Coda Abandons Plan To Build Its Battery Cells In U.S.

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2012 Coda Sedans on assembly line, Benicia, California, March 2012

2012 Coda Sedans on assembly line, Benicia, California, March 2012

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We breathed a sigh of relief when Coda announced it had started production of its electric Sedan earlier this month.

Then, we positively jumped for joy when little over a week later, the first customers started taking delivery of their new 2012 Coda Sedans. It had certainly been a long time coming.

However, good news rarely lasts, and now the Columbus Dispatch reports (via Green Car Congress) that Coda Automotive has dropped its plans to build a lithium-ion battery fabrication plant in Columbus, Ohio.

The abandoned plans are due to the delay Coda has experienced in receiving definitive responses from the U.S. Department of Energy on its application for a $500 million low-interest loan guarantee under the advanced technology vehicle manufacturing program.

That program previously granted loan guarantees to Ford, Nissan, and Tesla in June 2009, and then Fisker later that year, but has issued virtually no loan commitments since then.

The DoE has come under criticism for its losses on solar panel builder Solyndra, which had previously received half a billion dollars under a different DoE loan program.

Solyndra's bankruptcy has subsequently made it very difficult for any applicants to get commitments from the DoE on their applications, some of which were submitted two years ago or more.

Coda Automotive says its business plan doesn't rely on the Ohio plant. In the short term at least, the company is concentrating on delivering more 2012 Sedan electric cars to its first wave of buyers.

The change in plans means Ohio will lose out on 1,000 potential manufacturing jobs.

Coda told the Dispatch, "“Coda remains committed to job creation and is grateful for the leadership of the elected officials and public/private sectors of Ohio that supported us in the (loan) application process.”

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