General Motors readies Springo EV for Chinese market

General Motors Springo EV teaser front endThe Chevrolet Spark EV isn’t the only electric car General Motors is working on. The American motor giant is preparing to launch an EV called Springo in Asian markets. The Springo is the product of a partnership between GM and China’s SAIC Motor Corporation Limited.

So far, all GM and SAIC are releasing are a couple of teaser photos, but don’t expect anything too out of the ordinary when the car is fully revealed. The Springo’s design is reportedly a combination of the Chevy Sail concept from the 2010 Guangzhou Motor Show and the Volt.

Like the Volt, the Springo will be a compact hatchback, probably with the same general shape for aerodynamic efficiency. Volt styling cues are very apparent in the front end, which features the same grille as Chevy’s plug-in hybrid, complete with fake mesh.

GM hasn’t confirmed anything yet, but the Springo will reportedly get its motivation from the same 87 horsepower electric motor as the Spark EV, with electricity coming from a lithium ion battery pack of undetermined size.

The Springo’s maximum range is tentatively being quoted at 93 miles, giving it a significant advantage over the Nissan Leaf (79 miles), Ford Focus Electric (76 miles), and the Coda sedan (88 miles), which is also made in China. Top speed is a less-impressive 80 mph.

General Motors Springo EV teaser charge portThe Springo will be unveiled at the 2012 Guangzhou Motor Show, which opens November 23. GM and SAIC plan to put the car on sale in China before the end of the year, and possibly export it to other Asian countries in 2013. The Springo could be sold either as a Chevrolet or under its own brand name.

Pricing will most likely be announced at Guangzhou, but so far the Springo is shaping up to be more of an economy EV than a Tesla Model S competitor. This compact EV probably won’t move the segment forward.

Instead, the Springo will be a volume seller, competing against Nissan, Ford, and possibly GM’s own Chevy Volt. A potential Volt (meaning low) level of fit and finish, and a piddling 87 hp, mean buyers in Europe and America probably won’t be missing the Springo, unless it is extremely cheap.