The all-electric Coda has certainly been a long time coming. It was initially unveiled at the L.A. Auto Show back in November of 2010, with the opening salvo on sales slated to commence the following month. More than a year later, the first consumer models have finally been delivered to customers eager to get their hands on what could be the best all-electric car since the Tesla (and at a far better price). Some buyers have been waiting as long as three years for this green vehicle, having put in pre-orders before the car was even unveiled. And it seems as though their patience has paid off; earlier this week the first models off the assembly line were delivered to waiting customers via Los Angeles and Silicon Valley dealerships. So what took them so long and why was it worth the wait?
The car, which is currently manufactured and sold exclusively in California, originally planned to beat out both the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt by making it to the showroom floor in the fall of 2010. But unlike its big brothers in the auto industry, Coda is a small company, which means any little problem can quickly become a major setback. Unfortunately, Coda had two big problems. The first revolved around undisclosed “development issues”, with the company claiming that they wanted to put more time into ensuring the quality of their vehicles. With all the difficulties facing Toyota and other automakers after their massive recalls a couple of years earlier, Coda should probably be praised for this stance. In truth, the delay didn’t seem to put off anyone who added their name to the reservation list for the first available batch of these vehicles. Of course, the launch was delayed again due to management turnover. But it is finally available and consumers couldn’t be happier.
When you consider the incredible features it’s not hard to see why people would be willing to wait for these eco-friendly cars. For one thing, the range is impressive, with an EPA estimated 88 miles on a single charge (with a cost equivalent of about 73 miles per gallon). While a Tesla will still take you about three times as far, the Coda comes in at about a third of the price, starting at an estimated $37,250. This is before tax, but also before federal rebates (which could be as high as $7,000 off the sticker price and another $2,000 towards the installation of a charging station) and state incentives (in California that could amount to an additional $5,000 for electric or plug-in hybrids). This is all good news, but the car is still on the pricy side for most drivers. Or is it?
The Nissan Leaf SV starts at just $2,000 less (although the SL, which comes with a few added features starts at the exact same price as the Coda), while the base price for the Chevy Volt is a bit closer to $40K ($39,145 MSRP, to be exact). And the Coda battery won’t catch fire after an accident. While there are hybrid models that will certainly cost you less, the truth is that owning a zero-emissions, electric model is going to be a bit pricier than other automotive options…but it’s also the greenest type of car you can buy. This is no cheap car hire service; these people chose the name Coda (a term that denotes the close of a musical passage) because their goal was to create a car that would spell the demise of the gas-powered engine. Although the wait was long, that Coda is finally here, and while those with pre-orders are elated with their newest transportive toy, it remains to be seen how car-buyers in general will react to the latest electric option on the market.