02.07.2010 - by Plug In America
Coda EV Hits the Streets of San Francisco

IMG_8231Coda Automotive brought its all-electric sedan for show-and-tell and test rides at the San Francisco Electric Vehicle Association (SFEVA) meeting on February 6. Plug In America’s Sherry Boschert, Marc Geller, and Jeanne Trombly were there to check it out.

If you’ve been following the electric vehicle (EV) space for awhile, you may remember Coda as an offshoot of Miles Automotive, one of the start-up EV companies vying to get the jump on the major automakers and Tesla’s Model S sedan to bring a four-seat EV to market late this year under the Coda brand.

One of the challenges for Coda is to grab some market share before Nissan’s Leaf EV and GM’s Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid (PHEV) come out, also late this year.

IMG_8238 Because time is of the essence, Coda made a couple of compromises — like making it a 4-seater instead of 5 seats, and not giving the driver control over regenerative breaking — in order to get version 1 out the door. No biggie — all the EV makers seem to be making some compromises in their initial plug-in vehicles so they can get them to market as fast as possible. Consumers can decide for themselves which compromises they’re willing to live with, which EV or PHEV suits them. Imagine that — we’ll have choices!

Coda representative Phil Gow, a battery expert, punted the cost question to Kara Saltness, the marketing director. She couldn’t tell SFEVA members exactly what the sedan will cost, but we got the distinct impression that after factoring in the federal $7,500 tax credit, the cost to consumers would be in the low-$30,000s, not counting any state incentives that could reduce the cost further. Similar to what we’ve been hearing for the Volt and the Leaf and the Th!nk City car.

IMG_8232 The 3,660-pound Coda car will be assembled in China, with a 728-cell, 33.8 kWh, 333-volt lithium-iron phosphate battery pack that comes with an 8-year, 100,000-mile battery warranty. That’s a longer warranty than Tesla provides, and likely longer than that which Nissan will offer with the LEAF. The Coda battery guy gave a range for range. It will be 90-120 miles per charge, depending (of course) on how you drive, temperature, etc. (Photo is of the gear under the hood, not of the battery.) Coda is aiming to produce 20,000 battery packs per year and already has a contract with one of the largest recycling companies in America.

IMG_8234 IMG_8235 IMG_8236The interior was roomy, with plenty of trunk space. The car seemed well put-together. One long-time SFEVA member told us that of all the plug-in vehicles that have been shown at SFEVA meetings, this is the first one he’s seen that he would consider buying.

Come along for a video test ride in the Coda sedan with Sherry Boschert, Coda driver Dave, and passengers Jan Wiegal and David Herron.

— Posted by Sherry Boschert (with help from Marc Geller and Jeanne Trombly)

Photos by Sherry Boschert

4 comments on “Coda EV Hits the Streets of San Francisco”
  1. Answering my own question, from the codaautomotive.com Website:

    The CODA charging port is the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) standard J1772, so you’ll be able to use any other SAE standard charging unit to charge your vehicle on the go. The CODA is also being engineered to take advantage of fast charging stations, which will be available in certain cities in the future. Fast charging stations reduce charging times from hours to minutes.

  2. Tom Saxton says:

    Christof: A lot of quality hardware is made in China, iPods and iPhones for example. Ultimately, it all boils down to the warranty and your state’s lemon laws. These days, it’s not obvious to me that it’s a better bet to buy from a big automaker than from a startup. Full disclosure: my wife and I own a Tesla Roadster and a 2002 RAV4-EV.

  3. Hi Sherry (and Marc and Jeanne),
    Very nice piece on the CODA. I’m definitely intrigued by the CODA. I really like the marketing approach on their web site, so much so that I wrote a short piece on it for my web site, SolarChargedDriving.Com — http://tinyurl.com/ykhx754

    I also like the design and dedication to service (as evidenced by the battery warranty).

    I do have a few reservations, though, some of them silly, I know:
    – the fact that it’s being made in China
    – the fact that CODA is a small start-up without a track record
    – the price (but that’s going to be a problem for us on any mainstream electric car)

    In any case, thank you again for this nice write-up.

    Christof Demont-Heinrich
    Founder & Editor, SolarChargedDriving.Com

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