The Chevy Spark EV is an answer to one of the great challenges electric vehicle (EV) adoption rates face: when will prices of EVs come down to a more affordable point? At $26,685 the Spark is stepping up to deliver an affordable EV. And if you qualify for the $7,500 rebate on electric vehicles, it comes down under the magic $20K mark (down to the mid 17K mark if purchased in California).

The higher price point of the models beginning to find their way to today’s markets leaves many EVs out of reach. It will be hard to convince the general public to buy vehicles that cost as much as a luxury model without luxury benefits. Add to that decreased range, slow recharge times and smaller cargo capacity, it’s a hard sell. Many early EV adopters do it to help the technology mature, much like the early buyers of cellphones were willing to pay a premium and deal with horrible coverage and quality.

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But at under $20K, the Chevy Spark EV is a compelling buy. Even more compelling: the $199/month lease program. With a little over 80 miles per charge, four seats and plenty of acceleration, Car and Driver thought it had a lot of muscle for its size and lived up to Chevy’s moniker of ‘fun to drive.’┬áMany reviews have noted that the EV version of the spark is faster than the gasoline version (8 seconds to 60 instead of the gasoline’s 11). So fun to drive, faster off the line than its gasoline version, all-electric and affordable to boot.

The only down-side is that this EV is only available in California and Oregon when it launches next year.

Chevy had an electric hit with the Volt, which features a gas engine that extends the range of the vehicle when the charge runs out. The Spark EV will be Chevy’s first all-electric vehicle since the EV-1 back in the 90’s. The EV-1 was popular, but GM refused to sell them, only leased them. Many owners were bitter about this, and it was the center image of the documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car?”

Will the Spark be able to regain the EV community’s trust?

At a little over $17,000 in California with federal and state rebates, it might well do just that.