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.

Comments

· · 1 year 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...

· · 1 year 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.

· · 1 year ago

@DanielTaylor787

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.

· · 1 year 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.

New to EVs? Start here

  1. Electric Cars Pros and Cons
    EVs are a great solution for most people. But not everybody.
  2. Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car
    A few simple tips before you visit the dealership.
  3. Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
    Take advantage of credits and rebates to reduce EV costs.
  4. Buying Your First Home EV Charger
    You'll want a home charger. Here's how to buy the right one.
  5. The Ultimate Guide to Electric Car Charging Networks
    If you plan to charge in public, you'll want to sign up for charging network membership (or two).
  6. Electric Vehicle Charging for Businesses
    How do you ensure that electric car owners will be happy with every visit to your charging spot?
  7. How to Use the PlugShare EV Charging Station Tool
    Locate EV charging stations and optimize their use with a powerful mobile app.
  8. Quick Charging of Electric Cars
    Add 50 to 60 miles of range in about 20 minutes. Here's how.
  9. Calculating the Real Price of EV Public Charging
    Compare the cost of charging on the road to what you pay at home.
  10. Electric Vehicle Charging Etiquette
    Thou shalt charge only when necessary. And other rules to live by.