge L2 when I get to work and when I unplug around 11 AM and move the car, when I return to the car later in the PM, I'll see 'Battery Conditioning' consuming ~2-5% on the 'Leaf' page by the time I'm 10 minutes down the road.

If I leave the car plugged in all the time I never see 'Battery Cond.' using power using power when driving.

Which, to me, means the battery was colder than ideal for the first part of that drive.
I now plug into L1 all day at work when it's killer cold at times.

Are people seeing the battery temp rise IF they do a 'Cabin Precondition' and the car has been plugged in all day?
What's a before / after temp rise?

I use 'Cabin Precondition' all the time! Love it. Cold and Hot days !

There's a good question: What does the Fiat have for TMS?
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: Trying to decide and wanted some insight from owners. Spark vs 500e?

Sun Jan 19, 2020 2:46 pm

SparkE wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 7:10 pm
MrDRMorgan wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 5:55 pm
... What I noticed yesterday is my battery temperature went up from the teens to 25 deg. C when the heater was on. TorQuePro showed the battery cooling RPM at 400. When I turned the heater off, the cooling RPM went to zero. It appears to me that if you want to warm up the HV battery, you need to have the heater on and running. Just plugging will not heat the battery. This would explain why, when I charge overnight in the winter, my battery temperature has been as low as 13 deg. C or 55 deg. F (Feb 2019). During my drive home with the heater on, my HV battery temperature was 25 deg. C or 77 deg. F. I get my best battery capacity numbers when the battery temperature is around 25 deg. C / 77 deg. F.
.
I believe that there are different *degrees* of "keep the battery warm" (pun intended).

These *might* be different situations (I know they are on the Bolt) :

- car is not plugged in. Car will keep battery from 'getting too cold for battery health' (?35F?). And this may only happen if battery is over 40% full.

- car is plugged in. Car will keep battery 'warm' (above) a certain temp (?55F?).

- car is 'remote started' (i.e., during 'preconditioning'). You have told the car "I am going to be driving you soon", so it prepares the car by running inside heater (?and battery heater?). The car may heat the battery some more even if inside heat is OFF.

- car is 'on'. You are (supposedly) actively driving. May be the same logic as above.

- car is on, and HVAC is on (either heater or A/C). Causes additional heating/cooling of battery. I know running A/C on the Bolt causes the car to cool the battery down to a lower temp than if car is just 'on'.


MrDRMorgan :
Would you mind running a test (when you know this won't inconvenience you - you won't be using the car early in the morning, for example)?

- When you park the SparkEV, and you plug it in overnight, LEAVE THE HEATER TURNED OFF.
- Next morning, plug in OBD reader and get temps via TorquePro. Record initial battery temp. Leave car plugged in for all the following tests.
- "remote start" the car (verifying that the heater does NOT turn on). Is there any indication via TorquePro that any heater activity is happening?
- Let car finish its first "remote start". Check again with Torque - is the battery any warmer? What is the new temp?
* If 'yes, battery is warmer" in previous step, do a second "remote start", again WITHOUT HEATER.
... + Let car finish its 2nd "remote start". Check again with Torque - is the battery any warmer than after 1st remote start? What is the new temp?
* If 'NO, battery is NOT warmer" after first remote start, turn on car, turn on inside heater (?74F?), turn off car
... + Do another "remote start", this time heater will be ON.
... + Let car finish its "remote start". Check with Torque - is the battery warmer? (I'll bet the answer is yes) What is the new temp?
... + Run a second "remote start". Check with Torque - is the battery warmer than the first time? What is the new temp?

Just to beat a dead horse, you would be testing to see if just "remote start" heats the battery higher than the "low overnight" plugged-in temp, without heater. AND, you would be testing to see if the car heats the battery to a higher temp if "remote start" is engaged while the heater is running inside, and by how many degrees.
For Sale! One slightly used Dead Horse! :lol:
Last Night (53 deg. F):
1. Remote Start with heater OFF: Activated so two sequential 20-minute remote starts for each test. Results: No increase in battery temperature.
2. Remote Start with heater ON (73 deg. F): Activated so two sequential 20-minute remote starts for each test. Results: No increase in battery temperature.

This Morning:
It was 46 deg. F outside. L2 EVSE connected and powered on all night before the test. SOC was 100%. at the start of the test.

1. Remote Start with heater ON and cabin temperature set to 73 deg. F. Results: No increase in battery temperature after two sequential 20-minute remote starts.
2. Drove 4 miles to church with heater ON and cabin temperature set to 73 deg. F. SOC was 94.5% when I left home and 76.5% when I arrived at church for the first time. Battery temperature increased from 15 deg. C to 16 deg. C. Same thing returning home 4 hours later. Ambient temperature was 46 deg. F. Battery temperature when leaving church was 11 deg. C and increased to 12 deg. C by the time I arrived home. Drove an additional 8 miles and battery temperature remained at 12 deg. C.

Conclusions:
1. It may be possible that my test conditions were not cold enough for the battery heater to be activated.
2. Preheating the cabin using remote start will not work unless you have set the cabin temperature and fan speed prior to turning off the car and activating the remote start.

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

Re: Trying to decide and wanted some insight from owners. Spark vs 500e?

Mon Jan 20, 2020 7:23 am

SparkE wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 7:10 pm
...
I believe that there are different *degrees* of "keep the battery warm" (pun intended).

These *might* be different situations (I know they are on the Bolt) :

- car is not plugged in. Car will keep battery from 'getting too cold for battery health' (?35F?). And this may only happen if battery is over 40% full.
.....
I never heard of this ^ happening with a Spark EV.
Would it show up in the energy usage page as 'battery conditioning'? Is that how it displays in a Bolt?
Would this mean if you left a Spark EV with 100% SOC unplugged in very cold weather it would eventually discharge the battery down to 40%?

I'm not sure I'd want my Bolt to operate that way.... Maybe have it selectable?
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.

Kermit
Posts: 109
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2019 10:47 am

Re: Trying to decide and wanted some insight from owners. Spark vs 500e?

Mon Jan 20, 2020 11:10 am

I looked a Fiat 500e when looking for an EV and decided to go with the Spark EV. The Spark has 4 doors and that was the deal breaker for me. I just commute but I take my son to school every day and for him getting in and out of the backseat just made sense to have 4 doors that way we wouldn't have to deal with standing out in the rain when someone got in the back seat.

Regarding the battery warming. I actually did some of this (before I read this post) last night/ this morning as the temperatures were in the 20's.
The car was on departure time charging and it started from 50% battery and I was able to capture data at 86% charge. Outside temperature was 24F, the battery was at 35.6F (2C) while charging. This temperature is what the car heats the battery to to charge while plugged in (I have confirmed this temperature mulitple times with my data).

I did a remote start at 8:00AM and battery heat was on at 1689 Watts and the cabin heat was 0 Watts. When I left 12 minutes later the battery temperature was at 44.6F (7C) and the battery heat was on at 2367 Watts and the cabin heat was 0 Watts. This shows that the preconditioning for the battery was not complete. I can check tomorrow as it will be just as cold to see when the heater turns off. When I got in the car it was rather cold inside and the rear defroster and seat heater had been on but that's it. After driving to work in the cold weather with the preconditioning I was still able to achieve 5.0kWh although traffic was light due to the holiday.
2016 Spark EV
2017 Volt

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