Posts Tagged ‘Coda Automotive’

photo: Todd Woody

In my new Green State column on Grist, I test drive the Chevrolet Volt in San Francisco and ponder if General Motors’ electric hybrid car will persuade Californians to buy American again:

If you happened by an empty parking lot near San Francisco’s waterfront baseball park Tuesday morning, you would have seen some people  putting a low-slung black sedan through its paces on a makeshift track outlined by fluorescent orange pylons.

What was remarkable was not so much that the car — the Chevrolet Volt — was electric, but that it hailed from Detroit.

Toyotas, Hondas, BMWs, and Mercedes rule the road in the Golden State’s coastal metropolises, where sightings of American sedans are about as rare as a California condor.

Like Ford, Nissan, Coda Automotive, Think, and other electric automakers, General Motors brought the Volt to San Francisco because, as I wrote in The New York Times recently, this is where the future of the electric car is unfolding first. (Driving home that point was Thursday’s news that Silicon Valley startup Tesla Motors is buying the defunct Bay Area manufacturing plant that previously produced cars for Toyota and General Motors and will now build electric cars in partnership with the Japanese auto giant.)

So the Volt may be GM’s best chance to reintroduce itself to two generations of California drivers who wrote the automaker off as the maker of hopelessly staid and low-quality cars.

“The Volt is going to make people reconsider Chevy and GM again,” Tony Posawatz, Volt vehicle line director, tells me as a group of journalists and influential electric car enthusiasts waited for their turn behind the wheel.

You can read the rest of the column here.

Read Full Post »

CODA Front_hires

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.

Green Wombat took a spin in the car, called the Coda, earlier this week in Southern California. As I wrote in my Green State column on Grist:

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.

Read the rest of the column here.

Read Full Post »