In a clear sign that Direct Current (DC) power systems are gaining widespread acceptance, General Motors has announced plans to produce an electric vehicle that accepts both AC and DC input for charging. According to an article posted on The New York Times web site, the electric-only Chevrolet Spark will be GM’s second EV product, following the success of the Chevy Volt. The car will come with a standard AC charge port, but will also have a DC port. The difference does more than just add flexibility to the car’s charging options. AC charging is typically done using 110 or 220 volt systems, such as those found in a home. Those deliver 1 to 5 kilowatts of power, meaning it takes hours to charge the car’s batteries. A DC vehicle charger, such as those found in Nextek-designed microgrids, can deliver 50 kilowatts, which will bring the Spark to 80 percent charge in just 20 minutes. The charging speed will be important to the Spark, since it will not have a gasoline engine backup like the Volt.
The Spark EV will be introduced this summer in California and Oregon. Sticker price is expected to be less than $25,000 after tax incentives.