2012 Coda SedanEnlarge Photo
Once every four years -- with a few odd exceptions -- February gets an extra day.
That’s probably a good thing, because Californian automaker Coda promised earlier this year that it would deliver its first all-electric 2012 Sedan by the end of this month.
Even with an extra day, Coda looks to be letting yet another milestone whir past.
We’re not surprised, but can’t help feel a little concerned about the plucky electric car startup.
You see, we fear everyone from industry insiders to retail buyers may simply lose interest in Coda.
In its short history, the Coda Sedan -- which started life as the Miles XS500 -- has been on the “Nearly Here” list of electric cars for five years. That's a long time for anyone to wait for a new car.
Originally, the Miles XS500 promised an 80-mph top speed, and a 120-mile range from a 6-hour charge. It would, Miles Automotive promised, ship by the start of 2009 with a $30,000 price tag.
When Coda was split out from Miles Automotive in 2009, it laid out its plans to bring the Coda Sedan to market by autumn 2010. By then, the list price had crept up to $45,000.
2011 Coda Sedan prototype - frontEnlarge Photo
All of this happened before Coda went through an ever darker period, losing several key executives and its CEO within two weeks.
More delays followed, including several adjustments to launch schedules.
In April last year, Coda's new CEO Phil Murtaugh explained the delays were because the firm was making some last-minute adjustments to the Coda Sedan to improve interior trim, specifications, and performance.
He promised the car would go on sale by the end of 2011.
Last November, Coda released the final pricing of the 2012 Coda Sedan, but omitted to say when it would head to market.
Even with a 10-year, 100,000-mile battery warranty, the staid-looking Coda’s $39,900 price tag seemed rather expensive.
The end of 2011 came and went.
By the time Coda attended the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, it was promising it would deliver cars by February 2012.
2011 Coda Sedan at Hertz Global EV rental launch, New York City, December 2010Enlarge Photo
With one month left before sales were due to start -- and no official EPA ratings or crash-test results yet published -- Coda shocked us by announcing it would offer customers a shorter-range battery option, cutting the range of a base-level 2012 Sedan (at $37,250) to 125 miles from the higher-spec model's 150 miles.
Since then, Coda has remained almost silent, save for the occasional press release that omitted the issue of initial Coda Sedan deliveries altogether.
[UPDATE: Essentially at the same time we published this story, Larkin Hill, director of corporate communications for Coda Automotive, sent us the following statement:
CODA is in the very final stages of assembly in Northern California and we're looking forward to delivering very, very soon. I look forward to being in close touch over the next few weeks.]
We've reached out to Coda several times over the past two weeks for comment. As of today, we'd received no responses by e-mail or phone to our queries.
The core question remains unanswered: Will Coda meet its self-imposed deadline of selling at least one production electric car to a customer by today?
The lack of response would seem to indicate that we won't see any deliveries of the 2012 Coda Sedan today.
Only time will tell when--or if--that will happen.