|Headquarters||Los Angeles, California|
|Key people||Philip Murtaugh (CEO),
Ashoka Achuthan (CFO),
Steven "Mac" Heller
|Products||Coda Car lithium-iron batteries|
CODA Automotive Inc. is a privately held American company headquartered in Los Angeles, California, that designs, semi manufactures lithium-iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery systems built for automotive and power storage utility applications. Initially sold electric cars. Miles Automotive partnered with Hafei and Qingyuan Electric Vehicle to establish Coda Automotive as an affiliate company. The word CODA is a musical term that denotes the concluding passage of a piece of music, from the Italian word coda (tail). CODA Automotive has said that it chose the name because its electric vehicle technology represents an end for combustion engine vehicles, and the start of the electric vehicle era.
In June 2009, CODA announced the creation and funding of LIO Energy Systems, a global joint-venture with Lishen Power Battery. LIO Energy Systems was formed with the purpose of designing, manufacturing, and selling battery systems for electric vehicles and utility applications. LIO Energy Systems will supply battery systems to CODA Automotive for use in the all-electric CODA, to other automotive OEMs globally, and to renewable energy producers, utilities and other power storage customers. LIO Energy Systems was later renamed CODA Energy.
CODA’s sole vehicle offering was the Coda all-electric sedan, a four-door, five passenger electric car powered by a battery pack that delivered a United States Environmental Protection Agency rated range of 88 mi (142 km), the longest among its class, although considerably less than the Tesla Roadster and Tesla Model S. The electric car was released in March 2012, and initially was available only in California. After low initial sales of the Coda Car, Coda Automotive terminated 15% of its workforce, and entered a period of financial difficulty. As of May 2013, Coda was seeking bankruptcy protection.
Corporate strategy and partners
CODA Automotive’s goal is to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles, and renewable energy technology globally. To this end, CODA has focused on improving performance, safety, reducing cost, and commercializing production of battery systems built for automotive applications, which it views as the “chief enabling technology” for all-electric cars. To reduce the cost of building its vehicles, CODA controls all core design, and engineering work internally while partnering with established automotive manufacturers, and suppliers around the world. CODA’s supply chain partners include BorgWarner, UQM Technologies, EnergyCS, Continental Automotive Systems, Porsche Design Studios, Delphi, Celgard, Novolyte Technologies, OMITEC, Lear, Hella, Hafei, and Lishen. In total, CODA has more than thirty suppliers, and partners on four continents. In March 2012, Chinese car maker Great Wall Motors formed a joint venture with Coda.
Models and products
CODA made its consumer auto show debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show, November 19–28, 2010. As part of an ongoing commitment to educate consumers about sustainability, and green energy technology, CODA will host a series of educational seminars throughout the show, ultimately reaching more than 600 students. Like its business model, and car, CODA's booth was a break from tradition, and was designed to showcase the company's brand identity. "Zen meets Tech" is the overarching aesthetic theme. The booth was constructed largely out of eco-friendly materials. The walls are constructed from salvaged Picklewood that was collected from various sites in North America. The floor is made from recycled rubber, the graphics are printed on recycled papers with eco-friendly inks, and live plants have been incorporated. A central element of the booth is the "Commitment Wall", which visitors will populate with their thoughts on sustainability, the environment, and green technology. A large media wall showcased a variety of videos about CODA, its employees, and the benefits of electric vehicles.
Coda all-electric car
CODA’s first car is an all-electric four-door, five passenger battery electric vehicle (BEV), the CODA sedan. The car is powered by a 31 kWh lithium ion iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery system that is substantially larger than that of other vehicles in its class. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Coda's 31 kWh lithium ion iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery system delivers a range of 88 mi (142 km), the longest among its class. EPA's rated the Coda's combined fuel economy at 73 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent(3.2 L/100 km). The car is backed by a 3-year, 36,000 mile limited warranty and the battery system is backed by an 10-year, 100,000 mile limited warranty.
CODA announced that net price will be US$37,250 before any electric vehicle federal tax credit, and other state and local incentives that are available in the U.S. Initial deliveries of the vehicle were planned for December 2010, but were pushed back to the second half of 2011 as CODA decided to have more time available to ensure the quality of the car, and later were again re-scheduled for late 2011. The latest market launch was slated for February 2012, but the first deliveries to retail customers in the United States took place in March 2012. Initially the electric car is available only in California.
Battery production and distribution joint-venture
CODA has a global joint-venture with Lishen Power Battery, a global battery cell supplier to Samsung, Motorola, and Apple, for the design, manufacture, and sale of battery systems called LIO Energy Systems. The name was selected because “LIO” is the reverse spelling of “oil.” Together, CODA and Lishen developed a lithium iron phosphate battery cell for transportation, and utility applications, which includes, renewable energy (wind and solar power) storage. LIO Energy Systems currently operates a manufacturing facility in Tianjin and plans to build a U.S. facility in Columbus, Ohio. Initially, the CODA will be the primary recipient of the battery systems produced by LIO. LIO's production capacity will total 1.4 billion amp hours in Tianjin, China at full scale. With the completion of the Ohio plant, total capacity will reach two billion Ah (6.3 million kWh) of energy storage.
In May 2010, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke visited the LIO Energy Systems facility in Tianjin as part of the Obama administration's first cabinet-level trade mission to China. Commenting on the visit, Locke said, "International green technology partnerships can produce rapid job growth back home and deliver energy solutions abroad, and CODA's venture proves it."
Financial history and investors
Kevin Czinger and Miles Rubin founded Coda in 2009. Early funding raised US$125 million. On January 6, 2011, Coda announced the first close of a US$76 million Series D investment round, bringing the company’s “total invested capital” to more than US$200 million. Lio Energy Systems, CODA's joint venture with Lishen, is funded by a US$100 million equity investment by the partners, and as such, entered into “cooperation agreements” for “up to US$327 million of long-term credit.”.
Notable investors include, equity firms, Harbinger Capital Partners, Piper Jaffray, Riverstone Holdings, and personal investors, Henry "Hank" Paulson, John Bryson, Klaus Tschira, Les Wexner, Mack McLarty, Miles Rubin, Steven “Mac” Heller, and Tom Steyer.
Bankruptcy and legal issues
After selling approximately 100 Coda Cars in California, Coda filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on May 1, 2013. Coda Holdings stated that it expects to emerge from the bankruptcy process to focus solely on its subsidiary Coda Energy, and thus abandon car manufacturing.
Shortly after the bankruptcy announcement, former employee Tony Bulchak filed a class-action lawsuit against the automaker, alleging that Coda laid off 125 workers in December 14, 2012, without giving them a 60-day notice.
Lung disease advocacy group Breathe California named CODA a Clean Air Award winner in the technology development category on April 19, 2010.
Silicon Valley networking organization AlwaysOn selected CODA as one of the top privately held companies focused on green technology in its GoingGreen 100 list for 2010.
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