GM rolls out new electric mini-car at LA Auto Show

Associated Press Modified: November 27, 2012 at 6:15 am •  Published: November 27, 2012
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INSIDE: Though it's a mini-car, it has lots of big-car touches, like leather seats and GM's OnStar safety system. The Spark EV will have a smartphone-based infotainment system that gives drivers access to navigation and music apps like Pandora. Drivers with a compatible iPhone can link up their phones and perform tasks — like sending email or texts — by talking to Apple's Siri. The car also has 10 air bags and electronic stability control, which helps keep it steady despite its small frame.

OUTSIDE: The five-door hatchback is tiny, at 144.7 inches long. That's about five inches longer than a Fiat 500. It comes in lime green and other unusual hues.

CHEERS: GM customers will now have an all-electric option that costs less than its chief rivals. The EV could also increase buyers' interest in the gasoline version of the Spark, which went on sale in the summer.

JEERS: Demand for electric cars has been anemic so far. GM and other automakers have fallen significantly short of EV sales targets, especially as gas prices have fallen. Electrics remain expensive, and drivers are concerned about getting stranded too far from a charging station. While the Spark is great for city drivers who need to fit into tight parking spaces, those drivers may not have garages or other spots to charge up their cars at night.