GM to launch Chevy Spark

By Roland Jones

General Motors plans to introduce an electric version of the Chevrolet Spark in the U.S.

The electric minicar will go on sale in limited quantities in select U.S. and global markets starting in 2013, including California, the automaker said. GM made the announcement during a media event celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Chevy brand.

“The Spark EV offers customers living in urban areas who have predictable driving patterns or short commutes an all-electric option,” Jim Federico, global vehicle chief engineer for electric vehicles at Chevrolet, said in a statement. “It complements Chevrolet’s growing range of electrified vehicles, including the Volt extended-range EV and the 2013 Malibu Eco with eAssist technology.”

The Spark announcement follows news in August that GM will build a Cadillac ELR luxury electric car as the automaker, which also produces the plug-in electric hybrid Chevy Volt, looks to burnish its green credentials.

So far this year sales of the Volt have lagged. GM aimed to sell 10,000 Volts in 2011, but only 3,895 models have been sold to date, according to CNBC. Still, GM’s Joel Ewanick told CNBC Wednesday that the automaker still plans to sell 45,000 cars in 2013.

“We know the demand is there; we know the customers want this car,” he said.

Electric cars have been slow to catch on in the U.S., according to Reuters:

“In the U.S. market, demand has been held back by the lack of models to choose from, skimpy infrastructure for charging the vehicles, high sticker prices, and low gasoline prices compared with other industrialized nations.”

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