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GM Confirms 114 HP Spark EV Motor

According to the company, production of the 85 kW, 114 hp motor for the 2014 Chevy Spark will take place at a plant in White Marsh, Maryland.

"Electric motor development and manufacturing is another area of expertise we’ll need as we expand vehicle electrification technologies to address the needs of our customers around the world,” said Larry Nitz, GM executive director of Vehicle Electrification Engineering, in a prepared statement.

GM currently builds nine vehicles that use electric propulsion motors. When the Spark is released in early 2013 as a 2014 model, it is expected to become the first all-electric GM vehicle and compete with rivals such as the Mini E, the Smart ED, as well as the larger Mitsubishi MiEV and Nissan Leaf. Car and Driver recently reported that GM will be using a battery supplied by A123 systems in the Spark EV. So far, especially the Mini E and the Smart ED have been rather underwhelming efforts, even if they are still largely research efforts and cars for green enthusiasts at best.

Both the Mini E and the Smart ED are offered for a $600 per month lease in limited markets. However, while the Mini E is almost as quick as the Cooper S in a 0-60 mph acceleration (7.7 seconds), it has only a range of 100 miles and it trades the rear bench for a massive, 600 pound battery pack. If offered for sale today, it would cost more than $50,000, according to Edmunds.com. The Smart ED comes in a much smaller package, but has a range of reportedly just 85 miles and accelerated from 0-60 MPH in about 23 seconds, according to Car and Driver.

Those cars are expected to become a lot cheaper and more capable within a few years. A much bigger effort by GM to use electric propulsion motors in mainstream cars should help make them more affordable.