Coda Sedan Research

The Car Connection Coda Sedan Overview

The Coda Sedan went on sale in March 2012, but its future--and the future of Coda Automotive, its manufacturer--appears to be in doubt as 2013 dawns.

Reports suggest that no more than 100 Coda Sedans were sold over the nine months of 2012 the car was on sale. In January 2013, Coda Automotive announced its second round of layoffs within four weeks.

Just a week previously, Coda had shuttered its Coda Experience Center at Westfield Mall Century City, in Los Angeles.

The all-electric four-door compact sedan is something of an anomaly even in the globalized world of the international auto industry.

The Coda starts with a Chinese-built rolling body that was originally derived from a 10-year-old Mitsubishi design.

Shipped to the States, the car then has its battery pack--built in the U.S. but using Chinese lithium-ion cells--and electric motor installed in a plant in Benicia, California.

That qualifies it, by the way, as a U.S.-made car, according to the Feds.

Out on the road, the electric Coda Sedan is so conventional and bland that it's almost entirely invisible. The LED daytime running lights and taillights add a small note of modernity to what's otherwise an inoffensive compact car.

For a more detailed look at the all-electric Coda, see the full review of the 2012 Coda Sedan.

The interior design was revised several times to give it an adequately upscale look for a car that costs almost $40,000 (before financial incentives), with a few unusual touches like a Jaguar-style rotating gear selector on the console.

Inside, seating is comfortable for four, though tight for three people in the back. The 60/40 split rear seat back folds down for access to a full-size trunk.

Built into the car's floorpan, the Coda's 31-kilowatt-hour battery pack is larger than those of the Nissan Leaf or Ford Focus Electric, some of the few all-electric competitors now on sale.

Its active thermal management system circulates air through channels in the pack under pressure, rather than relying on fans and heat dissipation into the ambient air.

A 100-kilowatt (134-horsepower) motor produces 221 lb-ft of torque and powers the front wheels through a Borg-Warner single-speed transmission.

But with an EPA range estimate of only 88 miles, the Coda Sedan earns an efficiency rating of just 73 MPGe (Miles-Per-Gallon-equivalent)--about 25 percent lower than either the Leaf or the Focus Electric.

One feature it offers that can't be found on the first two years of Nissan Leaf is a 6.6-kilowatt charger, which almost doubles the rate of charging compared to the Leaf's 3.3-kW charger. (The Focus Electric does have a 6.6-kW charger, however.) On the other hand, the Coda Sedan doesn't offer any type of fast charging, unlike the Leaf.

Standard features include a choice of two 17-inch aluminum wheel designs, seats made from recycled materials or from leather, and an in-dash Alpine audio-video-navigation system with a 7-inch display that includes Bluetooth pairing, a USB port, and iPod integration.

The Coda Sedan qualifies for the full Federal income-tax credit of $7,500 for purchase of an electric car.

But the car is currently sold only at three dealers in California, in Los Angeles, Irvine, and San Diego.

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