It doesn't get mentioned as much in the press as the 2011 Nissan Leaf and 2011 Chevrolet Volt, but there's a third compact electric car coming to market within the next six months. It's the 2011 Coda Sedan, and now Green Car Reports is happy to bring you the first published photos of the production version.
A number of details have been changed from the early prototype we rode in back in April 2009. At the front, the "grille plate" now has a pair of horizontal fins each side of the Coda badge.
At the rear, the taillights, decklid, and badge have all been modified. Coda is offering new options for wheel designs, and the antenna has been redesigned as well. And several color options have been photographed for the first time, including silver, black, and our favorite, a medium blue.
2011 Coda Sedan prototype - interiorEnlarge Photo
For all that, the Coda remains essentially what it was born as: an electric adaptation of the Hafei Saibao sedan from China, itself based on the former Mitsubishi Carisma.
It's a plain, unremarkable four-door sedan, neither offensive nor particularly remarkable. It won't get a tenth the looks of even a Toyota Prius, let alone the Nissan Leaf.
But the interior, where drivers spend most of their time, seems to be the crucial selling point for cars these days.
Coda has added an 8.4-inch touchscreen monitor to the center stack, and included AUX and USB connectors, along with a tray specifically for storing your mobile phone or MP3 player located under the stack.
The company has also heavily modified the Coda Sedan's seats. Their shape, fabric, and stitching have all been refined for both more interior space and better visual appeal. They're undeniably classier looking than the utilitarian originals.
Finally, the shifter (to select forward and reverse modes) is now a rotating wheel, not a transmission-style lever.
We note, however, that the main moldings for the dashboard and instrument panel seem to have been carried over from the original car, although advanced airbags with variable deployment have been added behind the panel.
Our memory is that the quality of the plastics was pretty basic, but perhaps the material quality has been upgraded too.
screen capture from promotional video for 2010 Coda Sedan electric car, released June 2010Enlarge Photo
Coda's been amping up its public profile of late, as it moves closer to delivering its first production vehicles before the end of the year.
It is apparently close to signing a deal for a California asembly plant in the San Francisco Bay-side community of Benicia.
It announced plans to sell cars in Hawaii by the third quarter of 2011, putting the Coda Sedan head-to-head against the 2011 Nisan Leaf in a market that has some of the highest gas prices in the country.
Earlier this year, it announced that it would assemble its lithium-ion battery packs in Ohio, courtesy of a U.S. Department of Energy low-interest loan guarantee. While the Hafei Saibao "glider" vehicle on which the Coda is based is manufactured in China, it turns out that the Coda's 2011 Sedan actually qualifies as a U.S.-built car.
For more information on Coda, see our interview with the company CEO: Five Questions: Kevin Czinger, CEO, Coda Automotive.
Coda Automotive logoEnlarge Photo