Spark EV Being Offered Outside California, Oregon? −

Spark EV Being Offered Outside California, Oregon?


Sales of the Chevy Spark EV were initially limited to just California and Oregon, but Chevy dealers as far east as Connecticut are showing Spark EVs in stock. Is GM quietly rolling out the Spark EV nationwide, or is this some inter-dealer swapping shenanigans?

Hybrid Cars reports that at least four Chevy dealers in Ohio show the Spark EV for sale, with some dealers claiming it’ll be available by the end of summer. Over at the GM-Volt forums, user flyingsherpa claims that a Chevy dealer in Milford CT had a lightly used one, procured from New York, and it appears to still be for sale. GM meanwhile is sticking to the company line that the Spark EV is still only for sale on the West Coast, but obviously a few have slipped through the cracks.

Granted, it’s not inconceivable that someone in New York paid to have a Spark EV shipped across the country, only to drive it for 2,200 miles and decide they didn’t like it. But it’s also not unfathomable that GM is testing the waters, making the Spark EV available to a handful of dealers whose customers have shown interest.

GM recently began building its own battery packs for the Spark EV, which could be a prelude to a national rollout. Unlike Toyota, GM doesn’t seem particularly concerned about a few errant EVs sneaking out of their pre-determined market, and by most accounts the Spark EV is an excellent take on the whole “compliance car” schtick.

What do you think? Will the Spark EV go nationwide soon, or is this just a case of a few exceptions?


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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing -- otherwise, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.
  • TedKidd

    $21,495. If the tax credit is still intact that’s a nice deal (though not sure someone buying this car can use the full credit…)

    • Yeah, I wonder how many people are interested in these more affordable models but then don’t qualify for the tax credits…

      • Mark Renburke

        Some, but those folks can probably get an affordable lease, or pick up a slightly used electric car now for under $20k.

    • Mark Renburke

      To qualify for the full $7,500 tax credit, a single person only needs a taxable income of $46k (tax year 2013). Coincidentally, $46k is also the average salary for new college graduates (June 2014). Granted average taxable income would be a bit lower due to some deductions, but it’s in the average income ballpark. Point is, entry level electrics are becoming very affordable to the average young professional, thanks to falling prices and tax credit policy.

      • TedKidd

        So, 50% of college graduates make more than median income for a family of four AND would benefit from the tax credit, and 50% don’t make enough for it to work? And most families would need a LOT higher income for it to benefit them.

        VERY regressive tax credit.

        • Mark Renburke

          A tax credit is not progressive or regressive, only a tax rate can be so. It’s simply a credit (non refundable) of one’s own federal tax payment or liability. And a married couple or family only needs a taxable income in the mid-$50k range ($56k in 2013) to take full advantage of it. And if someone’s buy a Ford Energi or Prius Plug In it’s only a 1/2 or 1/3 credit ($2500-$3750) so even easier to qualify for 100%. Bigger point, its purpose is to make plug in cars as affordable as non-plug ins to average NEW car buyers (generally households who already make ~$50k or more) – NOT to make new electrics affordable to people who can’t really afford a new car and its associated monthly payment in the first place…nor to be a government handout and then open for criticism as “other people’s tax money” (that would be the case if it were a REFUNDABLE tax credit). There are still two very good options for lower income folks to make their next car an electric car: 1) cheap monthly lease deals ($139-$269 a month) 2) used low mileage electrics coming off 2 or 3 yr leases or trade-ins (LEAF for ~$16k. Volt for ~$19k) Either will cost less to own/operate than practically any new so-called “economy” sedan (like a Honda Civic or Hyundai Elantra, for example)

          • TedKidd

            I disagree. I think credits can be regressive, and if they aren’t refundable credits they ARE regressive.

            Your view seems to think that a break in tax liability is a break in paying YOUR money to the government as if it were some type of optional donation rather than your duty. I don’t want to accuse you of having a distorted entitlement perspective (although the comment “other peoples tax money” does have an entitlement ring to it bordering on the absurd).

            If you owe someone money that money does not belong to you. Doesn’t matter that the debtor is the government, a bank, or your neighbor.

            Do you have capacity to step back see this from a less entitled perspective? Can you look for a moment at this credit as a gift the government selectively gives people who make more than others?

            I’ll try to clarify by example: Joe Saver HAS the money to pay for a Spark, but due to his income only owes the government $1000, so he only gets $1000 credit.

            (And let’s presume it is not up to you to decide what Joe can afford. He’s a saver and makes good decisions on his own.)

            John Spendthrift earns twice what Joe earns (or whatever gets him to $7500 liability), and gets a $7500 credit. Being bad with money he can barely afford it, but he buys the car. (You should tell John what to buy and not buy, he needs your help)

            Supposedly this credit is to encourage adoption of items deemed a public good, right? Why does the government give one guy $7500 and the other guy only $1000 for purchasing this item? Doing so effectively makes the item more expensive for the poorer group.

            There is significant advantage provided to the guy who should supposedly need LESS help, and by your affordability criteria should not be enticed to buy things he can’t afford.

            And in the end, that difference in price may mean a lot of interested Joe’s can’t buy, or buy and suffer greater depreciation loss than the John’s because the John’s, thanks to their rich government gift, can sell the car for less on the secondary market without loss.

            The same situation is much more egregious and obvious when it comes to the renewable/ground source 30% credit. This credit effectively makes investment in solar work for the well to do, and not work for the lesser fortunate.

            In my view this is a regressive credit. It benefits those who make more with cheaper investment opportunities through greater financial assistance from the government.

          • Mark Renburke

            TedKidd A person who is not elegible for the full credit on car purchase due to lack of tax liability is still eligible for the full tax credit in a lease deal (which is why the leases are so cheap). So we’ll just have to agree to disagree about the whole “regressive tax credit” idea, which you seem to believe makes sense but I see as utter nonsense.

            A person’s tax liability each year by code is determined by the their situations in life and/or the choices the make (owning a home, having kids, buying an electric car, etc) So it’s not ‘an entitlement mindset’ nor an ‘it’s my money the government’s taking’ mindset, it’s simply understanding the tax code and the reasoning behind it. And your Joe Saver vs Joe Spendthrift example is useless in understanding this, because I don’t agree that as you claim “the government give one guy $7500 and the other guy only $1000”. The government is simply not giving either one money, they are reducing the person’s tax liability. It’s just not the same thing, no matter how much you try to claim it is. By your pretzel logic, all non-refundable credits would be considered “regressive” and unfair to the the little guy, and those include the mortgage interest credit, adoption credit, retirement savings contribution credit, and several others. The government should offer people a hand up for these things, but not a hand out.

            I’ve already established the the full tax credit is within reach of many (if not most) middle class new car buyers (liability of $46k single/$56k married) and I feel that is appropriate and well thought out. Offering a hand out, like I said of tax revenue from OTHER people, to lower income folks to help them buy an electric is not some I support for a number of reasons. Leasing or buying used are the best choices for these folks, just as they sometime are for lower income people buying a regular car (difference being, leasing an electric can start saving someone $ from day one on gasoline + maintenance, if their total monthly costs go down)

          • Mark Renburke

            I thought about this some more, and think a good compromise would be to let a consumer spread the EV tax credit across up to 5 years (or even just 2 or 3 years would be a start). So this would mean a buyer could only need a tax liability each year of just $1500 to take full advantage of the credit; likewise, it would encourage the buyer to keep the car for at least 5 years (and not “game the system” by re-selling the car after 1 year for a profit on the government’s dime – one of the issues a refundable credit could create)

      • Christopher DeMorro

        I’d love to see the stats suggesting the average college graduate is making $46K a year. I know some of my peers are doing well-enough, but most people I graduated school with are still stuck doing low-wage jobs.

  • lasvegascolonel

    Though some say the tax credit is a bribe, it does encourage people to use electricity rather than gasoline. I do know here in Nevada, many people who have EVs have it as their only car—-if they have to go on a road trip, they rent a gas burner. The rest of the time they charge their car—not with electricity that uses coal and natural gas—but the sun through solar panels. The sun will wear out some day, but much later than fossil fuels. But for those who must travel more than 75 miles a day (150 if you can charge at work) the EV is not practical; however, Tesla has announced it will soon bring out a 200-mile range car for the price of the modest Nissan Leaf. Quite honestly, most people don’t go 75 miles a day, according to GM. That’s why its semi-EV Volt can go 38 miles before the gas engine kicks in. Of course, if you have to contend with a gas engine, oil changes, coolant, radiators, water pumps, etc., you might as well have a Prius that gets superior mileage to the Volt. I say EVs are the way to go…no gas engines…at least for the future.