Coda Reintroduces the Electric Sedan
SANTA MONICA -- It's build in China, engineered in Germany and will be sold starting next year in the United States. It's the first fully electric sedan to hit American shores in almost a decade, and it's called the Coda.
The last OEM-produced four passenger electric car to grace these shores was the Toyota RAV4 EV. Before production ceased in 2002, some 1,500 were built. Honda's EV Plus and Solectria's electric Geo Metro where the only other "family"-type electric cars available at that time, and the former only in California.
Today marked the return of the electric sedan. Miles Electric Vehicles' independent spin-off, Coda Automotive, introduced to the public its new 4-door, 4-passenger, highway-capable, all-electric car in Santa Monica. EV World was invited to attend the event and our West Coast correspondent, Sammy Smith was on hand for the unveiling.
We arranged to talk with him immediately after the initial press event, which attracted a couple Los Angeles area television stations and an estimated 20 reporters for both print and online media. Smith, who is also the managing partner of EV World & Associates LLC, shares with us in the accompanying MP3 audio his notes and impressions. That conversation was immediately followed by an online press briefing, which we also participated in and got clarification on a couple key areas of confusion regarding the onboard charger and battery warranty. Contrary to Smith's impressions, the car does come with a 220-240 Volt onboard charger -- a pair of them, actually -- that are standard features on the car, not options. Depending on depth of discharge, the 34kWh LiFePO4 batteries can be recharged in as little as 2-hour, but more typically in six.
Also, the warranty on the battery is 8 years or 100,000 miles, not the 8,000 miles that Smith's notes suggested. The first 200 production cars will arrive starting in the Summer of 2010 and will be deployed initially with fleets. Retail cars, which will list for $45,000 before any applicable state and federal rebates and/or incentives, will begin arriving in the fall of 2010. The company plans to sell as many as 2,700 cars its first year but only in California initially. In 2011, it will beginning evaluating nationwide sales.
At present, the company has a total of 20 vehicles -- 10 in the U.S. -- the remainder are in Germany and China for testing and demonstration purposes.
At the moment, the car has completed substantially more than half of its certified crash tests including frontal and frontal offset tests. According the Kevin Czinger, the president and CEO, the car has about 50 more crash tests -- mostly related to its new air bag system -- to conduct in order to be fully compliant with U.S. standards. He feels that when the tests are completed, the car will, at a minimum, earn a 4-star crash rating, and more likely a full 5-star NHTSA NCAP safety rating.
The chassis of the vehicle is based on an existing gasoline-engine vehicle from its production partner in China, but it has been reworked by Porsche Engineering in Germany. According to Smith's observations, the battery pack, which is made up of 728 prismatic 14 amp hour cells are integrated into the floor pan of the vehicle and does not intrude in the passenger cabin or trunk of the vehicle.
The company estimates the Coda's range will be between 90-100 miles depending on driving style and conditions. Top speed is electronically-limited to 80 mph and acceleration from zero-to-60 is less than 11 seconds.
To listen to Smith's report, click on either of the two MP3 player icons in the center column, or feel free to download the file to your computer hard drive for playback on your favorite MP3 device. Watch for the complete online press briefing to follow shortly here on EV World.