By on May 1, 2013

Electric car startup Coda is the latest in a series of greenm dreams to go down the drain – and it won’t be the last. Coda filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today, writes Reuters,  “after selling just 100 of its all-electric sedans, another example of battery-powered vehicles’ failure to break into the mass market.”

Coda launched its electric sedan in California a year ago. Based on a slider made in China, the car delivered a range of 125 miles on a single charge. For $37,250 MSRP, the few buyers received a no-frills car.

Coda had no shortage of money when it started. Coda raised $300 million in equity from backers “including Aeris Capital, Limited Brands Chief Executive Les Wexner, and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson,” Reuters says. Nevertheless, $300 million are not enough to develop a car, let alone a car company.

Coda applied for, but withdrew a request for $334 million in federal loans.

Electric cars are a hard sell, but Coda made its life even tougher: “Coda has two problems,” a leading executive of a Japanese OEM that is heavily invested in electric cars told me last year, “they are trying to sell EVs, and cars made in China.”

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14 Comments on “Electric Car Maker Coda Goes Bankrupt...”


  • avatar
    threeer

    No love lost here. When CODA was just hitting the airwaves, I had a very “spirited” email conversation with one of the execs (himself a Marine at one point…so much for patriotism) debating the “Made in China vs. Made in America” claim. Between the car being made in China, the poor range and horrid expense, I’m not surprised it tanked. There are too many decent cars on the market now getting good fuel economy for much, much less cash than this thing…that 100 customers actually ponied up that much money for one is the real shocker.

  • avatar
    probert

    Where’s the article about Tesla stock being up over 100% during a 12 month period. And yes – I put my money where my mouth is. Well not literally; you don’y know where its been.

    • 0 avatar
      Thinkin...

      That’s not news around these parts. Although when it went down – what 15% ? – it received a headlining article. TTAC has also largely been mum on the numerous Tesla announcements lately. You know – the unconditional battery warranty, the revised maintenance schedule which makes maintenance purely optional, the loaner program that gets owners free use of a loaded Model S or roadster, etc.

      The intro sentence says it all: “the latest in a series of greenm dreams to go down the drain – and it won’t be the last.”

      That’s really all you need to know about TTAC’s bent and editorial prowess. Although the TTAC “Tesla Death Watch” series of articles are pretty fabulous as well.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      +1 probert and Thinkin…

  • avatar
    gslippy

    “another example of battery-powered vehicles’ failure to break into the mass market.”

    No, this is another example of a company selling lousy cars failing to break into the mass market.

    As for pure EVs, the Model S and Leaf are outselling lots of other well-known nameplates. Reality says they’ll never be top sellers. But if you consider the Porsche 911 to be a mass market vehicle, then so is the Leaf, which outsold the 911 last year.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      When I test drive a Volt a few months ago, the sales guy at my local Chevy dealer (midwestern college town) said that the Volt was solidly outselling the Corvette at their dealership.

      Nobody seems to use the low sales numbers of the Corvette to say that it shouldn’t exist.

      The fact that I don’t want to own a Corvette (it’s a lousy passenger car and a worse minivan) doesn’t mean that I think it shouldn’t exist. I would, on the other hand love to own a Volt, and it’s selling better than the Corvette.

      Bummer about Coda, though.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    CODA was my favorite EV start up: They withdrew their request for a $334 million taxpayer subsidy.

  • avatar

    Electric Vehicles are NEVER going to work without government subsidies. What no one seems to understand is that the cost of ownership is HIGHER because you have to have a place to charge them. Unless you live in an apartment building that will do it – or have a garage, ICE is just so much easier to deal with.

    EV without an ICE generator are DOOMED TO FAIL – unless heavily subsidized.

    Unless the government PAYS ME TO BUY ONE, I’d rather just get a shiny new SRT8. I’m not helping the environment either way and I’m not cutting down our use of foreign oil.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Ahhhh yes. The SRT8. I’ve got a 45-year old son who bought a 2012 Grand Cherokee SRT8. WOW! Whatta ride!

      Others have told me that ANY SRT8 will put a smile on your face.

      Come to think of it, I’ve never seen any one who drove an EV with a smile on their face. You’d think they’d be smiling because they don’t have to fill’r up with gas.

      Maybe their electric bill wipes that smile off their face.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      @btsr and hdc:

      I park the Leaf in my garage, and fill it using the charger I bought and installed myself. After 7.5 months of driving it, the gas savings compared to my former xB1 has paid for the charger, and that car got 30 mpg in town.

      It costs me $20/month to drive 800 miles. How far will $20 in gas get you?

      Continuing to repeat the meme that EVs pollute just as much as ICEs doesn’t make it so. Most EVs are cleaner than gas cars even if charged with the dirtiest coal-produced electricity – which mine may be. This has been studied and it depends on zip code.

      I smile a lot driving my EV. It’s also a favorite for lunch rides at the office, where I’ll drive 5 real people around town.

      I do love a nice V8, but the smile and bravado vanish when you have to fill it up.

      • 0 avatar

        I had a Vortec V3 Supercharger put in my car and we have a project car that we rebuilt into a Hemi 426. (My uncle owns a garage where he hand-rebuilds Ford Capris/Mustangs and performance upgrades them)

        There is NOTHING like riding thunder in a MONSTERBLOCK Hemi. Not only are you loud, but you are ridiculously fast when you want to be. Everyone asks you about your ride because many people are so used to FWD imports they have no idea what a “burnout” is or how to do one.

        I will NEVER stop driving cars like this.

        And they want me to accept EV’s which are virtually SILENT?

        Nope.

  • avatar
    Vance Torino

    Well, that was dumb start to finish.


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