Friday, May 15, 2015

vs Other EV

If you already drive SparkEV, you know how good it is. Along with great range and 10 air bags for unsurpassed safety, 0-60mph in 7.2 seconds is faster than the original Mustang and 300ZX, and blows away Camaro Iron Duke. But then, EVERYTHING blows away the Iron Duke, including the school bus. I never thought I'd be proud to own a Chevy after bankruptcy / bailout and canceling of Astro (and selling Iron Duke), but here I am, blogging about this engineering marvel of a car from GM. Below is my "bumper sticker" on my SparkEV.

But exactly how good is SparkEV compared to others? There are comparisons of SparkEV to other EV for 2014 model. It isn't comprehensive, but it is pretty good overview of where SparkEV stands: number one, baby!

However, it doesn't compare i-MiEV and BMW i3. Below is a table of my comparison. Unfortunately, 2015 model is not as well tested, so numbers are mix of 2014 and 2015. For example, Lb/hp is 2014 number while battery size is from 2015. Green is top performer, Orange is second place performer.

BMW i3 wins hands down in performance, but note the price. At 42K-25K=17K, one can almost buy two SparkEV with subsidy (subsidy + discount = 18K; see my first post). Also, smaller battery size is better when it comes to replacement cost, so the ideal is smallest battery with longest range. When all things considered, SparkEV gives best bang for the buck. I throw in Nissan Leaf to show how the best selling EV stacks up. If SparkEV isn't available, Nissan Leaf would be a second place in most performance areas and over-all winner due to lower price than i3. But SparkEV blows away the Leaf with good margin.

Note the lb/hp number of SparkEV. This is far and away the best among similarly priced EV. In fact, this is better than most (maybe all) similar priced cars, gas or otherwise. This number is from 2014 model, and 2015 model should be better due to having lighter battery from LG (vs A123 for 2014 model). Combined with massive torque at standing start, I wouldn't be surprised if SparkEV beats some higher end cars with more power and lb/hp in 0 to 30 sprint. I need to find a girlfriend who has a Corvette to try a race. She should also likes fostering dogs and cats and horses. And super model. And knows engineering. And likes living in the country. And, And, AND!!!

For those interested in performance gas car (BMW M3) vs stock electric car (BMW i3), see this video of i3 zipping past M3 in 0 to about 30 mph, acceleration that really matters in city.

There was some discussion about SparkEV torque in EV forum where people just couldn't believe it was 400 ft-lb for 2014 model. How could an econobox, especially from GM (yuck!), have such high motor torque? Some conjectured that it must be geared down torque. GM's Peter Savagian's post clarified that SparkEV is indeed 400 ft-lb at the motor, and geared down to about 1200 ft-lb at the rear wheel. For 2015, motor torque is substantially reduced to about 330 ft-lb and gearing also changed to keep rear wheel torque at about 1200 ft-lb.

Peter's rationale was that having lower spinning motor with high gear (SparkEV ~ 1:3, other EVs  ~ 1:9) improves highway efficiency. Typically, electric motor works more efficiently at low RPM. Indeed, Nissan Leaf shows 10,000 RPM peak horsepower in Car and Driver article, and that would make for worse efficiency.

In another post, someone (group?) took a tour of SparkEV factory where one of the guide was Peter Savagian. He mentioned several innovations, one of which was to use square wires instead of round ones for motor winding to improve space efficiency. Another was using easier to assemble cooling plates and liquid cooling for the battery from bottom to lower cost and increase reliability. In contrast, Nissan Leaf has air cooling. Why Nissan decided to go with air cooling is beyond unimaginable; with close to 100kW of power, even 10% loss (90% efficiency) is 10,000W, enough to melt metal for commercial foundry furnace.

This attention to innovation details pays off, and you can see it in SparkEV's price and performance. Great job, GM engineers! I'm proud to have spent my money to support such engineering marvel.

Now only if GM's marketing and sales department get off their ass and start publicizing the facts, they'd have a huge hit in their line up. In fact, I went to GM web site to see what they have for sale, and there's nothing I'd buy from them except SparkEV: Compact=Hyundai Elantra; Midsize=Toyota Camry; Fullsize=Lexus, Infinity, BMW, Mercedes, even Hyundai Genesis; Pickup=Ford F150; Van=Ford Transit or Mercedes sprinter; Sports=Subaru WRX, BRZ (remotely maybe Corvette); Hybrid=Toyota Prius (not Volt, not even close); Subcompact=Chevy SparkEV; EV=Chevy SparkEV; fun car=Chevy SparkEV! Lack of SparkEV marketing is pissing me off so much that I think I'm going to make a commercial for them in future blog post, maybe even follow through with Youtube.

Here's a Corona toast for a job well done by SparkEV engineers and another Corona toast for Peter Savagian for doing much better job in marketing SparkEV than the entire worthless GM marketing department. Cheers and Cheers!

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