By Dave Stall.
I have decided that the next few Auto Comparisons will be on electric vehicles, why? Because they make sense. All you have to do is look at your driving schedule, and if it fits within the electric cars range why would you not opt for an electric car? Yes, they used to ride like a heavy golf cart; and yes they had limited range (much more range today). Like everything that is being developed it has all improves with time and technology. Today I am going to compare the 2013 Nissan Leaf versus the 2014 Chevy Spark Electric.
The 2013 Nissan Leaf has been in the electric vehicle business for quite some time, not making a lot of noise just working on perfecting a viable electric car for the masses. The Nissan Leaf fits the needs of today’s commuter. Price, as low as $21,300 for the base S model, just a few of the features you will get with the S, Nissan Intelligent Key® with Push Button Ignition, Bluetooth® Hands-free phone system, regenerative braking, 16″ steel wheels, rear spoiler, Nissan Intelligent Key® with push button ignition, heated front and rear seats and a lot more. These dollar amounts for any electric car in this report are the net value after the federal tax savings.
Nissan states that its car will give you 129-mile range in the city and 102-mile range freeway and combined mileage of 102-mile range. Anytime you see NHTSA mileage numbers on a window sticker is just a reminder that it is only an estimate, you’re driving distance and terrain (Mountains kill electric vehicles in the range department). Nissan gives you a full four-passenger vehicle and a synchronous electric motor that will produce 80 KW AC. The transmission in the Leaf is a single-speed reduction gear, I don’t have torque numbers but it is pretty peppy off the line and/or lane changing. The base Leaf comes with everything you need to commute comfortably but Nissan offers more by moving up to different trim levels. I myself tested the Nissan Leaf SL model, $27,340 and it had all the features you would want.
Let’s move on to the 2014 Chevrolet Spark. Chevrolet is not a stranger when it comes to vehicle electrification, EV-1 comes to mind; I had one for a month! I cried when they took it away. Now they are back with the Spark Electric starting out at $19,185 after Federal Tax Credits of $7,500 (This amount is for all electric vehicles in California).
There are two models to choose from, the 1LT and the 2LT, very well equipped for example here are some of the highlights found on the 1LT, Chevrolet MyLink with a 7-inch diagonal color touch-screen, 400 foot pounds of torque, Bluetooth wireless technology, Remote keyless entry, Power locks, Power mirrors, Cruise control, Fog lamps and15″ machined-face aluminum wheels, jump to the 2LT model for $19,510 (After Federal tax credit) and you will get the following including the 1LT features: Dark pewter leatherette heated front seats with blue-ray stitching, Leather-wrapped steering wheel with silver accents, DC fast charger (In as little as 7 hours) and remote stop charge options available. The electric motor puts out 130 horsepower with a direct drive one speed transmission. Chevrolet gives their range as city 128 mpg and freeway 109 mpg.
Which one should you put in your garage? Both cars did what they set out to do and Nissan gives you standard front and rear-heated seats? Spark, must move up a trim level, Spark has crazy torque off the line, turn off traction control, put it in Sport and hit the “go pedal” and you will just sit there and smoke your low rolling resistance tires! Both cars can handle four occupants, Leaf on the other hand has storage behind the back seats, Spark is very limited, both cars will drop their back seats for add storage, range depends on how you drive.
My pick? Chevrolet Spark 2LT, I still like to burn rubber on occasions! What is yours?