As Coda makes “final preparations” for the debut of its electric sedan initially to the California market this year, its parent company says it has raised an additional $147 million in financing.
Coda Holdings has reportedly now raised $300 million since being founded in 2009, and its business also includes units that build lithium batteries and electric drive control systems.
The largest contributor to its most recent funding, according to Coda CEO Phil Murtagh, was New World Strategic Investment Limited (NW-SI), described as “a highly respected and established firm that has a strong history of supporting the clean tech industry in Asia.”
Other investors are those who had contributed to previous funding rounds, including company founder Miles Rubin, Harbinger Capital Partners and Riverstone Holdings.
Coda’s California-only EV packs a battery nominally rated at 36 kwh, and it reportedly pushes closer to an actual 39 kwh. This is significantly higher than the all-electric Nissan Leaf’s 24 kwh, and Coda says its car will cause “range envy” while offering up to 150 miles per charge.
Not one to necessarily be swayed by automaker assertions, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to rate the Coda’s range at around 110 miles. This will nonetheless be significantly more than the 73 miles it estimated for the Leaf.
According to Edmunds, which recently test drove a Coda, its lithium-iron-phosphate battery chemistry has lower energy density than the Leaf’s lithium-manganate chemistry, but Coda says performance is otherwise superior.
Coda says its battery costs less to produce while delivering more useable energy, higher peak power, longer battery life, and greater thermal stability.
After starting with a partially discharged battery, Edmunds got 105 miles out of its mixed around-town plus stop-and-go highway test drive. It estimated 120 miles should have been possible, if not more.
The 3,670-pound Coda weighs 300 pounds more than the Leaf, has a limited top speed of 85 mph, and reportedly – although unofficially – it dashes to 60 mph in the 9-10 second range compared to the Leaf’s approximately 10 seconds.
Who will buy it?
The $44,900 (before incentives) 2011 Coda tops the Leaf in power, but its price gap over the $35,200 2012 Leaf is also substantial.
Presently, Coda has one southern California retail location, is taking reservations, and is looking at opening a retail store in the San Fransisco Bay Area by year’s end. The company hopes to sell 14,000 units by the end of 2012.
Murtagh, who came on board in January after heading GM’s China division, said first adopters will likely have income over $125,000. As you would expect, they are projected to be those most interested in the latest tech, particularly as applied to environmentally sustainable solutions.
Corporate and fleet buyers will also be among the first movers, and these all represent the lowest hanging fruit needed to buy time as Coda races on toward refining its appeal for a broader audience.