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Mini-sized EV range face-off: How does the little Chevy Spark EV’s 119 MPGe combined rating stack up?

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV drivingChevrolet’s Spark EV is one of the smallest cars on sale today, battery-powered or otherwise. Driving around in a tiny hatchback like the Spark requires sacrifices in both practicality and perceived level of coolness, but is there an efficiency benefit?

Now that the EPA has released its official ratings for the Spark EV, we can find out. The Chevy’s estimated range is 82 miles on a full charge, and it gets 119 MPGe combined.

The range estimate puts the Spark pretty squarely in the middle of the EV field. The larger Nissan Leaf has a 73-mile range, but the Coda sedan can go 88 miles on a charge.

The similarly-sized Fiat 500e has an 87-mile range, and looks better while driving those miles. The Honda Fit EV ties the Spark, while the Mitsubishi i-MiEV falls short with a 62-mile range.

The Spark’s 119 MPGe rating puts it at the top, if just barely. The Fit EV returns 118 MPGe, so in real world driving they would effectively be the same. The 500e isn’t too far behind at 116 MPGe.

The Scion iQ EV’s 121 MPGe rating actually beats the Chevy’s, but Scion is only importing a handful of these cars to the United States. The iQ EV also has a very limited 38-mile range.

Again, the Spark’s size seems to be working to its advantage when compared to the benchmark Leaf’s 99 MPGe combined rating.

The Spark has a 21-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and an electric motor with 130 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque.

When equipped with the optional DC Fast Charging combo charger (Chevy says this is the first vehicle on the market with this SAE-approved multi-mode charger), it can charge its battery to 80 percent in 20 minutes.

A normal 240-volt charge takes “less than seven hours” according to Chevrolet, although that requires a dedicated charging system. The car comes with a 120-volt cord that plugs into normal household outlets.

The 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV will go on sale this year, but only in certain markets such as California and Oregon. Chevy says it will cost less than $25,000 with tax credits.