By on April 24, 2012

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

We’re excited to work with Great Wall Motors to develop the second product in Coda’s portfolio, to bring another solution to a global problem and together make high-quality clean technology accessible. Ultimately, this will enable drivers worldwide to go electric affordably and support our mission of putting an EV in everyone’s garage.

Coda’s first product exemplifies the challenges facing the EV startup: namely a high MSRP (starting price $38,145) for a product that doesn’t quite meet competitive standards for the US. Great Wall may not bring a vast improvement in quality to the partnership (although it was the first Chinese OEM to pass European Whole Vehicle Type Approval), but it should be able to help Coda offer a more affordable EV to the US market. The new vehicle will be jointly developed, with Coda taking the lead on the EV powertrain development and final assembly, and GW manufacturing gliders at its plant in Baoding.

Meanwhile, plenty of questions remain. Will lower costs help Coda battle its way out of a brutally niche positioning? Will even cheaper Chinese vehicles meet American-market expectations? Will new product even make a difference to Coda, considering its dealer net is currently only four stores strong? Bertel and I will be meeting with Coda while we’re in the Los Angeles area this week, and we’ll be sure to bring you more details on its alliance with Great Wall as they become available.

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12 Comments on “Coda Teams Up With Great Wall To Build “Affordable” EVs...”

  • avatar

    38 grand for a Chinese designed and built non-hybrid EV.

    Yeah. Good luck with that.

    • 0 avatar

      um, the Chinese design is just for the glider. The powertrain is from Colorado, and North America, and the battery pack is Chinese. Most of the other electronics are US built I think.

  • avatar

    Coda’s end game is getting a half a billion dollars of Department of Energy loot into the hands of state-owned China Weaponry Equipment Group under the facade of building a battery plant in Ohio.

    Lots of good questions you could ask these charlatans are suggested by this op-ed piece.

  • avatar

    As long as the majority of components come from China, I’ll pass. I’ve had email discussions with one of their senior management, and they still believe “Made in America” is perfectly okay, even when most of the goods come from overseas. And “even cheaper” Chinese goods for danged sure doesn’t make it any more appealing…

  • avatar

    Basing the Coda on a poorly built old Corolla copy still don’t make the car cheap at $38k. What’ll make the car “affordable”? Based it on a golf cart? Rickshaw?

    • 0 avatar

      My guess that the cost of the glider does not affect the final price too much on these BEVs.. its probably the cost of other components.

      The cells are made in China but the battery pack is assembled in California. The motor, inverter, transmission, AC, brake system, and charger are all made in the US or Canada, and you pay for it. Once everything else is made in China you will see much lower prices.

      Supposedly 40% of the parts by monetary value are made in the US.

    • 0 avatar

      a cheaper one will come from a company that is already building and selling a high volume vehicle, which Great Wall actually has, but as another poster commented, the cricitcal parts, i.e. the battery pack, the drive motor and all of the motor controller hardware is built in the US. You could drop the price by building that stuff in China, but hopefully they’ll still keep the US sourced drivetrain and electronics.

  • avatar
    PJ McCombs

    All that said, there are worse Chinese OEMs to team up with… Great Wall’s been in Australia for a couple years now, and are earning some grudging respect as being pretty reliable (lots of licensed ’90s Japanese parts), if unrefined, no-frills, etc. They’ve sold about 20,000 units here.

  • avatar

    surely when Toyota brings out a PHEV Prius for under $30k these things are dead?

    One would think a PHEV Prius C wouldn’t be too difficult?

  • avatar

    But it won’t fit in an elevator. How am I supposed to get it to my apartment to charge it?

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