LOS ANGELES – Reducing fuel use and lowering emissions continued to be a theme for the automakers at this year’s 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show.
On the alternative energy side, electric vehicles in particular were highlights of the show, with the Chevrolet Spark EV and the Fiat 500e making their debuts Nov. 28 during the show’s press conference days.
General Motors unveiled the Chevrolet Spark EV, the plug-in electric version of its subcompact Spark. Under the hood, the Spark EV features a GM-designed, coaxial drive unit and electric motor. This powertrain can deliver 130 hp (more than 100 kW) and 400 lb.-ft. of torque for instant acceleration. The vehicle also comes with a 20-kWh lithium ion battery that GM expects to provide the best EV range in its segment. The battery consists of a 560-lb. battery pack made of 336 cells and features an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty.
In terms of charging times, the Spark EV can charge to 80 percent in 20 minutes using the optional SAE Combo DC Fast Charge capability. That said, the vehicle can accommodate all three charging platforms, including DC Fast Charge, AC 240V, and AC 120V. The charging times with a dedicated 240V outlet is less than seven hours.
The all-electric Fiat 500e features an all-new battery electric powertrain that produces 111 hp and can recharge in less than four hours via a 240V Level 2 charger. Fiat estimates the vehicle has 80 miles of range, but more than 100 miles in city driving conditions.
Fiat made the vehicle more aerodynamic, improving its coefficient of drag (Cd) to 0.311 compared to the 2013 Fiat 500 Lounge’s 0.359 Cd, achieved via eight exterior enhancements, according to the brand.
Inside the cabin, the Fiat 500e features a 7-inch instrument cluster display that shows vehicle functions, charge levels, and trip summary information. The vehicle also comes with a new TomTom navigation unit that lets the driver see the 500e’s charge schedule, power flow, range, and to find nearby charging stations.
The 500e also features an all-new electronic shifter with push-button transmission mode selection. The interior is available in a black color called “Nero” and a white called “Steam,” and is highlighted in Electric Orange.