Meet America's latest entry into the electric vehicle market: The Coda will have a range of 100 miles, and should be available in about a year.
A California upstart plans to bring an all-electric sedan to market by the end of 2010. Coda Automotive will initially sell the 100 mile range car only in California, for a $45,000 pricetag.
Many details about the car were given, except for a few important ones: we have no idea what the vehicle's top speed and power ratings are. When piloting the car, the driver's job will be made easier with anti-lock brakes, and electronic stability control. Next-generation airbags will keep everybody safe, but without wasting money: the airbags only fire when an occupant is near them.
Coda's sedan, which may simply be called the "Coda", comes with a lot of standard goodies as well. Coming standard is a sat-nav system, satellite radio, iPod dock, USB port, security system, Bluetooth, a driving efficency monitor, and power windows, locks, & side mirrors.
Also included standard are aluminum wheels, just about the only distinguishing feature on this somewhat bland car. With no grille, the smooth, front end seems to be missing a styling point we're so used to seeing. The boxy shape up front also makes us wonder if more effort should have been put into the aerodynamics, possibly increasing the range.
Still, the driver will be able to take this car out at highway speeds, and should get an average of 100 miles before needing a recharge. A full recharge at 220v will take about six hours. Passengers appear to have enough space to ride comfortably. The manufacturer claims the four-door can seat five.
But just how much will this car actually save you in running costs? Coda estimates a cost of about $3 per 100 miles. Comparatively, a Toyota Corolla in California costs roughly $8.80 for the same distance. A sedan running at 20 mpg would cost around $13.2 for that distance, using the three-week average petrol price of $2.64/gallon in California.
Coda also points out the lack of need for oil changes, while a reduction in moving parts translates to less wear and tear. However, with electric vehicles being so new, new "routine maintenances" could eventually take the place of what we are accustomed to.
Power comes from lithium-ion batteries produced through an existing agreement with China-based Lishen. These two companies have also agreed to expand their partnership to "design, manufacture and sell transportation and utility power storage battery systems," presumably to other automakers looking for an easier entry into the electric vehicle market.
Lishen also makes lithium-ion batteries for Apple, Motorola, Samsung, and Vodafone.
The actual vehicle manufacturing will be carried out by the Chinese state-run company Hafei. Hafei produces 200,000 vehicles annually, and claims to have delivered over a million vehicles throughout its history. By outsourcing much of their operations, Coda hopes to avoid the pitfalls faced by the current American automakers.
Those interested in purchasing a Coda need to register at www.codaautomotive.com. Although potential customers have an initial $45,000 pricetag, they should qualify for roughtly $7,500 in tax credits and incentives to bring the total price down to $37,500.