With only one month to go before Californian electric automaker Coda is due to commence sales of its $39,900 Sedan, you’d expect available options and specifications to be set in stone. 

But at yesterday’s 2012 Detroit Auto Show, Coda announced it had made the decision to offer customers the choice between two different battery packs, effectively reducing the price starting price of the 2012 Coda Sedan to $37,250. 

Smaller Pack, Smaller Range, Lower Price

Alongside its flagship model, which will feature a 36 kilowatt-hour lithium iron phosphate battery pack that Coda claims will give up to 150 miles of range, Coda will offer customers a smaller, 31 kilowatt-hour battery pack that Coda claims will manage 125 miles per charge. 

Just like the larger battery pack, the 31 kilowatt-hour pack will come with a 10-year, 100,000 mile warranty, and feature an active air thermal management system designed to keep the pack operating under optimum conditions regardless of the ambient temperature 

2011 Coda Sedan electric car, electric powertrain, at 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show

2011 Coda Sedan electric car, electric powertrain, at 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show

As for cost? Opting for the smaller battery pack, and loosing around 25 miles of potential range will save customers $2650, 

More Affordable For All

When Coda first announced the pricing and specifications of the 2012 Coda Sedan at the 2011 LA Auto Show, we noted that the car was more $4,700 more expensive than the base-level 2012 Nissan Leaf, and $95 cheaper than the 2012 Ford Focus Electric. 

In order to compete directly with the lower-range but better-known 2012 Mitsubishi i, 2012 Nissan Leaf, and 2012 Ford Focus Electric, Coda had to drop its price, or offer a lower-priced option.

“Research shows that the high cost of today’s alternative fuel technologies is one of the largest barrier that keep the average driver from purchasing an electric vehicle,” said Coda CEO Phil Murtaugh in an official company press release. “Our continuous dedication to identifying affordable solutions and passing the savings on to our customers aligns with our mission of putting an electric vehicle into every garage.”

Is It Competitive Enough?

If affordability is key however, Coda has some way to go: the lower-priced 31 kilowatt-hour model Coda is still $2,050 more expensive than the base-level 2012 Nissan Leaf, and $8,125 more expensive than the base level 2012 Mitsubishi i. 

Admittedly, neither car travels as far as Coda claims its base-level 2012 Coda Sedan will, but both have a much larger dealer network than Coda, not to mention the capability of charging to 80 percent full in under 30 minutes.  

cutaway drawing of 2011 Coda Sedan electric car

cutaway drawing of 2011 Coda Sedan electric car

We’d love to see Coda earn more custom as a result of its newly-announced smaller-capacity battery pack. But with tough competition from mainstream automakers, we’re still skeptical that Coda’s dated design will win it many fans among the car-buying public.  

For a start, Coda has still to release official 0-60 times, EPA-approved range results, or crash-test results. And with just a month to go before the start of planned sales, time is running out. 

Will the 2012 Coda Sedan win extra customers thanks to its lower-priced battery pack option?

Only time, and sales figures, will tell. 


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