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Electric-Car Startup Coda Gets $76 Million in Venture Funds

 
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2011 Coda Sedan at Hertz Global EV rental launch, New York City, December 2010

2011 Coda Sedan at Hertz Global EV rental launch, New York City, December 2010

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Last year was a rough one for electric-car startup Coda. The company replaced its CEO, along with its marketing chief, and announced a delay of up to nine months in the launch of its first car, the 2011 Coda Sedan.

This year is starting off on a much better note, though, with the announcement of an additional round of venture funding: $76 million, to be precise.

Two new investors, Harbinger Capital Partners and Riverstone Holdings LLC, led the round. Each will each get one seat on Coda's board.

2011 Coda Sedan electric car, 'All Electric' badge, 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show

2011 Coda Sedan electric car, 'All Electric' badge, 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show

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Several existing backers contributed to the Series D round as well, including co-chairman and Coda founder Miles Rubin; Steven “Mac” Heller, who is currentlly Coda's interim CEO and a former Goldman Sachs banker; Aeris Capital, which led Coda's oversubscribed $58 million Series C round last May; and Coda's founding funder, Angeleno Partners.

The new round brings total invested capital to more than $200 million. The new funds will be used for two purposes: preparing for the start of 2011 Coda Sedan production, and its sales and marketing efforts; and additional investment in Coda's joint-venture with Lishen Power Battery to build lithium-ion battery packs.

2011 Coda Sedan, final production version

2011 Coda Sedan, final production version

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The joint venture, LIO Energy Systems, has proposed an Ohio manufacturing plant capable of producting 1.9 million kilowatt-hours of lithium-ion cells annually, for both automotive and energy storage applications. LIO has requested funding from the Department of Energy's advanced-technology vehicle manufacturing program of low-interest loans.

Despite lengthy odds for a small startup competing against established global automakers like Nissan, which recently started deliveries of its 2011 Leaf electric car, Coda feels confident its sedan can compete and win, despite a price of $44,900, fully $12,000 higher than the Leaf.

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

Enlarge Photo

The company notes that the 2011 Coda Sedan will be (on launch) the only compact electric sedan with a full-size trunk on sale; its 33.8-kilowatt-hour battery pack is one-third larger than the Leaf's, meaning its 100- to 120-mile range may be more reliable; and its 6.6-kilowatt charger permits recharging the battery pack at twice the rate of the Leaf's.

[Coda Automotive]



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Comments (5)
  1. So what's this another Coda press release, they need to do allot more then continue sending out press releases. But at least its good news.
     
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  2. A lottery for car for more press and visibility would help.
     
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  3. "Despite the lengthy odds..." I guess I feel the same way. But wait a minute, are we wrong? Someone felt so optimistic that they contributed 76MM to CODA's effort. What do they see that we don't?
     
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  4. I'm with John. If somebody ponied up $76mm then Coda must be something more than a hyped green startup that has failed to deliver the dream. You would think people writing a check of that size would take the time to see through the smoke and came away impressed by the technology, plus this company's potential to deliver it to the market. In Missouri we say "show me". Is Coda another Tesla or just a pretender?
     
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  5. along with the car, they have a huge interest in the batteries. i am pretty sure they will be around, in one way or the other. the 9-month delay just took away most of their ability to sell those first cars at a big premium.
    i do not think they will be able to sell their car at the price that they have now, once the supply-demand curve evens out.
     
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