Coda EV to finally hit showrooms

The Coda electric vehicle (EV) has a rather interesting history.

Built on the body of a re-engineered Chinese gas-powered car, the Hafei Saibao, the Coda first drew headlines when it made its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2010. 

Back then the company said the EV would be on the market by the end of that year. Shortly thereafter things were looking up for Coda after Hertz announced that they would begin offering the car at its Southern California rental outlets. The company soon scored some big investors but also had to admit that the car wasn’t ready to hit the streets just yet.

In the meantime, Coda announced that while you couldn’t actually buy one of their EVs, you were more than welcome to come have a look at one – in a Los Angeles shopping mall. In September 2011, the company set up a 900-square-foot space designed to present “an engaging and interactive in-store environment” for prospective tire kickers.

Now, it seems, Coda is finally ready to start marketing real cars to actual human beings. The company recently announced that it had selected Marvin K. Brown as its exclusive dealer partner in San Diego County.

The deal ensures that Marvin K. Brown, who also markets the Fisker EV line as well as Buick, Cadillac, GMC, Mitsubishi and Saab, would give the Coda some much-needed marketing muscle.

The first Coda dealership is expected to be at the Marvin K. Brown Auto Center, in the heart of San Diego.  As Coda expands its automotive line of business, outlets will pop up throughout San Diego County. The first showroom is slated to make its debut next month. The company has previously said that it has signed agreements with dealers in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Honolulu, but has yet to release details on those locations.

The Coda sedan was named “Best Green Vehicle” at the recent 2011 San Diego Auto Show. The $39,000 (before any electric vehicle federal tax credit and other state and local incentives) sedan offers a 134-horsepower motor powered by a 34-kilowatt-hour lithium ion iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery system.

Coda says that system will deliver a range of up to 150 miles on a full charge. Top speed is an electronically limited 85 mph and charge time for the five-seater is six hours.

Steve Duda, EarthTechling