Matthew Wald at The New York Times looked at the upcoming Chevy Spark recently and focused on the fact that in addition to the standard AC port for charging, the car will come with two receptacles for DC charging.
DC charging holds a lot of promise for EVs because it eliminates a conversion step and can improve charging times. Chevy claims that with DC charging, the Spark could get to 80 percent capacity in 20 minutes. That really would be impressive.
But there aren’t many DC chargers on the market right now and there’s an ongoing standards fight because there are two types of DC ports on the market. The Japanese automakers favor a design dubbed CHAdeMO while American and European makers want SAE, which they favor because it only uses one port for both fast and slow charging. There are other potential issues with being able to install DC chargers in homes. DC fast chargers are expensive and exist at commercial sites.
More than anything, it looks like the Spark will retail for about 25K after tax credits. That’s a definite price improvement from the Nissan Leaf and is closer to the type of pricing I think will push EVs through to the next stage.
For someone who drives 15,000 miles a year, the gasoline savings from an EV can be as much as $2000, which is a very significant cost savings when you start to talk about cars in the 20-25K range. Most cars in that range depreciate at the rate of $2,000 per year, which effectively means that with the gas savings, an EV would never depreciate. Just one other way of slicing the numbers.