Coda Plans Second Electric Car, Withdraws DoE Loan Application

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First 2012 Coda Sedan customer car emerges from Benicia, CA, assembly plant, March 2012

First 2012 Coda Sedan customer car emerges from Benicia, CA, assembly plant, March 2012

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When Coda Automotive started production and sales of its 2012 Sedan earlier this year, it ended years of doubt and confusion about the firm’s abilities to bring a highway-capable electric car to market. 

Yesterday, Coda CEO Phil Murtaugh confirmed Coda’s intent to manufacture a second electric car model by mid-2014, but without DoE help. 

“Most affordable”

According to The Detroit News, Murtaugh promised the new car, developed in collaboration with Chinese firm Great Wall Motors, would be the ”most affordable EV on the market, comparable to entry-level internal combustion engine vehicles.”

Murtaugh was light on details, but did disclose that the new Coda electric car would be based on an existing car made by Great Wall Motors. 

Looking at the current cars made by the firm, we think there are two likely candidates for Coda electrification: the Great Wall Florid, a subcompact car that looks like a cross between a Scion xA and Toyota Yaris; and the Great Wall Coolbear, a subcompact that resembles a Scion xB.

Sadly, there are no details on specification either, but we’d assume a range of between 80 and 100 miles would be needed as an absolute minimum.

As for price? We’re not sure quite what Coda deems “affordable”, but in order to compete with entry-level gasoline cars we think it would need to sell at a price of between $10,000 and $15,000.

No DoE = cars built in China

Just under a month ago, the Coda revealed plans it had to build a lithium-ion battery fabrication plant in Columbus, Ohio had been cancelled following difficulty obtaining a concrete low-interest loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy under its Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program.

At yesterday’s press conference, Coda confirmed that it has officially withdrawn its application for DoE ATVM loans.

First delivery of 2012 Coda Sedan, at Coda Silicon Valley, to buyer Randy Abraham, March 2012

First delivery of 2012 Coda Sedan, at Coda Silicon Valley, to buyer Randy Abraham, March 2012

Enlarge Photo

Without DoE assistance, Coda is no-longer required to build its cars in the U.S., meaning its second model will most-likely be assembled at a Great Wall Motors factory in China and finished in the U.S., much like the current Coda Sedan. 

A long way to go

Although it’s good to see Coda planning a future model to sell alongside its 88-mile sedan, initial sales figures of the $37,250 car have been disappointing. 

Unlike Nissan and Chevrolet, Coda hasn’t disclosed how many of its cars have been sold to date, but during Tuesday’s announcement Murtaugh admitted that sales were “a low number.”

We’re glad to see Coda moving forward and making future plans that do not rely on U.S. DoE loan guarantees.

Given Coda’s past record for missing deadlines and changing specifications however, we have to remain at least a little skeptical that its second electric car won’t be exactly what Coda currently envisages it will be. 

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Comments (10)
  1. I suspect when they say "compete with gas cars" they probably mean "total cost of ownership." So maybe $25,000. But hard to get excited when it is coda.

    Come on Ford, start pushing out those vehicles. :) and drop the price.

  2. Maybe Coda has come to realize that when you price your product out of the reach of the majority of buyers, you do not sell your product in any beneficial numbers. There is only 1% rich Americans, so how many of your cars do you think they are going to buy? Detroit's big three hasn't come to that realization yet...maybe they will someday before they go bankrupt again...we can only hope.

  3. James, help me out here since you repeatedly claim the best thing for this country is for all of the Detroit Three to go out of business. The record profits now must be absolutely killing you...

    How many EVs is Honda selling? What about Hyundai? Mazda? Audi? BMW? Oh, that's right, it's you...

    Ask Nissan how that losing money on EVs is working out. Getting killed by the Volt while spending billions isn't what most would consider a profitable long-term strategy.

    I'd rather have any OEM learn at lower volumes while losing $5k-$10k per vehicle than lose $15k-$25k as so many here demand. Yeah, that'll magically make things better...

    Again, is $400/month for a Volt lease really that outrageous when saving $150/month in fuel? LEAF, too.

  4. Coda's cars are ugly, electrification is no excuse for an ugly product.

  5. Quite the contrary in fact. This new technology must be made attractive to consumers by offering it in a super cool package. A message that's sadly lost to all EV producers except Tesla and Fisker.

  6. Uh, Chris, did you actually read his post? He said looks are important, then you told him he was wrong, that looks are important...

    Amazing, isn't it, how Tesla and Fisker are able to make their cars attractive at only $40k-$60k more than the vehicles you criticize. Let's see what they can do when they finally release their $30k-$40k vehicles.

  7. Without solid sale numbers, this will not succeed. I wish they could have pulled this off but given their lackluster ability to execute and to "build cars in China" to save money, I doubt they exist in 2-3 years, at most.

  8. Well our politicians keep promising job creation, yet they keep making moves that send those jobs to China. I'm wondering if denying Fisker the rest of their loan means Fisker will build the Atlantic in Finland.

  9. I'd think Fisker may look to Mexico over Finland for lower labor costs. VW makes quite a few autos in Mexico. That is, if Fisker survives. They've delivered, what, 800 units? That's not really a car company...

  10. Can someone please tell Coda the show is over.

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