Coda Automotive to Bring China-Built Electric Mid-size Sedan to California Market in 2010; New JV with Lishen for Automotive Li-ion Systems
|Components in the Coda. Click to enlarge.
Coda Automotive, a new company formed and developed under the stewardship of entrepreneur Miles Rubin (known for his marketing and sales of low-speed, electric fleet vehicles under the Miles Electric Vehicles brand), will introduce an affordable, full-performance all-electric sedan built by Hafei in China to the California market in 2010.
Additionally, the company, which has an existing long-term sourcing contract with Tianjin Lishen Battery Joint-Stock Co., Ltd., (Lishen) for lithium-ion batteries used in the Coda, announced the establishment of a global joint venture with Lishen to design, manufacture and sell transportation and utility power storage battery systems. Coda will own 40% of the JV, with Lishen holding 60%.
|The Coda sedan. Click to enlarge.
The car. The Coda features a 33.8 kWh, 333V lithium iron phosphate pack with an 8-year, 100,000-mile warranty. (Coda chose the iron phosphate chemistry for its safety characteristics.) Comprising 728 prismatic 14.5Ah Li-ion cells (104 in series by 7 in parallel), the pack powers a 100 kW (134 hp) UQM traction motor that develops up to 300 N·m (221 lb-ft) of torque.
Projected driving range is 90-120 miles (145-193 km) (US06 and UDDS driving cycles) with a top speed limited to 80 mph to promote efficiency. Acceleration from 0-60 mph is under 11 seconds.
The Coda transaxle is a single speed front-wheel drive unit, with a drive ratio of 6.54:1.
The onboard charger (dual Lear 3.3 kW units) takes 6 kW of input from a 220/240V outlet and can complete a full charge in less than six hours. The charger can also tap into any 110/120V outlet for a slower charge. Fast charging may be an option in the future for fleet buyers.
The four-door, five-passenger, fully-equipped mid-size Coda sedan will be available for $45,000 (mid-$30,000s after including a $7,500 Federal tax credit and additional state incentives). Coda Automotive is planning to sell 2,700 units in 2010. Production capacity will reach 20,000 units in 2011, gated by the production capacity of the battery plant.
Factory-standard equipment in the Coda sedan includes a telematics package, navigation with turn-by-turn directions, a green screen that monitors driving efficiency, roadside assistance with an emergency button, a Bluetooth system with an embedded microphone, AM/FM/XM radio with Sirius satellite capability, iPod dock, MP3/USB connectivity, security system, aluminum wheels, and power windows, doors and mirrors. Safety equipment includes anti-lock brakes with electronic stability control and advanced airbags with an occupant detection system.
Coda Automotive employs a direct distribution model, and will sell the vehicle only in the state of California initially. Coda will also perform the vehicle’s maintenance and service through an outsourced network comprised of brand name car service partners. Customers interested in purchasing a Coda can register their interest on the new Coda website. The company will contact interested customers on a first come, first served basis later this year.
Pack development.. The Coda team worked with Porsche Engineering, Energy CS and Lishen on the development of the vehicle chassis and the battery pack. On the pack side, the team worked from the cell design all the way through module and pack assembly to thermal management and battery management systems. Coda own or co-owns all of the technology developed in the purpose-built system.
The Coda-Lishen battery joint venture has teamed with a US battery company and filed an application with the Department of Energy to receive funding to build a battery manufacturing facility in the US.
Lishen is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of lithium-ion cells and a key supplier to Apple, Motorola, Samsung and Vodafone, among others. The joint venture’s manufacturing facility is located within Lishen’s existing manufacturing complex in Tianjin, China, thus accelerating the company’s ability to commercialize the battery system and bring an all-electric car to the mass market.
Manufacturing. Coda’s internal team and contract partners, oversee the manufacturing process to ensure that Coda vehicles are built to Western safety specifications and market expectations. The Coda sedan is engineered to be FMVSS complaint, and based on existing crash test results the company expects a four or five-Star NCAP crash rating.
Coda Automotive employs what it calls an open and flexible variable cost/low capital expenditure business model. The company has a core team of engineers who work with a network of top-tier partners that provide engineering services and components. The company controls brand, design and IP while teaming with established large-scale manufacturers and assemblers to avoid the most capital intensive aspect of the car business.
Coda’s manufacturing partner, Hafei, is an established state-owned Chinese manufacturer of automobiles and airplanes and has delivered more than 1 million vehicles and currently produces 200,000 vehicles per year.