Where General Motors is not taking chances in marketing the Spark EV to only California and Oregon to start with, it is playing it up big in comparing the car to Ferrari’s 458 Italia.
A whimsical Chevy ad (below) is attention grabbing, and we’ll see how effective it is, but whether Ferraristi up and sell their prancing red ponies in exchange for the humble bowtie-badged city car remains to be seen.
“Now you can give up gas, without giving up performance. Introducing the all-new pure electric 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV,” intones the narrator’s drama-laden voice as technicians turn up the dial on a fictional spark-generating machine in the 33 second spot. “It packs a whopping 400 pound-feet of torque. That’s more than a Ferrari 458 Italia. With zero emissions.”
Then they show the Spark sparking a short distance quicker than a bolt of lightening.
“A car powered by electricity, that moves like electricity,” continues the narrator. “That’s American ingenuity to find new roads.”
Catchy. And perhaps some folks will love the ad – and as people do in the theater – suspend disbelief.
For one, the Ferrari has a mere 2 rated pounds-feet of torque less than the Chevy, at 398 pounds-feet – and it actually delivers it, which may be in question with the Spark EV.
And no, the Ferrari’s peak torque is not at zero rpm, but hits relatively low at 3,250 rpm as the screaming 4.5-liter naturally aspirated V8 crescendos toward 562 peak horsepower and its 9,000 rpm redline.
The $233,509 Ferrari does a 0-60 sprint in 3.0 seconds. The $26,685 Spark does it less than half a second slower than a Toyota Camry Hybrid, at 7.6 seconds.
But hey, it’s the imagery that counts, right? And that’s a lot of sparks for the bucks, especially when all subsidies are tallied.
However while the Ferrari doesn’t spool peak torque off the line, we’re wondering whether the Chevy actually does?
Electric motors theoretically do, but if this Chevy puts down all 400 pounds-feet from zero mph, it ought to do some long smoky front-wheel burnouts.
Odds are it’s electrically curtailed, so when does the full torque actually hit?
This situation could be similar to the Fisker Karma that boasted 903 pounds-feet, and could not burn rubber to save its life even with 50 percent more torque than a ZR1 Vette.
Will someone please dyno the Spark EV, and let us know?
And meanwhile, here’s hoping the ad is as effective as hoped, and blows away buyers even more than the Spark blows away a lightening bolt and exceeds a quarter million dollar Italian sports car’s torque figure by .05 percent.
If so, maybe GM will be as bold as the marketing copywriters – or Nissan and Mitsubishi – and launch the car to the rest of the country where it can find new roads outside of Oregon and California.
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