EV news of the past week:
The Los Angeles Auto Show has given North Americans two more EVs to choose from:
? The Spark EV is a five-door, five-passenger pure-electric fitted with a 20-plus kilowatt-hour battery pack driving the front wheels. Chevy claims the Spark EV will offer one of the best battery range in its segment. The subcompact has the capability to accept SAE Combo DC Fast Charging, which can charge a battery to 80 per cent in 20 minutes.
It produces 130 horsepower and a whopping 400 pound-feet of torque. Chevrolet claims it can do a 0-to-100 km/h dash in less than eight seconds. This should give the Fisker a run for its money.
Speaking of money, it is supposed to sell for $32,500 US. No indication of the price in Canada, but it should be close.
? The Fiat 500e is a two-door, four-passenger electrified subcompact. Fiat introduces the new car grudgingly. The company's CEO, Sergio Marchionne, openly states he is only doing so to appease California regulators, who require big automakers to sell zero-emission vehicles in the state. He believes that natural gas, diesel and more efficient gasoline engines are better alternatives to plug-in hybrids or electric cars.
While prices have not been announced, Marchionne has said the company will lose up to $14,000 on every car it sells. The 500e will look very much like a regular Fiat 500.
There are few details avail-able: Range is expected to be 186 km - but this claim has yet to be verified. Fiat also claims a 0-to-100 km/h time of around nine seconds.
Fiat will first offer the 500e in California and in stages around the United States. No word if the model will be offered in Canada.
? With the promise of production versions going on sale next year, BMW's "i" electric-vehicle sub-brand unveiled its third model, the i3 Coupe, in concept form at the Los Angeles auto show. Unlike the i3 four-door and i8 sports car concepts, the i3 Coupe looks more production-ready, with less glass and tamer bodywork. Like its four-door city-car counterpart, the two-door i3 is powered by a 170-horsepower electric motor that's mounted in the rear.
Nissan has just unveiled its next-generation Leaf in Japan.
The new Leaf boasts a longer driving range: 228 kilometres on a charge (based on the Japanese test mode) up from 200 km in the previous version.
Nissan has equipped the new model with better regenerative brakes, a lighter high-voltage battery and an electric motor that uses lighter parts. Changes to the dash include a gauge that indicates remaining battery capacity displayed as a percentage.
Owners who want to extend the life of their battery now can charge it on "long-life mode." This setting will only charge the battery to 80 per cent of capacity, regardless on how the car is charged.
The Leaf will also be available in a lower-priced base model, called "S grade" in Japan. While these are Japan-only updates, there is a good chance the majority of these upgrades will make it across the Pacific.
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