YouTube Video Indicates Chevrolet May Be Reviving the Chevy Spark EV in Latin America

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The Chevrolet Spark was Chevrolet’s smallest, most affordable model; the Spark EV was its underpowered EV version, built to comply with California’s regulations. Both are relics of a forgotten time: one, from when GM was still interested in making cheap basic cars; the other, from when EV sales were a blip on the radar and most of the models available were “compliance cars.”

But it seems that “Spark” is a name not easily forgotten, as a new, very different Spark EV has been recently spotted in Colombia.

Chevy Spark EV Spotted in the Wild

A YouTuber recently found a camouflaged “Chevrolet Spark EV” charging in Colombia.

There’s a small but growing ecosystem of Latin American EV fans who publish YouTube videos of … well, anything they see regarding electric cars. Most of them are EV owners, people who sell some aftermarket merch, or both. 

One of these channels recently found a thoroughly camouflaged EV at one of Colombia’s rapid charging stations and got a bit closer to check it out. And even though the design looks nothing like the Spark we knew, the registration read precisely that: Chevrolet Spark, 2024 Model. 

Since there’s no available information regarding any Spark EV on the continent, my guess is that this is a Chinese-made EV under some of Chevrolet’s joint ventures in China. But, which one? 

Baojun Yep Plus?

The camouflage works well, but the front lights have a very particular design, which allowed me to pinpoint the model that — I think — is hidden under that cover: the Baojun Yep Plus. 

Further details on the video led me to believe that this is correct: the design in the second-row windows fits that of the Baojun, the length is about what you’d expect, and there’s even the same rack on top of the car. 

This is a 3.99-meter-long wannabe SUV that in China comes with a 42kWh LFP battery and a 75kW motor. Sold under the SAIC–GM venture, this is not a particularly popular model in China, but under the Chevrolet badge, and at an affordable price, it could undoubtedly conquer the Colombian market.

What’s an affordable price? Well, this car is slightly longer and has a slightly larger battery than the top-of-the-line BYD Seagull, which is sold at COP$87,000,000 ($21,300), so a higher price (perhaps in the $21,500 to $23,000 range) may make the sell … or it may not: Chevrolet is a locally recognized brand, but it lacks the EV clout BYD has been gaining. Perhaps a more competitive price vis-à-vis the Seagull is required.

As far as ICEVs go, the Baojun Yep Plus (or should we already call it the Chevy Spark EV?) would be roughly in line with the Renault Stepway, a locally produced, similarly sized wannabe SUV. As of today, this car is COP$76,740,000 ($18,770), so somewhere in that range would be required for this car to reach price parity with ICEVs. This would also put it in line with the entry-level Seagull. 

Of course, it may well be that GM goes the way of Renault and brings it at a higher price, hoping to make a larger margin by selling some units thanks to the prestige it maintains in the country. That’s what happened with the Renault Kwid E-Tech at least.

But that strategy only really worked before the Chinese heavy hitters landed (particularly the Seagull). With announcements that the BYD Yuan Up may be close to its arrival in the region, this rebranded Chevy Spark EV will have to offer good value to be competitive. 

Final Thoughts

I have been wondering for three years now why it has taken GM and other legacy automakers so long to take their joint-venture EVs out of China and into developing markets. The Wuling Hongguang could’ve been a hit under the Chevrolet brand, for example, and it was perhaps more fitting for the name “Spark.”

My guess (and this is a long shot) is that they weren’t really interested in cannibalizing their affordable ICEVs, which dominate the Latin American market … until the arrival of cheap Chinese EVs started threatening that market. Now it’s either bring them and outcompete BYD (and Geely, and others), or lose that market share regardless. And they’re choosing to fight.

In any case, I’ll let you guys know when this car is officially presented and at what price. Until then, stay tuned!

Featured image from X user @Tychodefeijter.

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Juan Diego Celemín Mojica

Passionate for all things Latin American, I’ve been closely following the energy and mobility transitions since they started to become present south of the equator.

Juan Diego Celemín Mojica has 42 posts and counting. See all posts by Juan Diego Celemín Mojica