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GM Will Keep Supplying Battery Packs to the Spark EV – Just Don't Ask About Their Prices

General Motors seized Autoblog’s curiosity to clarify something about the Spark EV. After EV-Resource warned that it was no longer making battery pack replacements for the small electric hatchback, the automaker told Autoblog that this was a mistake. In other words, the battery-pack replacements will still be made. Yet, what we told our readers to think about remains valid: the current EV model adoption holds some unpleasant surprises for the future.
Chevrolet Spark EV 15 photos
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According to Autoblog, what happens is that the first Spark EV battery packs were made by a company that went bust: A123 Systems. When that happened, GM put another supplier to take care of them. It was LG Chem, which we now call LG Energy Solution.

GM told Autoblog that the stock of battery packs made by A123 Systems had run out, making the company close that part number. The automaker suspects that this was what led dealers to tell EV-Resource that there would be no more battery packs for the Spark EV. The problem is that the battery pack made by LGES has a different part number which is still available for order – only not right now.

The supply shortage that is affecting the world is to blame. However, GM forgot to mention that LGES has other priorities at the moment, such as creating battery packs for the Bolt EV and EUV, which are involved in a massive recall that will cost $2 billion, most of it coming from the Korean supplier.

GM also needs batteries for the GMC Hummer EV and other electric products it intends to sell in the future. The priority will be for the recalled cars and new vehicles. When the American automaker has time and enough cells for its crucial cars, it may start to think about the Spark EV. Buying them back may be a better strategy, especially considering so few were ever sold – less than 5,000 units if we got the math right.

Remember that GM only has to care about them while they are still under warranty. It will end in 2024 for the 2016 model year Spark EVs, the last ones manufactured by the company. When it offers those 18.4-kWh battery packs again, they should cost more than the entire used Spark EVs. Currently, a 2016 unit in pristine condition costs around $12,000.

Although the Spark EV has a relatively small battery pack, it should not be cheap. Tesla charges around $20,000 for the 100-kWh battery pack, which gives us $200 per kWh. However, the company produces these components in much higher numbers than GM will make battery-pack replacements for the Spark EV. They just have to cost more than $6,000 for the used Spark EVs to become write-offs.

This is not exclusive to the small electric hatchback. All current electric used cars face the same issue. For those with high production numbers, used battery packs still help them keep running, but even they have problems finding them. If they used swappable battery packs or even swappable battery modules, they could work for many more years than those with fixed ternary battery packs. The EV world is yet to discuss this matter as it should.


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