2012 Coda Sedan

Which electric car is best: Coda, i-Miev, Focus Electric, Leaf, Model S, or Volt

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Coda Automotive is in the news with assembly of the companies first production electric car, so we take a look at the company's claim their electric car offers the best value proposition of electric cars in its class.

A Coda, a Focus Electric, an i-Miev, a Leaf, a Model S, and a Volt walk into a bar, the bartender asks them which offers the best value in electric cars, and they each point to themselves. While this falls flat as a joke, the electric automakers are following strategies that deliver a range of price and value tradeoffs. While environmental and energy security concerns are top issues for many prospective electric car owners, to reach the mainstream car buyer means delivering a powerful value proposition.

Because all the vehicles just named are more expensive than their non-electric counterparts, the value proposition becomes harder to grasp. The higher up-front cost has to be outweighed by savings on maintenance and fuel. It's been shown that electric cars are cheaper to fuel, both because electricity is a less expensive fuel than gasoline, and because electric cars are far more efficient with their energy than gasoline. But does that add up to making total cost of ownership less expensive? The answer to that depends on which way the price of gasoline goes.

In the meantime Coda Automotive's marketing team lists these five sales points as their big win over the other electric cars: Best in class driving range, Best in class range-per-dollar, Fast and easy recharging, Dependable range, and Superior battery technology.

Let's see how the various electric cars stack up against each other on these points.

The driving range of electric cars range from 62 miles for the Mitsubishi i-Miev up to 300 miles for the Tesla Model S. Coda occupies an interesting sweet spot in driving range. At the high end is, of course, the Tesla Model S with a 300 mile maximum driving range, but at a luxury car price. The Coda Sedan, Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, Ford Focus Electric and perhaps the Mitsubishi i-Miev are all in roughly the same "class" of car: Family sedans. (Note: the i-Miev is a Compact sedan) Of those cars, the Coda electric car has the longest driving range. The EPA rated ranges are: Coda, 88 miles; Ford Focus Electric, 76 miles; Nissan Leaf, 73 miles; Mitsubishi i-Miev, 62 miles. The Chevy Volt has a 35 mile electric driving range, but with a gasoline engine/generator providing up to 310 miles of gasoline range.


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Fair and balanced; you must work for Fox News I have been following the development of Coda for the past three years since i have an investment in one of its component suppliers. But, this is my first encounter with a start-up auto company, so i have a lot to learn; and so do the suppliers. One thing that continues to be confusing when evaluating EVs and PHEVs, is the difference between stated maximum ranges from manufacturers and what the EPA comes up with. Coda speaks of max range between 125 and 150 miles depending on the size of the battery pack while the EPA rating is 88 miles. Perhaps you could explain the EPA process in another article or refer me to a web site where i can find the answer. Thank you for your objective assessment of the cars mentiioned in the article; it is the best by far of all that i've read to date. Randy
It is a little puzzle why Coda's EPA rated range was so much less than the numbers Coda has touted. One piece of data is the other cars consume approx 30-35 kilowatt-hours per 100 miles, and Coda's consumes 46 kilowatt-hours per 100 miles, according to the EPA figures. It could be the difference between the UDDS test cycle (simulates city driving) and perhaps mileage on the highway. Thank you for the suggestion of a follow-up article, because I'm not certain how the EPA determines this.
Above it says about the volt: "The Chevy Volt also has a 3.3 kilowatt charger, but its gasoline engine/generator recharges the battery pack while driving by burning gasoline" My understand is that no charging occurs -- the electricity generated goes only to drive the electric motor -- and of course there are plenary gears that can bring a direct mechanical connection into play under certain less common conditions.
Also states " Nissan Leaf can condition the pack while charging to warm it up" I think there's some thermal heating if the cold weather pack is installed, but otherwise the only charging activity *I think* relates to pre-warming the cabin?
Ummm, why in the world are you using the 300mi Tesla Model S in this comparison? Tesla's base model is $20,000 cheaper than the 300mi option, and has a posted range of 160miles, with a 55kWh battery pack (significantly larger than the Coda's pack). That should be the comparable model to the CODA and other EVs listed. But it certainly is a great way to bias your readers to think Tesla is 'out of range for most people'. I think if you asked 'most' people if being able to drive TWICE AS FAR as the Coda for $20k more in up front costs, plus a luxury interior and much more useful interior space and design, the decision becomes a LOT more enticing in Tesla's favor. Add to that a proven track record of technology and service, with Roadster owners STILL getting 90% of their original battery range 4-5 years after purchase, versus a completely unknown company putting the Coda out there, I know where my $ would be spent. Tesla will service your vehicle IN YOUR GARAGE as needed. You don't even consider the manufacturer's record in the US and customer service for your car in your article, which is a huge oversight when considering which EV car is the best 'value'. Really poor journalism at work here.
Nice article, thanks! I will share it on my facebook, where I normally avoid spouting my evangelism of the EV. On the Tesla, it will also have battery fluid temperature control and should compare equally to the others in the temperature catagory without special add-ons. I disagree with the previous comment because in the current landscape you can only compare it to the top end model since that is all they will be producing this year, pretty much. By next year they will have the cheaper models available but next year these other companies will have their next models out also and the landscape will probably be even more competitive and interesting. Its all about the battery, and you captured all the angles well. Thanks again.
I am glad to see Coda has actually made it though and not fallen into bankruptcy like Think, Aptera etc. More choices for the people and more competition is a great thing. All of these cars have at least one advantage over the other eg. range, genset, efficiency, seating etc and thankfully range is in the favour of the Coda, otherwise it is very easy to get left behind if you have nothing going for you. It may not be much, but it is something.