General Motors has announced that it will bring an all-electric variant of the Chevy Spark to market in 2013, its first fully-electric passenger car since the ill-fated EV1 of the 1990s.
The Chevy Spark, sold locally as the Holden Barina Spark since last year, is set to launch in North America in 2012.
Developed in South Korea, the Spark is currently sold overseas badged as the Chevy Spark, Chevy Beat and Daewoo Matiz Creative, and is built in India, South Korea and Uzbekistan.
Specific details have yet to be released, but the Spark EV will be powered by a front-mounted electric motor and advanced rear-mounted nanophosphate lithium-ion battery.
Prototypes currently undergoing trials in India are fitted with a 45kW electric motor and feature a 130km range, however there's no guarantee the production Spark EV will have similar performance.
It's too early to say whether Holden will put its hand up for the Spark EV, however the automaker is already planning to launch the Holden Volt hybrid here sometime in 2012.
In Australia, electric cars have yet to gather steam. Besides a small number of privately-built electric vehicles, the only manufacturers with an electric car in local showrooms are Mitsubishi and Tesla.
However, next year the Mitsubishi iMiEV and Tesla Roadster will be joined by the all-electric Nissan Leaf and Renault Fluence ZE, while possible future EV imports include the Honda Jazz EV, Volvo C30 DRIVe EV.
Whether they gain traction in the showroom is the biggest question.
A lack of government support and incentives for electric vehicles means the purchase cost of such vehicles is high (the Mitsubishi iMiEV retails for $48,800, and the Nissan Leaf will likely cost around $55,000), and so far this year Mitsubishi has sold just 19 iMiEVs.
Is there a business case for an all-electric Barina Spark EV? Unless Holden can keep the price down, it's doubtful.
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