Yesterday, battery acolytes who hate to see stories of EV makers going bankrupt complained about a TTAC story of another EV maker going bankrupt. They said the story was unfair, because Miles Electric made electric essential services vehicles, used for parking enforcement and the like, whereas bankrupt EV makers such as Coda tried to sell real cars,so where’s the connection?
Our story actually went to great pains trying to explain this promising niche, in an attempt to say “well, if it doesn’t work here, where will it?”
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.” (Read More…)
The GE Wattstation killed my Leaf! That’s the story being reported by the New York Times as well as PlugInCars.com. As the tale goes, 11 Leaf owners have had their chargers “damaged” while charging with GE’s Wattstation home charging station. The relative significance of only 11 failures aside, the Nissan Dealer in San Pablo, CA confirmed to PlugInCars.com that Nissan North America has notified dealers of a potential problem with the Leaf and the GE home charging station. TTAC contacted Hilltop Nissan and they have yet to return our calls. Rather than just parroting back the usual news reports we dug deep. We contacted GE and Nissan, consulted some professional electrical engineers and read though hundred of pages of boring SAE documents. Click past the jump to learn more about EV charging than you ever wanted to know. (Read More…)
Coda Automotive withdrew a Department of Energy loan application after two years of waiting. The $334 million loan was supposed to have gone towards establishing an assembly plant in Columbus, Ohio, but for now, production will continue in China.
Coda Automotive, a Southern California start-up that assembles EVs with Chinese components, announced at today’s Beijing Auto Show that it would partner with the Chinese OEM Great Wall to develop a new, lower-cost EV. Says Coda CEO Phil Murtaugh (who you might remember as a key character in American Wheels, Chinese Roads) explains in a press release
Lost in all the bad news from Fisker this week was the announcement that on Monday morning, the first electric sedan from CODA was driven off the company’s assembly line in Benicia, California and that the CODA car is now for sale, after considerable delay.
So you want to go green. The problem is a Prius isn’t green enough for you, what’s a green shopper to do? Go all in with all-electric. So far we have the Leaf and the newly announced Focus Electric both with ranges under 100 miles and charge times that can get a little long even at 240V (the Leaf takes 7 hours). In step the new breed of auto makers: Tesla, Fisker and Coda (just to name a few). Coda is a new all-electric car made in China (assembled in California). The first thing that strikes you about the Coda sedan is how plain the design is. The second thing is how the parts don’t come from any parts bin I’ve ever seen with all the window switches and knobs having a unique look. Good or bad? Depends on how reliable the parts are. Coda touts fast charging times with the 6.6KW charger (2x the speed of the Leaf) and a battery pack that’s another 33% larger than the Nissan as well. The shorter charging time and larger battery pack mean an advertised (but not verified) longer range and shorter charging time than the Leaf. The trade off? A cheaper interior. Pricing is expected to be slightly higher than the Leaf at just under $40,000 less the usual tax incentives. On our short spin in the Coda on the roads around the LA Auto Show, the prototype vehicle had too many rough edges that are due to be polished to posit a firm opinion of the car. Stay tuned for a review of the production model in 2012.
According to the firm’s new interim CEO, the delay is not being caused by problems with its electric sedan, and that former CEO Kevin Czinger “remains an important part of this company.” So, why the delay, and why no specific launch date? This is not a good sign, especially because if Coda wanted a chance at survival it had to get into the market before the major OEMs. A year from now, Nissan and Chevy will be battling for EV customers, and Ford will just be launching its Focus EV. The window of opportunity for a marginal player to sell a $45k electrified Chinese sedan in any numbers will have passed.
When is it a good time for a CEO to step down from an automotive company? This year we’ve already learned that ditching mere months before a major IPO was not a great move for GM CEO Ed Whitacre. But that surprise drop-out may just have been topped by CODA Automotive’s Kevin Czinger, who just resigned a month before his firm starts sales of its very first vehicle. The firm is in the midst of its pre-sales marketing, and is also currently pursuing $125m in financing from Morgan Stanley and others, making this a highly unusual time for a CEO to leave. Czinger, a Goldman Sachs alum, was crucial in bringing investments to CODA from other Goldman alums, including former Treasury boss Hank Paulson and John Bryson. Czinger will stay on as an adviser to the firm, as co-chairman Steve Heller will take over as interim CEO and COO. Earlier this year, Czinger called the CEO position his “dream job” (see video above). (Read More…)