Another Electric Car Company Goes Bust After Selling Only 100 Cars at Four Dealerships

coda car

Coda Automotive sold only 100 cars at four California dealerships.

Electric carmaker Coda filed for bankruptcy after selling only 100 cars at four California dealerships. Coda applied for a $334 million loan in May 2010 and withdrew the request in April 2012.

Well, who’d have thought a no-name, $40,000 Chinese electric car would fail? We’ve been waiting forCoda Automotive to declare bankruptcy—not in the mean-spirited, anti-EV trash talk you see on cable news, but as a matter of pure dollars and sense. From the moment mainstream automakers like Nissan and Ford announced they would sell EVs, Coda was doomed. After filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, Coda said it wanted to continue supplying batteries for utilities and commercial buildings. Its automotive arm will be put into mothballs.

Three years ago, the Los Angeles–based startup was coming up alongside Tesla Motors and Fisker Automotive, all of which billed themselves as leaner, savvier automakers against the post-bailout mess of Chrysler and GM. (With Fisker in its dying throes, now only Tesla remains as a functioning member of the automotive world.) Coda pulled talent from all over the industry, installing former GM China president Phil Murtaugh as its CEO. Its technology was impressive at a time when the EV market was still in the infancy of its formative years: The company’s 31-kWh lithium-ion battery had a claimed best range this side of a Tesla Roadster, at an EPA-estimated 88 miles; its on-board charger carried double the capacity of the Nissan Leaf‘s; and the 85-mph top speed looked just fine, too.

But the potentially impressive tech was never realized. Just 100 cars were sold from Coda’s four California dealers since production started in March 2012. There are a number of contributing factors to the brand’s demise—including an application for a $334 million federal loan that was withdrawn after a decision failed to materialize after two years in the Department of Energy’s hands—but none more apparent than Coda’s decision to use a cheap Chinese sedan, the Hafei Saibao, which uses a Mitsubishi architecture, as its foundation.

Coda’s bankruptcy is the third by an electric automobile-related company this year.
Bloomberg reported:

Coda’s bankruptcy is at least the third by an electric vehicle-related company in just over a year. A123 Systems Inc. (AONEQ), a battery supplier to Fisker Automotive Inc., another California-based maker of electric cars, filed for bankruptcy in October. Ener1 Inc., also a maker of batteries for electric cars, entered bankruptcy in January 2012.

Obama told supporters this month he would continue spending federal dollars on failed green energy programs.

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