First Customers Get Coda EVs in California
By Mark Vaughn
After years of the hiccups that start-up car companies know all too well, electric-car maker Coda delivered its first three sedans to customers on March 16. Black, white and silver Codas were turned over to their new owners--two in Los Angeles, one in Palo Alto.
"We were looking for something green," said first Coda owner Carmen (last names were not released). "I was impressed with the technology, with the fact the battery had such a long life." The battery comes with a 10-year, 100,000-mile guarantee.
"This is such an auspicious day," said Phil Murtaugh, CEO of Coda Holdings. "Coda's been around for a long time, actually seven years, since our founder, Miles Rubin, started up the company. Now we have over 300 employees at our headquarters on Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles. We have this store in West Los Angeles, our Palo Alto store is coming next month, we have operations in China and an assembly plant in Benecia, Calif. We've got people who have been here for seven years, some for three years, we've got one here who's been here for a month. We've been looking forward to this day for a long time, and you cannot imagine the feeling when your baby is born."
As you might expect, Murtaugh is upbeat about the market for electric cars.
"Among independent forecasters, the general consensus is that there is a market for 50,000 to 60,000 per year," he said. "The forecasters trend significant growth. Will it be 15 percent of the market? Probably not. But 1 or 2 percent is very realistic."
The Coda sedan is a four-door, five-seat battery-electric sedan with a 31-kilowatt-hour lithium-iron phosphate battery and a claimed range of "up to" 125 miles. The EPA rates the car's range at 88 miles. However, the battery is larger than that in the Leaf, which has 24 kilowatt-hours, and the Mitsubishi I, with 16 kilowatt-hours, so Coda's range claim might actually be in the ballpark. We haven't driven one yet but have been promised a drive soon.
The sticker price is $37,250, $10,000 of which California buyers can get back when they file their taxes.
The car's major components are made in China and assembled in Benecia, Calif. Sales at this point are limited to California but the plan is to expand slowly. Murtaugh said his goal is 1,000 sales a month by the end of this year.
Murtaugh said, "Our No. 1 priority is not volume; our priority is making sure our customers are going to be happy."
Content provided by Autoweek.
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