Second hand Sparks

Discussion in 'Chevrolet' started by Kevin C, Dec 28, 2017.

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  1. Kevin C

    Kevin C New Member

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm looking at buying a 2015 Spark EV with 14 k miles. Anything that I should be concerned about as far as red flags?
    With temperatures in the 20's-30's °F, what kind of range should I expect to see on the GOM?
    Is it reasonable to expect this battery with thermal management to be much more durable than the air-cooled Leaf? Am I asking too much from this little beast?
    Many thanks for the free advice
    jim and WadeTyhon like this.
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  3. WadeTyhon

    WadeTyhon Well-Known Member

    Good choice! As you can see from my avatar I had a (much loved) Spark EV. :D

    A few things when buying one used:

    1) Get one with CCS DC fast charging.

    2) If it has DCFC, get one with the lowest mileage you can find. A high mileage car with DCFC probably means they fast charged a lot. So more strain was put on the pack.

    3) Supposedly the 2015 and 2016 have better and more resilient battery tech than the initial packs. The newer packs were built by LG Chem. Their packs have been very reliable in other plug-ins.

    4) Try to buy a Spark from a seller in a mild climate like California.

    5) In Dallas we usually have at least a few weeks of 30 and 20 degree weather. It was 18 here today for instance! I usually got about 75 miles in the winter. 85 ish in the summer and 90+ in spring and fall. I would pre-condition the car before driving and turn on the seat warmers. Then once I was driving, I would turn on the defroster only and set the temp to “low” (that is about 60*.) It was enough to keep me warm at least. :)

    The battery in a Spark will far outlast a leaf. I had mine for ~ 13,000 miles. I caught up with the new owners of my car at NDEW and after putting on several thousand more miles into the 2014, they were still getting 90+ miles per charge in the fall.

    Under 20,000 miles you should see very little to no degredation. But a Spark pack will not last nearly as long as a Bolt or Tesla simply because of the small pack size. It also does not have the large “buffer” of a Volt. To be safe, prepare for 5-10% range loss at around 50k miles. But there aren’t enough cars out there at higher mileages to give you exact degredation.

    To increase the pack life, keep it stored in a garage away from extreme heat. I suggest trickle charging on a standard outlet if possible and only using DCFC on long trips.

    If you get a car with under 20,000 miles and you drive less than 10,000 miles a year... it will be a totally awesome car for years to come. Especially if your round trip commute is 50 miles or less.

    I had 2 years of Spark EV ownership. It spurred our households love for EVs and we now have a Volt and Bolt.

    The Spark is a blast to drive. Turn on Sport mode and keep both hands on the wheel!!!
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
  4. Kevin C

    Kevin C New Member

    Thanks Wade! Always appreciate your feedback. I believe this car fits well within those parameters. The wife may be biggest existential threat here
    Well until she starts driving it anyway.
    One more thing. Does running max tire pressure play havoc with electronic air pressure monitoring system? Setting of warning lights and alarms?
    WadeTyhon likes this.
  5. Cypress

    Cypress Active Member

    I have a 2014 Spark EV. The 2014 Spark EV has a different pack, but is rated at the same epa range. Mine is showing about 57-58 on the GOM here in WA, where temps have been in the 30-40 range for winter. In summer I was getting closer to 86miles on the GOM. It has ~29k miles on the odometer. It doesn’t have DCFC. And it hasn’t really been an issue for me, as it is a second car and just my commuter. Had a 42 mile round trip commute with L2/L1 charging at work available. Would sometimes use it, if I had errands to run after work. Occasionally had to do a commute more like 52miles round trip with less convenient but available L2 charging. And I would do that trip without charging at work feeling mostly comfortable. Now with winter and my current GOM reading, I would have to make sure to charge there. My work location moved, so now its more like a 20 mile round trip. We also use the Spark for lots of our local trips and around town errands like groceries or shopping. My wife also takes it to work on days when I stay home with the kids. She loves to drive it.

    I have a level 2 charger at home and just plug in when I get home from work.
    WadeTyhon and Kevin C like this.
  6. Cypress

    Cypress Active Member

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  8. WadeTyhon

    WadeTyhon Well-Known Member

    I am not sure since I never did so.

    I typically try to keep it right at the suggested tire pressure. If I remember correctly it was 35 psi on the Spark.

    I tried to not let it ever drop much below 32-ish. And never increased it past the suggested pressure.
  9. Charles Hall

    Charles Hall New Member

    Does anyone know why GM quit making the Spark? It looks like an interesting vehicle. Maybe the price was too close to a Bolt?
  10. Kevin C

    Kevin C New Member

    Thanks Cypress.
    I'm next door in Idaho. That gives me a good idea on the mileage hit from cold temperatures. I still think the Spark will make an excellent replacement for our tiny Honda Insight. I doubt we exceed 15 miles a day in that wee gas-guzzler. I appreciate the feedback.
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  11. Cypress

    Cypress Active Member

    The Spark EV was a compliance vehicle sold only in limited numbers in limited markets. With the Bolt, I think they felt they no longer needed the Spark EV.

    I only ended up with a Spark EV, because the dealer I went to to look at the Bolt had a used one for $8k. And after calculating my daily driving needs, I realized I could pay for my monthly car payment with the gas savings or just about.

    Sent from my iPhone using Inside EVs
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  13. WadeTyhon

    WadeTyhon Well-Known Member

    It is an excellent little EV! But the car is probably too small for a lot of people. It sold decently because of the low lease rates but I can’t imagine GM was making any money on it.

    The Spark EV was a compliance/test bed car for future EV tech. The development led directly to the eventual Bolt EV.

    Personally though, I think the new gen gas Spark is a good looking little car. I wish they had adapted it into an EV as well, increased the range to 100+ miles and dropped the price. But that doesn’t mean it would make financial sense for GM to do what I want lol.
    Kevin C likes this.
  14. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    It was a compliance car, which means GM was losing money on every unit it sold. Makes no sense to continue that after GM put the Bolt EV into production. The Bolt EV was designed to be a profitable, high-volume (as compared to most EVs) production car. That means GM will have a much better profit margin on the Bolt EV on a per-unit basis than on the Spark EV. Even those who claim that GM is "losing" money on every Bolt EV (and I regard that as a gross oversimplification to the point of being very misleading, if not an outright lie) would likely agree that GM loses far less money, on a per-unit basis, with the Bolt EV.
  15. jim

    jim Active Member

    Yes the SPARK EV will hold up much better than any LEAF. It's good in the HEAT or the COLD. The battery and Thermal control is one of the best. I'd only use seat heaters and or preheat your SPARK in the COLD. Almost any Electric can have a lot less range in the COLD. Only a very inefficient gas engine has 80% waste heat so it your really worried you can try a Volt or other Series Hybrid.
    Kevin C likes this.
  16. Kevin C

    Kevin C New Member

  17. Kevin C

    Kevin C New Member

    Thanks Jim. We still haven't replaced our 2001 Insight, unfortunately. The damn thing has been utterly reliable!
    I have noticed that dealers have been pushing up Spark EV prices - even in Idaho.

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