While the company didn't make its self-imposed deadline for first customer deliveries in February, Coda Automotive has a different reason to celebrate today.

At 10:25 am Pacific time, the first production 2012 Coda Sedan electric car is set to drive off the assembly line at its plant in Benicia, California.

According to the company, the event "kicks off ... delivery of the first shipment of the clean-tech company's electric vehicles to Coda dealers across California, and ultimately to Coda reservation holders from San Francisco to San Diego."

That will undoubtedly be a relief to Coda executives. The company had originally planned to deliver its cars in the fall of 2010, beating the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt to market by a couple of months. That didn't happen.

But now it's real, and last week, the EPA published its range and efficiency ratings for the 2012 Coda Sedan.

The compact four-door sedan's range was rated at 88 miles, and its combined efficiency was deemed to be 73 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent, based on the energy content contained in 1 gallon of gasoline).

Given the large 31-kilowatt-hour battery pack and powerful 100-kilowatt electric motor used in the Coda Sedan--along with the company's claims of a 125-mile range--that's notably less efficient than any of the other battery electric vehicles on sale today in the U.S.:

  • 2012 Mitsubishi 'i,' 112 MPGe, 62 miles:16-kWh battery pack, 66-kW motor
  • 2012 Ford Focus Electric, 105 MPGe, 76 miles: 23-kWh battery pack, 107-kW motor
  • 2012 Nissan Leaf, 99 MPGe, 73 miles: 24-kWh battery pack, 80-kW motor

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

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

As well as company executives, dignitaries and speakers at the assembly plant are to include Benicia mayor Elizabeth Patterson, and Shaun Del Grande, president of the Del Grande Dealer Group.

We've included photos of this morning's event in this article. Meanwhile, Coda and its U.S. employees can toast a milestone that at times seemed quite far off.

First conceived by the predecessor Miles Automotive, what has become the 2012 Coda Sedan has experienced numerous delays, upgrades, and company strategy changes.

In that respect, it's not unlike fellow electric-car startups Telsa Motors and Fisker Automotive.

We look forward to adding deliveries of the Coda Sedan to our monthly roundup of plug-in car sales, though that may not occur until next month--depending on how quickly the first Codas pass from the factory to their distributors, and thence to customers.

Stay tuned for more on the 2012 Coda Sedan, including driving impressions when we can get behind the wheel.


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