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2010 Coda Sedan: Exclusive Video Gives Electric-Car Details

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screen capture from promotional video for 2010 Coda Sedan electric car, released June 2010

screen capture from promotional video for 2010 Coda Sedan electric car, released June 2010

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Launching a brand-new car make is a tough task; just ask General Motors (RIP Saturn).

But if you're electric-car startup Coda Automotive, you have at least one plus (it's a pure electric car, which is sexy) to offset several potential minuses (who's Coda? it's made in China? I can't buy one outside California?).

Video exclusive!

To reach out to potential buyers of their all-electric compact four-door sedan, the 2010 Coda Sedan (yes, that's its actual name), Coda has put together a snappy little 3-minute video. GreenCarReports.com is happy to be the first to tell you about it.

We've covered Coda for quite a while now. We rode in a prototype Coda Sedan last June, and interviewed CEO Kevin Czinger shortly thereafter.

What's a Coda?

We noticed a few interesting things about the video. First, it explains the odd brand name: A coda is "the musical phrase that brings a piece to an end, so a new one can begin." The Coda is bringing the gasoline era to an end and starting a new electric-car era. Get it?

Second, it stresses the car's zero-emission credentials a few times, including the fact that an average car engine is only 20 percent effective at converting the energy in gasoline into torque to the wheels, meaning four-fifths of your gas money goes out the tailpipe.

Which provides a predictable but undeniable segue: And the Coda has no tailpipe! Bah dah BUM.

100-mile range

It highlights the standard charging connector, gives a time of six hours for a full charge of the lithium-ion battery pack, and nods to the range (just once) as "100-plus miles." The warranty for the battery is eight years or 100,000 miles.

We were a little startled that Coda goes into a bit of EV esoterica: Do most potential buyers know what a Battery Management System is? And it's the first-ever marketing video aimed at consumers that uses the phrase "Tier One suppliers," which means big parts makers.

Assembled in U.S.--but...

Interestingly, Coda stresses the car's U.S. assembly. Which is technically true; complete rolling chassis are shipped from China, and the battery packs and other components to power the cars will be installed in Southern California.

The cells for those packs, however, will initially come from China. Coda plans to build battery cells in the U.S. if the company is granted a low-interest loan from the U.S. Department of Energy. It is planning a lithium-ion cell manufacturing plant in Ohio.

Will Leaf pricing be a problem?

Initial deliveries of the 2010 Coda Sedan will start at the end of 2010--meaning Coda will no longer beat the 2011 Chevrolet Volt to market--but Coda says it expects to sell 14,000 cars by the end of 2011, a surprisingly high number.

Pricing has not been finalized, but is expected to be in the "mid to low 30s including incentives," according to Coda exec Matt Sloustcher, which might mean $45,000 to $47,500 before a $7,500 Federal tax credit and a $5,000 cash rebate from the state of California.

Coda may face some resistance on that pricing, however. The nearest comparable car, the all-electric 2011 Nissan Leaf hatchback, starts at $32,780--meaning it is priced at about $25,000 after the Federal credit, and exactly $20,280 after adding the California rebate.

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  1. Coda doesn't stand a chance unless they can find a way to sell cars for under 20k in California (after incentives.)
     
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