Despite multiple delays, Coda Automotive chief executive Phil Murtaugh told the media last week he remains confident that sales of his company’s debut vehicle, the electric Coda Sedan, will commence before the end of February. During an interview with The Detroit News, Murtaugh claimed that the $37,250 Coda Sedan is ready to sell as soon as EPA certification is complete. That, according to Murtaugh, should be before March.
However, certifying a vehicle for use on public roads in the US isn’t a simple process. The Coda Sedan must obtain official fuel efficiency ratings from the Environmental Protection Agency and will have to successfully complete the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) mandatory crash tests.
Without certification, the Coda Sedan can’t legally be sold for on-road use in the US. Furthermore, the act of certifying a vehicle in the US can be a timely process, with both the EPA and the NHTSA short on the resources necessary to quickly certify all waiting vehicles. It took Fisker nearly nine months after production began to get official federal government approval to sell its plug-in hybrid Karma in the United States. Assurances aside, whether or not Coda meets its current deadline to officially launch sales is now in the hands of the federal government.
Also in the hands of the government is Coda’s application for a share of $25 billion in loans for advanced technology vehicles makers. If it gets that loan, Coda it will be able to begin moving production of its vehicle from China to the United States, a move that the carmaker says will create as many as 2,000 jobs. If the request is rejected, Murtaugh told The Detroit News his company still plans to move production here, but it could take 5-8 years of sales to accumulate the money to make that possible.
Once the Coda Sedan does begin sales, the carmaker announced earlier this month that customers would be given the option of buying a version of the car with a smaller battery capacity for $2,650 less than the standard model. Instead of a 36-kilowatt-hour battery pack with a claimed range of 150 miles, the budget model will carry a 31-kWh pack delivering 125 miles of range.