Coda EV Gets Less Than Perfect Safety Rating

By · December 10, 2012

Coda EV

The vanilla Coda electric sedan.

Coda Automotive is not publicly reporting its sale figures, but anecdotal evidence suggests the numbers are quite low. Despite offering a bigger battery than most of the competition, the company faces big challenges in overcoming its drab style—and the perception that a China-sourced EV is up to par in terms of build quality. It won’t help the company that the car received only two stars in its most recent frontal impact safety testing.

The Coda Sedan scored a high-ranking of five stars for side impact and rollover testing—but the low frontal impact results reduces its overall rating to four stars. Both the 2012 Nissan LEAF and 2013 Chevrolet Volt earned overall 5-star ratings, as well as other top safety ratings.

When I drove the Coda for a week earlier this year, one of the biggest problems was what auto engineers call “NVH” or noise, vibration and harshness. The whine from the electric motor was annoying—and gave the impression of overall lack of quality. The blemish from a relatively low safety rating could further undermine consumer acceptance.

In billboard ads that I’ve seen on Northern California highways, Coda is playing up its longer range, as much as 125 miles on a charge, and its design with a trunk instead of a hatchback. Even if its ads bring people into a showroom, the key question is if Coda can close the deal with prospective EV buyers—especially considering new plug-ins coming to market, from major automakers offering attractive pricing.

Coda managed to make its first sales in 2012. That’s an accomplishment. The key question for 2013 is if it can ramp up sales to become a legitimate automotive brand in the U.S. market—or decide instead to focus on providing technology to other car makers, especially those in China where quality and safety standards are not as high.


· · 5 years ago

China seems to have issues with vehicle quality in general. The Coda is just the more recent in a long line of vehicles that don't perform well in crash tests. Chery, Brilliance, Geely, BYD...

· · 5 years ago

Today’s electric vehicles are either super-sexy--think the Tesla Roadster and Fisker Karma--or somehow different-looking than your average car, like the aerodynamic Nissan Leaf. But for most people, EVs are alien enough without having to deal with major design differences.

· · 5 years ago


I'm with you man. Pity that the car with a somewhat decent range is having so much trouble. I'm in Western NY state, so I'm not sure how I would obtain one anyway.

Anyone know if Nissan's new huge battery plant is going to help bring down the cost per kwh of battery capacity? If only battery pricing was like cell phone pricing.

Maybe the best thing for battery pricing would be a New POWER PIGGY PLASMA Tablet that used like 50 watts. Apple could make a totally white one with Chinese Slave Labor, and it would be hugely popular, and the 50 watts consumption would call for much larger , much cheapter (per kwh) batteries.

· · 5 years ago

@Bill Howland,
Having been a part of early cellular phone development, I'd say that the resistance to adoption and early perceived price barrier issues at the same stage of development that EVs are facing are quite similar.
Remember the $3K price on early carphones that took another $1k of labor to install? Once manufacturers paid off the huge development costs and the market risk diminished, prices dropped.

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