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Looking to build on the momentum of its Chevy Volt extended-range electric vehicle, which saw its sales triple year-over-year in 2012, Chevrolet will launch its new plug-in Spark EV subcompact in California and Oregon this summer. The automaker recently announced that the Chevy Spark EV will be the most efficient electric vehicle on the retail market, offering an EPA rating of 119 MPGe in combined city and highway driving and a range of up to 82 miles.

Chevrolet has designed the Spark EV to eliminate some of the barriers to entry that have dissuaded buyers from electric vehicles in the past. An optional combination charger can replenish the battery to 80 percent capacity in just 20 minutes, while a supercar-like 400 pound-feet of torque from the Spark EV’s electric motor helps the car go from zero to 60 mph in less than eight seconds. Though other electric vehicles can come with a premium price tag, the Spark EV will cost buyers less than $25,000 after they take advantage of a $7,500 federal tax credit.

“Chevy’s Volt has done a lot to take electric vehicles closer to the mainstream, and the latest technology in the Spark EV shows that the automaker is committed to the long-term success of the market,” said Jeanette Downing, general manager of Goodwin Chevrolet Brunswick, a Maine Chevy dealer. “Who would have thought just a decade ago that we would be seeing vehicles with the equivalent of triple-digit fuel economy? We don’t yet know when and if the Spark EV will go on sale in Maine, but it will be an excellent complement to the Volt.”

In late March, the Chevrolet Volt was named a top compact vehicle for commuters by AAA Auto Buying experts, who lauded the car’s ability to change between gas and electric modes as drivers switch from the highway to city streets on their way to work. J.D. Power and Associates has also now ranked the Volt as having the Highest Ranked Vehicle Appeal in its Compact Car category for two years in a row, with owners responding to its impressive fuel economy, modern design, top safety rankings and smooth handling.

The Chevy Volt was the best-selling plug-in car in the United States in 2012, moving 23,461 units. That tally put the model far ahead of its closest competitor, the Nissan LEAF, which sold about 9,800 units last year. Sales of the Volt remain solid in 2013, rising 8 percent in the first quarter compared to the same time period in 2012.

“Charging the Chevy Volt costs its owners less than $2, while Spark EV owners are expected to save up to $9,000 in fuel costs in five years,” added Downing. “Those savings alone are enough to make many buyers seriously consider an electric vehicle, but they get so much more because Chevy has ensured that its EVs provide features and performance that closely match what conventional models offer.”