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GM redesigns Spark EV battery, saves 86 lbs

New battery to be built in Michigan for 2015 model year.

The new Chevrolet Spark EV is not due for a refresh, but that hasn't stopped General Motors from improving its battery for the 2015 model year.

The company has worked with battery cell provider LG Chem to reengineer the battery system, reducing overall weight by 86 pounds compared to the pack installed in the 2014 Spark EV.

The redesigned battery appears to be capable of safely running deeper cycles, allowing the car to maintain its 82-mile range estimate using 19 kWh of storage capacity. The 2014 model utilizes a 21kWh battery pack to drive the same distance, while the rival Nissan Leaf only promises to cruise for 75 miles with its 24kWh system.

It is unclear if the lighter battery provides a slight acceleration advantage. The 2014 model is claimed to reach 60 mph from a standstill in under eight seconds, with 130 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque from its electric motor.

The new batteries are being produced on a dedicated assembly line at GM's new facility in Brownstone, Michigan, alongside components for the Chevrolet Volt, Opel Ampera and Cadillac ELR.

The company promises the redesign will not affect the Spark EV's $26,685 base price (before federal incentives).

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