Chevy has plans to provide Spark EV replacement batteries after all, the company confirmed late Wednesday after multiple outlets and various social media users shared news that Chevy dealerships had confirmed its discontinuation. This is good news for owners of older Spark EVs who may need replacements, but ongoing logistics issues may delay the availability of packs.
While reports that the batteries supplied by China's A123 Systems are no longer available proved to be true, GM has a solution in the form of a different supplier: LG Chem — the company that provided packs for later units in the Spark EV's production run.
Not even a week ago, we posted that General Motors had stopped providing battery packs for the Spark EV based on a story from EV-Resource, who'd been told by dealership service departments that said the battery was unavailable. That appeared to be confirmed by an an unnamed GM exec who told the site, "We are no longer going to supply that battery."
The Spark EV Owner's Facebook page said the same thing, the group contacting dealers and being told the battery is unavailable, and a dealer tech commenting on the page to say none of the higher ups had told him anything.
GM wrote Wednesday to let us know the report is incorrect, saying, "While we are currently experiencing a temporary disruption in the supply of new Spark EV packs, GM remains committed to providing replacement packs to Spark EV owners who need them in the future and will work with owners until we get the supply issues resolved."
We asked the spokesperson how they thought the story got from "GM is temporarily out of Spark EV batteries" to "GM won't make Spark EV batteries again." The reply began, "Batteries used in the 2014 MY Spark EV were supplied by another company, not LG."
Those units came from China's A123 Systems, which suffered some issues through the first years of use after the Spark went on sale in 2013.
"We switched to LG in 2015 and for the rest of the Spark EV’s run," the spokesperson continued. "We did have some replacement packs for 2014 with the cells from the old supplier, but when those ran out we closed off that part [number] for re-order. [We] think [someone] saw that and jumped to the conclusion that we weren’t providing replacement packs anymore, not realizing the packs from the other model years are compatible for use in 2014 MY Spark EVs."
That is, GM used up its supply of replacement packs from A123 Systems, and someone didn't realize the LG Chem packs were compatible with the Spark EV's that had used the A123 Systems packs. The confusion was compounded because GM is out of LG Chem packs at the moment.
Asked when GM thinks more LG Chem packs will be available, the spokesperson said, "We’re working with our supplier to resolve these issues as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, I can’t give you an exact time when we should have ample packs available."
Perhaps the most important question after that is what can Spark EV owners expect for the next decade. With packs having an 8-year, 100,000-mile warranty, the last Spark EV battery could be covered until 2025 depending on mileage. When we asked if GM knows how long it plans to provide batteries for the electric hatchback, we were told, "We’re working through the plans here to go beyond the warranty period and will have more to share soon."
So, Spark EV owners, rejoice. Well, whenever packs are available again.