Though it may cost a few bucks – well, try $45K – the US will have a groundbreaking electric car on the market by July of this year: the first made-in-China model by California auto start-up Coda Automotive, Inc. Auto vet and recently-appointed Coda CEO Philip Murtaugh announced the release of his electric competitor at a Beijing press conference, China Daily reported earlier this month.
Featuring a battery with the endurance of Eva, the Coda model will be able to fully charge in six hours on a mere 220-volt source. That’s right – the battery is credited to Coda’s Chinese partner Tianjin Lishen Battery Co Ltd, who supplies lithium-ion batteries to the likes of Samsung and [Eva’s very own] Apple, Inc. Murtaugh claims that the “world-class” battery is what will set it apart, along with an unrivaled thermal control system which guarantees the car a record and reliable range of 200 kilometers, according to China Daily.
The purely electric sedan, which is made in China and later modified to meet US safety guidelines, will be targeted toward governments and corporate customers first in the States. Several major rental companies like Hertz and Enterprise have already signed on to stick Codas in their “fleets” as soon as they arrive. Coda’s ambitious target customer bases are indicative of the confidence Murdaugh has in the electric car market as a whole.
A veteran of not just any of the auto industry’s leaders – he served as Chief Exec at GM in China from 2000-2005 and at both Shanghai Auto Industry Corp and Chrysler LLC – Murtaugh will bring invaluable experience and industry savvy to Coda and its imminent success, assesses China Daily contributor Han Tianying. The 15-year industry player foresees – no, guarantees – China’s leadership in the global electric vehicle market, and he has seen growth in this industry firsthand.
With major market forces reaping better numbers than ever, such as General Motors in China at a 10% annual increase and Toyota Motor in China up over 16% from last year (according to China Daily Saturday), China remains the global leader in automotive manufacturing. Will it soon lead in the electric car market, as Murtaugh predicts?
These environmentally friendly (friendlier, at least) efforts in this major industry seem to align with China’s nation-wide green initiatives. China Daily reported last week that China came in first place in clean-energy investment for 2010, according to Reuters. Perhaps California-based Coda will help encourage the United States and particularly the West Coast to take a hint.