photo: Coda Automotive
A new electric car company, Coda Automotive, emerged from stealth mode this week and unveiled a $45,000 sedan that it says will hit the streets in 2010.
The Santa Monica, Calif., startup is an offshoot of Miles Electric Vehicles, a maker of low-speed neighborhood runabouts. The CEO is Kevin Czinger, a veteran of Goldman Sachs (GS), Fortress Investment Group and dot-com era online grocer WebVan. Goldman Sachs’ Mac Heller serves as co-chairman and the board includes John Bryson, past chairman and chief executive of Edison International (EIX). Coda has raised $40 million from the Angeleno Group and other investors.
Open one of those minimalist black boxes that contain a shiny new iPod and you’re greeted by five words—“Designed by Apple in California.” In much smaller print would be the phrase “Made in China.”
That, in a nutshell, describes the strategy of the latest entrant in the electric car sweepstakes: Santa Monica-based Coda Automotive. At a defunct Wilshire Boulevard Jaguar dealership on Wednesday, the startup emerged from stealth mode and CEO Kevin Czinger literally pulled the cover off the Coda, a $45,000 battery-powered sedan set to go on sale next year in California. Coda is an offshoot of Miles Electric Vehicles, a maker of low-speed “neighborhood electric” runabouts.
The Coda sedan, which resembles a previous-generation Honda Civic, is a highway-ready, 80 mph five-seater that will travel 90 to 120 miles on a charge, according to the company.
And it is likely to be the first Chinese-made car to hit American roads. The car’s 333-volt lithium ion battery pack comes from the Tianjin Lishen Battery Joint-Stock Co., a huge state-owned corporation that supplies batteries to Apple and other consumer electronics companies. Coda has established a joint venture with Tianjin Lishen to design and sell batteries for transportation and utility storage. The sedan’s design, brand and intellectual property will be owned by Coda, but it will be manufactured and assembled in China by Hafei, a state-owned automobile and aircraft manufacturer.
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