After debuting the Chevrolet Spark EV in 2012, the tiny electric tyke most known for a snazzy Lime color option went on sale four just three years, from 2013 to 2016. In that time, GM sold roughly 7,400 units, mostly in states with zero emissions vehicle mandates like California, Oregon, and Maryland. The grudging, compliance car aspect, old battery chemistry, tiny sales total explain why EV-Resource reports that GM has discontinued Spark EV battery packs. According to some Chevrolet parts departments the outlet contacted, the order system showed the hatchback’s battery pack as unavailable as of April 7. An automaker district rep “who wished to remain anonymous” told EV-Resource, “We are no longer going to supply that battery.”
The Spark EV started life with a battery pack provided by China’s A123 Systems. Buyers suffered a spate of issues, so GM tied up with LG Chem to bring pack manufacture in-house from 2014 to 2016. GM provided an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty on the battery, but that doesn’t matter anymore if there are no packs to replace broken units with. And there’s no third-party support for a comparatively inexpensive but complex model that sold in such tiny numbers. A Chevy dealer tech commented at the Spark EV Owner’s Facebook page, “I’m not gonna miss working on these. They were the most labor intensive to work on compared to Volts, Bolts, Hybrid Tahoes and Malibu batteries.”
Spark EV owners who suffer terminal battery damage will have little option but the junkyard or trying to wrangle a buyback, that Facebook owner’s page is already full of stories of owners either selling or considering selling their hatches before they reach a dead end. One owner related that “In a discussion with Criswell Chevrolet (of MD), they said, ‘if the battery had failed we wouldn’t replace it. There are none available so we would buy the car back.'” Others have been getting quotes from places like Carvana, the superheated market delivering tidy potential profits, with purchase figures ranging from $10,000 to $16,000. The used car sales site is asking close to $16,000 or more for Spark EVs from the final two model years.
GM hasn’t responded to requests for comment from multiple outlets, so the guiding principle for Spark EV drivers at the moment seems to be, “Save yourselves.”