By on June 4, 2009

We rip on the Volt a lot around here. And with good reason. But at least GM’s moonshot has a few things going for it, like a gas range-extender, a real (if devastated) dealer network, a metric ton of government money and over a year of relentless hype. Coda Automotive has none of those things, but apparently widespread ridicule of the Volt and other overly optimistic variations on the overpriced EV theme aren’t stopping the firm from letting it all hang out for the LA Times.

The firm plans to import a $45,000 Chinese sedan with an all-electric range of 90-100 miles, but only to California. The car itself is built by Chinese state-owned automaker Hafei, and is powered by a 330-volt battery made by Tianjin Lishen Battery Joint-Stock Co. Comparing the car to the Tesla Model S (a sure sign of this project’s seriousness), Coda CEO Kevin Czinger calls it “an all-electric vehicle for everyone.” Anyone with a sense of humor need not apply. “We found that people who had gas-powered vehicles brought up time and time again that they were interested in alternative options, but that the vehicles always look so weird,” says Czinger. So they made it look as much like an uninspired Chinese sedan as they could. You know, on purpose. Anyway, if this is all sounding a bit familiar, it’s because Coda is a rebrand of Miles Electric Vehicles and this particular whip actually has been hyped for a good two years (just under the names Miles and Javlon).

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15 Comments on “Coda Automotive Makes the Volt Look Good...”

  • avatar

    Knew there had be a Czinger in there somewhere!

  • avatar

    What crack does Czinger smoke? He considers a vehicle costing 45K “an all-electric vehicle for everyone”?

    I’m guessing his definition of everyone differs from mine…or most of my neighbors.

  • avatar

    So the company proposes to import a communist-built shitbox that promises to save the planet from global warming, and sell it to Californians for $45,000 a copy?

    Wish I’d thought of it first.

  • avatar

    Gee, a BMW or this POS.

    I’ll take the 3 series with European Delivery.

  • avatar
    law stud

    So the Javlon XS500 $29,995 (32k with options) electric sedan that has lithium ion batteries after the Federal Tax credit of $7,500 has been passed, has been rebadged into a “Coda” and the price is now $45,000.

    Dare I say it lacks regenerative braking… it would be cheaper to fly to China and buy one from them and import it by container.

    Lithium Ion, replacement costs = OMG no way, where are the NiMH batteries, oh yeah the battery patent owned by Chevron expires in 2018…

  • avatar

    Well, there is good news: There seems little doubt this car can be made for the quoted price.

    I’m not sure who would want one – a $45,000 car needs to have at least some feel of luxurious quality to sell. This thing looks like a $10k sedan with a $30k battery. You can make it but I don’t see where the buyers will come from.

    Of course this does beg the question of how the $40k Volt has even the slightest hope of sales. It’s a lot more expensive than the Prius and yet what does it offer over a plug-in Prius or Ford Fusion Hybrid?

    Since it looks like a genuinely nice car, the Tesla Model S would fly off the shelves at its quoted price, only about $10k more than this. Of course that assumes it can be built, but at least Elon Musk has a rudimentary idea of what buyers at this level need.


  • avatar

    Chinese shitbox ? Werent Toyotas japanese shitboxes at some point back in time ?

  • avatar

    I didn’t think it was possible to have a worse business/product plan than the Volt. I was wrong.

  • avatar

    Someone’s going to pay 45 Gs for that thing? And it’s Chinese? And they’re still going to pay 45 Gs? I want to know just who’s goign to buy that thing, so that I can sell them the Brooklyn Bridge.

    @David Dennis
    You’re exactly right. That thing IS a 10k car (maybe not even) with a 30k battery or else one hell of a markup. Reminds me of a Simca Etoile from the 1950s or early ’60s.

  • avatar

    The original Hafei Sai Bao V from 4 years ago looks somewhat better with a grill.

  • avatar

    Chinese shitbox? Werent Toyotas japanese shitboxes at some point back in time?

    Yeah, but they were honest, $2,000 shitboxes. Not some ridiculous $45,000 “global warming” fashion bobble.

  • avatar
    law stud

    Who wants to buy from a car company gouging customers for this car? Raising the price an extra 12k in one year to get some of that tax credit is not a way to win customers.

    At least they will subsidize the Volt. They’ll price it comparing it on what they sell a similar non-volt drivetrain for. If GM has the balls to ignore what the competition is doing again they won’t compete with the Prius and still be insolvent in a couple of years.

    Say gas is $3.50 in a year, bare bottom model price to compete with Prius probably around 29K after rebate [probably also legal to “make the market” for plugins so not an antitrust issue blocking selling them below cost here]. Price to say F it lets not sell them; 45k…. They need not only win customers but get early adopters to switch from Prius and other hybrids to GM….

    You got to figure at 100mpg Volt epa rating vs. the Prius 50 mpg times the gas use over 7 years is the pricing difference between the Prius and yet to be announced price of the Volt. I figure it to be around $7,000.

    GM will price it so if you can buy the Volt you won’t save any money over buying the Prius. I say buy the Prius, lower upfront financing cost and better car in a 3rd generation. I say the Volt better save me money not just at the pump but comparatively against the competition as well, which they seem to ignore. If I were to buy it, should come in with credit below a Prius’ cost. Plus the Insight gets almost as good mileage as the new Prius for 2K less. GM better lower the Volt another 2K to 27k after rebate to really compete here… GM just make the Volt an electric car model and a Volted as an extended range model, could sell cheaper electric cars then to compete with the wave of electric cars coming….

  • avatar

    Comparing it to a Volt is .. naive.
    The actual competition just launched production

  • avatar

    I think Phoenix Motor Cars did the same thing with their price. After I heard about the $7500 credit, the price jumped about $7500. Last I heard they had filed for bankruptcy.

    I still want an EV and I’ll pay more for one than a gas powered car but $45K for a car that MIGHT not best a lowest level Kia in quality and durability would be tough to do.

    Still looks like a person ought to build a GOOD homebuild AC powered EV and then move the EV package from vehicle to vehicle as the car wears out.

    Still not enthusiastic about the Lithium battery. Keep reading where none has lasted more than 50K miles. Now the NiMH battery has well over 100K miles in the Rav4-EV and over 150K in a few of them. I’d prefer that battery type but Chevrom holds the strings on that one thanks to GM selling it to them.

    The current state of car tech pisses me off. Stuff locked away, companies ignoring the EV, hyping the hydrogen fuel cells they know aren’t anywhere near working out, nobody being honest about tech that works but can’t be accessed thanks to business aggreements.

  • avatar

    What is not mentioned in this article is where cars like the Prius, Fusion Hybrid and the future (if they can recover from bankruptcy) volt are all made in Mexico… just check out the VINs. First number in all of these a 3. So obviously Mexico makes a better sb than do the Chinese. Where are all the Dell, Macs and HPs made, China. We need to come to terms with the fact that we cannot compete with these labor markets and the number one reason, Health care cost to these Americas industry is sinking labor. There is no clear playing field and get used to more cars coming up from south or on a barge from over seas…. Coda is merely doing what Ford, GM and soon to be Chrysler-Fiat will be doing. They just beat them to it.

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