• Chevrolet's 2015 Spark EV drops 86 pounds due to lighter battery
  • 2015 model will keep 2014 Spark EV's 82-mile range, 119-mpge rating
  • Spark EV still sold only to shoppers in California and Oregon

The 2015 Chevrolet Spark EV will offer a smaller, lighter battery for the 2015 model year. That's the latest from Chevrolet, which says the new battery will lose a little energy capacity but save weight, preserving the Spark EV's 82-mile range.

According to Chevrolet, the Spark EV will ditch last year's 21-kWh lithium-ion battery pack for a new 19-kWh pack. While such a change would usually decrease a car's performance, the Spark EV's new battery will help the fully electric hatchback shed 86 pounds, meaning the EV will preserve its Environmental Protection Agency range and its fuel economy rating of 119 miles per gallon equivalent.

But switching to the new battery will do more than just save weight. While today's Spark EV battery is built by a supplier -- A123 Systems -- the new battery will be built in-house by General Motors. That will likely help the automaker keep costs down as the Spark EV improves its popularity nationwide.

Speaking of costs, Chevrolet also made a recent announcement about the Spark EV's base price. The automaker says pricing for the 2015 Spark EV won't increase over last year's base figure of $27,495 with destination. That makes the Spark EV one of the most affordable electric cars on the market, and that's before state and federal tax credits that can mean even greater savings for car shoppers.

While the Spark EV may sound appealing, it's not available to all car shoppers. Right now, the small hatchback is only on sale in California and Oregon, though Chevrolet says there's some chance it will expand the small hatchback's sales area to other states around the country in the future.

What it means to you: The 2015 Chevrolet Spark EV boasts a smaller battery, an excellent range and the same attractive base price as last year's model. Our only gripe: You can't get one unless you live in California or Oregon.

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Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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