Coda Becomes Latest EV Start-Up to Short Circuit

By Matt Schmitz  on May 1, 2013

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Los Angeles-based start-up Coda announced today that it is declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy and pulling the plug on its electric vehicle. The news echoes other recent high-profile struggles for EV start-ups like Aptera and perhaps most notably Fisker, which just last week met with Congress amid emerging details of continual financial failures.

The Detroit News reported today that the company's parent, Coda Holdings Inc., said it would restructure to focus on the energy-storage portion of the business, Coda Energy, formed in 2011. Coda, which made its bankruptcy filing in Delaware, announced that it expected to complete a sale of the company within 45 days and that its energy-storage business would remain fully operational during the restructuring, the newspaper reported.

Coda, which has only made a few hundred, mostly Chinese-built EVs, had undergone layoffs and faced lawsuits for unpaid bills in recent months, the newspaper reported. Last year, the company withdrew its application for a U.S. Department of Energy loan to build vehicles in the U.S. — including an all-new electric vehicle announced for the U.S. market that had been slated to arrive by mid-2014.

Following a series of delays in recent years, the 2012 Coda electric sedan finally went on sale in California in March of last year with a starting price of $38,145 (including an $895 destination fee), which was a substantial discount from earlier estimates of $44,900 but still thousands of dollars more than the 2012 Nissan Leaf. Its electric motor, mated to a single-speed transmission, produced 134 horsepower and 221 pounds-feet of torque, with a maximum speed of 85 mph and an EPA-estimated range of 88 miles (besting the Leaf by 15 miles). The car charged in six hours on a 240-volt charger, according to Coda.

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Start-up EV firm Coda files for bankruptcy
(Detroit News)
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News Editor Matt Schmitz is a veteran Chicago journalist indulging his curiosity for all things auto while helping to inform car shoppers.  Email Matt