2015 Chevy Spark for Extended "Test Drive"

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LI-ghtcycle   1.21 GW

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2015 Chevy Spark for Extended "Test Drive"

Post by LI-ghtcycle » Sep 26 2016 8:49am

So my folk's Saturn Vue needs work (been needing something done with the electrical for some years now, finally getting bad enough I have convinced them to take it in before more than just the headlights start flickering :oops: ) and the local dealership is going to loan us a 2015 Chevy Spark! :twisted:

Anything I need to know other than it has a pretty limited range? (been told 50 miles by the dealer) I have looked up some info here and there, but it looks like it will have the home charging package so I can plug it into 110v, and there are some EV charging stations nearby me, gonna have to learn what kind of plugs work and which stations to use!

My father is a big fan of EV's and would love to have a Tesla some day (unfortunately his injury from a bicycle accident means he can no longer drive himself, but I would happily chauffeur him if that means I get to drive an electric car! :mrgreen: ).

I can see this vehicle giving him an incentive to at least put some money down on a Tesla 3 or at least goto the dealer in Beaverton. OR and test ride a Model S.

My uncle Arney recently bought a used Chevy Volt, and it seems pretty good (I know it's not perfect, but it does it's thing with an electric drive-train and just has a small "generator" to power the electric motor, so in my book, better in many ways than the typical hybrid that has both electric and gas drive-train that can power the wheels independently, and thus, more complexity, who knows, maybe they will offer a large battery in the future!).

Anyway, I take in the car at 1pm tomorrow, very excited to drive the Spark! 8)
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Re: 2015 Chevy Spark for Extended "Test Drive"

Post by Alan B » Sep 26 2016 9:17am

After years of "pure generator" hype the Volt's drivetrain was changed before it was originally sold and does not use a pure generator. The software determines when the engine drives the wheels directly, the powertrain hardware has the capability (and lost the series hybrid simplicity, they are not simple). The 2016 model uses the engine to drive the wheels in even more circumstances, like the Prius and others. Old rumors die hard.

http://www.greencarreports.com/news/109 ... brid-modes

Have fun with the Spark. The folks I know who drive them do enjoy the peppy little car.
Last edited by Alan B on Sep 26 2016 1:50pm, edited 1 time in total.

Warren   100 kW

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Re: 2015 Chevy Spark for Extended "Test Drive"

Post by Warren » Sep 26 2016 10:06am

I'm jealous. The only Sparks in Virginia are ICE. Outside of CARB states it is still mostly 19th century transportation. You'll have better luck getting your dad into a Bolt, while he is still driving, than a Model 3.

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Re: 2015 Chevy Spark for Extended "Test Drive"

Post by liveforphysics » Sep 26 2016 1:30pm

I have a couple friends with Spark EVs, fun little car to drive hard, and pretty awesome for trips under ~50-60miles.
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Re: 2015 Chevy Spark for Extended "Test Drive"

Post by LI-ghtcycle » Sep 26 2016 9:56pm

Alan B wrote:After years of "pure generator" hype the Volt's drivetrain was changed before it was originally sold and does not use a pure generator. The software determines when the engine drives the wheels directly, the powertrain hardware has the capability (and lost the series hybrid simplicity, they are not simple). The 2016 model uses the engine to drive the wheels in even more circumstances, like the Prius and others. Old rumors die hard.

http://www.greencarreports.com/news/109 ... brid-modes

Have fun with the Spark. The folks I know who drive them do enjoy the peppy little car.
Oh wow, good to know, well, I guess the Volt's not as interesting as I first thought lol! :roll:

Anything to get people to try an electric is good though, I have always been a bigger fan of the pure electric than hybrids, but I will be happiest when I have one of my own, that's a ways down the road I think. :wink:
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LI-ghtcycle   1.21 GW

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Re: 2015 Chevy Spark for Extended "Test Drive"

Post by LI-ghtcycle » Sep 26 2016 10:03pm

Warren wrote:I'm jealous. The only Sparks in Virginia are ICE. Outside of CARB states it is still mostly 19th century transportation. You'll have better luck getting your dad into a Bolt, while he is still driving, than a Model 3.
Unfortunately dues to my father's head injury, he no longer has a drivers license, but that doesn't stop him from owning one! :)

He rides his ebike every day about 6 miles and loves it to death though! 8)

I would be driving him around if he bought an electric car, but it beats no wheels at all!

We have a good number of EV charging stations even in Oregon City, so range would never really be an issue, even for a short ranger like the Spark. :)

Also, we have cheap electricity, due to the hydroelectric dams nearby, in fact, Oregon City had one of the first (no longer in operation sadly) hydro power plants back in the day!
Thank you Justin_Le for your selfless act of kindness! We all are in your debt.
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Vision R40 w/3000w MXUS as mid-drive, NuVinci N171B rear wheel as transmission, Silent yet powerful, running 72v 11.6 ah (20s 18650 Li-Ion) to climb hills, tow trailer with zero pedaling when needed!

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Re: 2015 Chevy Spark for Extended "Test Drive"

Post by LI-ghtcycle » Sep 26 2016 10:04pm

liveforphysics wrote:I have a couple friends with Spark EVs, fun little car to drive hard, and pretty awesome for trips under ~50-60miles.
Good to know! I can hardly wait till tomorrow! :twisted:
Thank you Justin_Le for your selfless act of kindness! We all are in your debt.
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LI-ghtcycle   1.21 GW

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Re: 2015 Chevy Spark for Extended "Test Drive"

Post by LI-ghtcycle » Sep 27 2016 2:07pm

I was reading up on the charging options, anyone know what I should look for the quick chargers? I know there are some nearby, but I have no idea about these things, off to get the Spark!

:twisted:
Thank you Justin_Le for your selfless act of kindness! We all are in your debt.
Back on track E-Bronco! Now with Cro Motor Mid-Drive Goodness!
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Vision R40 w/3000w MXUS as mid-drive, NuVinci N171B rear wheel as transmission, Silent yet powerful, running 72v 11.6 ah (20s 18650 Li-Ion) to climb hills, tow trailer with zero pedaling when needed!

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Re: 2015 Chevy Spark for Extended "Test Drive"

Post by gwrace1 » Sep 27 2016 2:36pm

LI-ghtcycle wrote:
Alan B wrote:After years of "pure generator" hype the Volt's drivetrain was changed before it was originally sold and does not use a pure generator. The software determines when the engine drives the wheels directly, the powertrain hardware has the capability (and lost the series hybrid simplicity, they are not simple). The 2016 model uses the engine to drive the wheels in even more circumstances, like the Prius and others. Old rumors die hard.

http://www.greencarreports.com/news/109 ... brid-modes

Have fun with the Spark. The folks I know who drive them do enjoy the peppy little car.
Oh wow, good to know, well, I guess the Volt's not as interesting as I first thought lol! :roll:

Anything to get people to try an electric is good though, I have always been a bigger fan of the pure electric than hybrids, but I will be happiest when I have one of my own, that's a ways down the road I think. :wink:
Regarding hybrids....
We own two 2015 Honda Accord Hybrids. Annual fuel bill for them combined is around $500.00. Range is 700-750 miles on 14 gallons of fuel. I drive mine about 10,000 a year mostly highway and my wife about 6000 mostly city. After two years they have been problem free with the lithium battery. If I had anything negative to say it would be that they make a little to much noise when pressed hard during acceleration and you give up a little space in the trunk for the battery. But it's nice when you can stop,idle or park with no engine running and the A/C is blowing like crazy in the Texas summertime heat.

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Re: 2015 Chevy Spark for Extended "Test Drive"

Post by liveforphysics » Sep 27 2016 3:09pm

gwrace1 wrote: We own two 2015 Honda Accord Hybrids
That transmission-less normally series-hybrid generation of accord is definitely the best implementation of a hybrid I've seen.

Still though, even though it sprays less toxic poisonous gases and unsustainably destroys the atmosphere and planet slower, its still not a solution like an EV with some solar panels on the roof.

Getting enough solar to power your whole house, EVs, and be a net-grid provider is so cheap today (at least in the bay area where pallets of panels on craigslist commonly go for ~$0.20-0.50/watt.)
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Each mutagen vapor exposure includes a dice roll for reproductive genetic defects in your children.

Each engine start sprays them into a shared atmosphere which includes beings not offered an opportunity to consent accepting these cancer experiences and defective genetics life experiences.

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Re: 2015 Chevy Spark for Extended "Test Drive"

Post by LI-ghtcycle » Sep 27 2016 4:27pm

liveforphysics wrote:
gwrace1 wrote: We own two 2015 Honda Accord Hybrids
That transmission-less normally series-hybrid generation of accord is definitely the best implementation of a hybrid I've seen.

Still though, even though it sprays less toxic poisonous gases and unsustainably destroys the atmosphere and planet slower, its still not a solution like an EV with some solar panels on the roof.

Getting enough solar to power your whole house, EVs, and be a net-grid provider is so cheap today (at least in the bay area where pallets of panels on craigslist commonly go for ~$0.20-0.50/watt.)
Sounds like something I should look into! :!:

My brother tried to join Solar City a year or so back, but at the last visit (to start installing) they suddenly said his roof was too steep to attach the panels :( .

I am sure if he pursued it, he could find an alternate solution, but he's so busy with work (keeping a steady job in IT has been a challenge the last few years for him) and raising 2 kids, that he really lacks the time.

I wonder how hard it would be to have a spare battery for my "cargo bike" (E-Zilla with trailer) charging from a couple solar panels that could be on top of my trailer?

Image
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Re: 2015 Chevy Spark for Extended "Test Drive"

Post by craneplaneguy » Sep 27 2016 7:15pm

liveforphysics wrote:
gwrace1 wrote: We own two 2015 Honda Accord Hybrids
That transmission-less normally series-hybrid generation of accord is definitely the best implementation of a hybrid I've seen.

Still though, even though it sprays less toxic poisonous gases and unsustainably destroys the atmosphere and planet slower, its still not a solution like an EV with some solar panels on the roof.

Getting enough solar to power your whole house, EVs, and be a net-grid provider is so cheap today (at least in the bay area where pallets of panels on craigslist commonly go for ~$0.20-0.50/watt.)
You get what you pay for,in solar panels or anything else. 20 cent solar may be advertised, but bait and switch is alive and well in the renewables world. But agreed, its cheap, never cheaper. But let's keep it real cost wise, most still can't afford it.

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Re: 2015 Chevy Spark for Extended "Test Drive"

Post by Alan B » Sep 27 2016 8:05pm

I tried some refurbished panels, they failed quickly. They are rejects that have been patched so they "seem" to work, but they have corrosion or other not easy to see problems.

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Re: 2015 Chevy Spark for Extended "Test Drive"

Post by LI-ghtcycle » Sep 28 2016 12:04am

Got some pics, nothing special, but a lot of fun to drive! :D

Image

Image

Image

I was particularly impressed that it has doors for the rear passenger area, I half expected that it would be where you would need to slide a seat forward and enter from the front to get in back.

I was also impressed by the effortless acceleration! I was taking it easy driving dad around, but I did "accidentally" break loose the tires going up hill! :lol:
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Re: 2015 Chevy Spark for Extended "Test Drive"

Post by Alan B » Sep 28 2016 1:29am

If the tires are slipping, they aren't sticky enough. :)

My friend who has one changed the tires to improve things. Clearly you won't be doing that in this case, but it makes a difference.

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Re: 2015 Chevy Spark for Extended "Test Drive"

Post by LI-ghtcycle » Sep 28 2016 7:59am

Yeah, I can imagine that would make a difference, best part of this car is that no one looks at it twice, until you pass them! :mrgreen:

When we went to the dealer, we were 20min early and the guy who helped us seemed a bit taken aback that this was the loaner we were given "we don't usually let these out of the lot" maybe he was a little jealous?

Put about 29 miles on it last night, seeing how fast the home charger works. I had to run the cord through a window, the outside outlet nearest it has a GFI (who puts a GFI on an OUTDOOR outlet anyway!? :roll: ) so I couldn't use that one, but it's very simple, plug it in and it either gives you a green light to start charging or it doesn't and attempts to self-clear a fault like it detected with the GFI outlet.

Well, back to the garage to finish my E-bike! :)
Thank you Justin_Le for your selfless act of kindness! We all are in your debt.
Back on track E-Bronco! Now with Cro Motor Mid-Drive Goodness!
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Vision R40 w/3000w MXUS as mid-drive, NuVinci N171B rear wheel as transmission, Silent yet powerful, running 72v 11.6 ah (20s 18650 Li-Ion) to climb hills, tow trailer with zero pedaling when needed!

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Re: 2015 Chevy Spark for Extended "Test Drive"

Post by Alan B » Sep 28 2016 9:53am

The GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) is required on outlets outdoors, or near sinks and water to save your life. In some codes they are required in garage outlets as well. They measure the "missing current" imbalance in case some current is not returning (hot vs neutral), which occurs when a person comes into contact with the power and shunts some current to ground, in which case they trip off quickly enough to generally avoid triggering heart fibrillation.

A charger should not trip a GFCI, however they are sensitive, and the large sudden changes in current can occasionally cause spurious trips. Loads that have high power reliability requirements like refrigerators, freezers and car chargers are at risk of losing power with a GFCI outlet due to a spurious trip.

From a fairly brief search it seems that some chargers call for GFCI outlets while others don't address the issue. They do call for grounded outlets, which is also an important safety feature.

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Re: 2015 Chevy Spark for Extended "Test Drive"

Post by LI-ghtcycle » Sep 28 2016 1:40pm

I understand the reason for GFI's and I get it in a bathroom, but most all equipment that I have that is high amp draw is going to trip most of the GFI outlets I have come across, so for me, just having a ground on the equipment makes a lot more sense, been using properly grounded equipment for better part of 30 years with no issues, however, when even an average household vacuum cleaner trips or eventually wears out the GFI, so that it now trips on much lower amp draws THAT has become a greater issue to me.

Perhaps we have really cheap ones, but I have yet to come see a GFI equipped outlet that hasn't had these problems. :)
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Re: 2015 Chevy Spark for Extended "Test Drive"

Post by craneplaneguy » Sep 28 2016 7:48pm

FWIW: I charge my plug in Prius in a outbuilding that has ( now that I think about it) a non GFI outlet, (lived most of my life without GFI, current code requirements aside) with zero issues. The plugin cord has what seems to be a built-in GFI. The Spark sounds pretty cool!

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Re: 2015 Chevy Spark for Extended "Test Drive"

Post by Alan B » Sep 28 2016 8:54pm

LI-ghtcycle wrote:I understand the reason for GFI's and I get it in a bathroom, but most all equipment that I have that is high amp draw is going to trip most of the GFI outlets I have come across, so for me, just having a ground on the equipment makes a lot more sense, been using properly grounded equipment for better part of 30 years with no issues, however, when even an average household vacuum cleaner trips or eventually wears out the GFI, so that it now trips on much lower amp draws THAT has become a greater issue to me.

Perhaps we have really cheap ones, but I have yet to come see a GFI equipped outlet that hasn't had these problems. :)
If you've ever seen how fast 120VAC can kill someone, you might not be satisfied with merely a ground, especially if it was one of your children that was involved. Especially when there is water. High current draw equipment is used on GFCI outlets every day, perhaps some of those old appliances actually do have current leakages and are more dangerous that you realize.

GFCI's have a limited life cycle (they are all cheaply made these days), and should be tested and replaced periodically. They cost about $10. Clearly some loads need more reliable outlets, but GFCIs save a lot of lives.

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Re: 2015 Chevy Spark for Extended "Test Drive"

Post by LI-ghtcycle » Sep 28 2016 11:17pm

craneplaneguy wrote:FWIW: I charge my plug in Prius in a outbuilding that has ( now that I think about it) a non GFI outlet, (lived most of my life without GFI, current code requirements aside) with zero issues. The plugin cord has what seems to be a built-in GFI. The Spark sounds pretty cool!
You know, I thought it was pretty peppy, then today I hit Sport Mode and got a bit aggressive!!

The front wheels chirped and actually drifted a bit! :twisted:

I better be careful or I might get hooked! (seriously might have to buy this car if I don't see us getting a Tesla in the near future, it's a sub compact, but who cares! It has all the amenities I need, lightweight, and if I ever need something with some more room/range we still have our Saturn Vue!)
Thank you Justin_Le for your selfless act of kindness! We all are in your debt.
Back on track E-Bronco! Now with Cro Motor Mid-Drive Goodness!
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Vision R40 w/3000w MXUS as mid-drive, NuVinci N171B rear wheel as transmission, Silent yet powerful, running 72v 11.6 ah (20s 18650 Li-Ion) to climb hills, tow trailer with zero pedaling when needed!

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Re: 2015 Chevy Spark for Extended "Test Drive"

Post by LI-ghtcycle » Sep 28 2016 11:24pm

Alan B wrote:
LI-ghtcycle wrote:I understand the reason for GFI's and I get it in a bathroom, but most all equipment that I have that is high amp draw is going to trip most of the GFI outlets I have come across, so for me, just having a ground on the equipment makes a lot more sense, been using properly grounded equipment for better part of 30 years with no issues, however, when even an average household vacuum cleaner trips or eventually wears out the GFI, so that it now trips on much lower amp draws THAT has become a greater issue to me.

Perhaps we have really cheap ones, but I have yet to come see a GFI equipped outlet that hasn't had these problems. :)
If you've ever seen how fast 120VAC can kill someone, you might not be satisfied with merely a ground, especially if it was one of your children that was involved. Especially when there is water. High current draw equipment is used on GFCI outlets every day, perhaps some of those old appliances actually do have current leakages and are more dangerous that you realize.

GFCI's have a limited life cycle (they are all cheaply made these days), and should be tested and replaced periodically. They cost about $10. Clearly some loads need more reliable outlets, but GFCIs save a lot of lives.
No worries, I am a very safety conscious person and I can appreciate what you're saying, just in my own personal experience, I have had no problems growing up in a turn of the century vintage house (1900) with push button light switches, VERY old wiring, and I even once in my youthful ignorance managed to cut a live cord to a fan and suffered nothing other than embarrassment and having to explain what happened to a pair of needle nose pliers.

Goodness knows I could have been killed, but I wasn't even shocked, as the up-graded fuse box did it's job (I would guess the house had such things re-done around the '50's) and I was fine.

That said, I can understand why you would prefer to have GFI outlets, I have just had more negative experiences with them, and it's kind of like bicycle helmets.

Growing up, NO ONE wore bicycle helmets, but these days I wouldn't dream of riding even a short trip with out one (really brings it home when my father was seriously injured on a bike even though he WAS wearing a helmet!) so I completely understand and support your view, I am just no a fan of GFI outlets. :wink:
Thank you Justin_Le for your selfless act of kindness! We all are in your debt.
Back on track E-Bronco! Now with Cro Motor Mid-Drive Goodness!
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Vision R40 w/3000w MXUS as mid-drive, NuVinci N171B rear wheel as transmission, Silent yet powerful, running 72v 11.6 ah (20s 18650 Li-Ion) to climb hills, tow trailer with zero pedaling when needed!

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