Checking out the lower end of the electric car range… Introducing the Coda


Active E and Coda parked side by side 1

 

Active E and Coda parked side by side 4

A couple of weeks ago, I was walking the Century City Shopping Center –


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And ran across the Coda Experience Center… Having only driven my ActiveE, I wanted to have a frame of reference on what makes the ActiveE a fun electric car versus other electric cars. Granted this is like comparing a 328i with a Honda Civic…  But I thought what the heck.  I’d like to check it out.

Before I did the behind the wheel test.  One of the things that I noticed at Coda was the price – $37,500 USD without any incentives.  The other was the included battery pack – 31 KwH…  That’s 4 more than the ActiveE’s usable charge, this means a longer range…  They claim 125 miles on the current model whereas a previous model was 150 miles… Lastly, trunk space – it has it!

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So, I went out on a test drive with one of the Coda Associates and it drives ok.  The regenerative braking felt non-existent.  My Civic Hybrid felt stronger on the regen.  The power was akin to a Civic and it definitely does not fall into the “fun to drive” category that the ActiveE and other BMWs fall into.

Seeing that this vehicle really wasn’t targeted to the BMW or Tesla pricepoints, it took time to have to keep my biases from clouding my test.  One of the positives that was touted for this car was that it charges at 6.6kWh not 3.3kWh as the Leaf.  Of course, the AE goes at least as fast as this car, if not faster to charge, but the pricepoint is also much cheaper for the Coda.

The picture below shows why this car charges at twice the speed as the Leaf, it has two of these things vs 1 on the Leaf

IMGP6069One shortcoming of the demonstration vehicles that I tested was the GPS/Battery management system on the vehicles were non-functioning, and thus had to rely on testing it at the “experience center”.  Looks nice below, but couldn’t tell while I was driving the demo.

Needless to say, I wasn’t overly impressed.  The car has an old stlying, perhaps in the 80s, so as not to be so old as to be classic a la re-tooled Thunderbird or Mustang.  I like the range in the vehicle and the faster L2 charging than the Leaf, but it is just too plain for me to want.

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During my test drive, my sales associate mentioned that the batteries are a different chemical composition than other electric car manufacturers and that the company sells the cars with a 10 year warranty on the batteries.  This is impressive, but I can’t really see myself wanting to drive this car for 10 years, whereas the 2 year lease on my ActiveE just seems TOO SHORT.

The Coda seems very smart to target a more “affordable” electric car segment than Tesla or Fisker, so in that manner I feel that they are smart to target that segment.  However, the equivalent trim in an ICE vehicle would probably be less than half the $38k that Coda is asking for, so I don’t know how many folks would cough up the $38k for a utilitarian vehicle like the Coda.  Frankly if they styled the car to be less utilitarian and more stylish, folks might like it better.

Just my opinion.

If you find yourself near the Century City Shopping Mall and have the time to take your own test drive, I suggest you do.  It was definitely useful in reinforcing my love of my ActiveE and my continuing quest to figure out what my “next” electric will be.

For more pictures, click on the link to the Flickr photostream.

Link to Coda’s corporate website

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Dennis

rEVolutionary armed with a Tesla Model S S85 and a Tesla Roadster, when his wife let's him borrow it. Formerly driving a BMW Active E (2012-Feb to 2014-Feb). Dennis has been driving EVs since he found himself on the BMW Active E trials on February 2012. As a result of his involvement in the Active E program, he became Accidentally Environmental. Aside from this blog, he often tweets @dennis_p. When not driving, he can be found on the following Tesla/EV forums - teslamotorsclub.com, teslamotors.com, and model3ownersclub.com as AEdennis or on speakev.com as Dennis. In the interest of full disclosure, Dennis has an inherent bias toward electric vehicles and has an investment in and is LONG Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA).

6 thoughts on “Checking out the lower end of the electric car range… Introducing the Coda”

  1. Hi Dennis, great write-up! A small correction request: the ActiveE has a 32 kWh battery pack, which is a bit more than the base CODA sedan. Yes, not all of this capacity is usable, but the same is true of other EVs, including CODA. Typically, 10-15% of pack capacity is blocked off to prolong battery life. Even though the display says 100%, we never charge to full. Likewise, we never fully discharge to prevent the battery from bricking.

    1. George that’s correct. (the AE with 32 kWh battery pack and 27 usable…) per the Coda rep, the Coda has a 36 kwH pack or something like that and 31-32kWh usable)

      Thanks for the feedback, I should have been clearer in my post.

      -Dennis

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