An electric car built in China will be launched in the United States towards the end of next year. It looks as though it has a real chance of success.
The four-door, five-seat sedan has everything from Bluetooth and navigation to an iPod dock and a finished interior. In theory, the price will be $45,000 when it goes on sale in fall 2010, but federal and state rebates could lower that to the mid-$30,000 range.
The Coda sedan will get between 90 and 120 miles from a single charge of its728 prismatic lithium-ion batteries. Recharges take six hours on 220 volts. Top speed is 80 mph.
Yes, the charging time is a problem because it makes its use for commuting debatable for journeys further than 40 miles. But by the time the car has been launched the range may have changed. You also need recharging facilities at each end so it will only sell to people with garaging and access to a power point at work..
What shows rat-cunning on the part of the manufacturer is this was not designed from scratch. It starts as a basic Mitsubishi sedan and Coda has designed an electric powertrain to insert on the Saibao line, along with about 95 changes to the chassis, thus saving about $1 billion dollars right off the bat. Coda says that the car has passed all U.S. government crash standards.
Coda is a separate entity that grew out of Miles Electric Vehicles. Coda makes highway speed-capable EVs while Miles continues to manufacture low-speed EVs for sales to fleets.
Autoweek reports the batteries come from a joint venture with Chinese battery-maker Lishen, a major supplier of lithium-ion cells for computers and cell phones.
In electric cars this is not the final answer. But it is certainly a step in the right direction.