Attention, California and Oregon residents: The 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV, whose 21-kilowatt-hour battery enables 82 miles of travel when fully charged, will start as low as $19,995, including an $810 destination charge and the maximum $7,500 federal tax credit. That undercuts the 2013 Nissan Leaf ($22,150), 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV ($22,475) and 2013 Fiat 500e ($25,000) with destination fees and the full tax credit.
Californians may also qualify for additional incentives as high as $2,500, lowering the pint-sized EV to less than $17,500. Like other plug-in vehicles, Spark EVs also get carpool-lane access with a single driver. If you ever drive Los Angeles' Interstate 405 at rush hour — OK, any time of day — that's no small incentive.
California and Oregon get the Spark EV starting next month, but GM has yet to announce plans to sell it in the other 48 states. The automaker is "evaluating the business case" for national availability, spokeswoman Annalisa Bluhm said.In both states, GM also will offer the Spark EV for a 36-month lease as low as $199 a month for 36 months after $999 due at signing, matching Fiat's offer on the 500e earlier this month. It makes the car "one of the most affordable EVs on the market," the automaker said in a statement. GM cautioned that it set the lease rate based on its own numbers, and dealers are free to set their own price; the deal expires July 1. We should add that you can't claim a tax credit if you lease a vehicle, but the dealer can. He or she can use the credit to subsidize your lease, but no law requires it.
Without any tax incentives, the Spark EV starts at $27,495, including destination. Standard features include 10 airbags, the usual power accessories, automatic climate control and Chevrolet's MyLink multimedia system, which includes a 7-inch touch-screen with Bluetooth phone and audio streaming plus smartphone-streaming apps like Pandora, TuneIn radio, Stitcher.