It’s a bold statement, but in many respects it’s true. The upcoming 2012 Coda Sedan may look duller than a bucket of soup, but it will be able to travel 150 miles per charge and recharge it’s battery in 6 hours from a standard 220 volt charger.
Coincidently, Coda is opening its first-ever storefront on L.A.’s Westside in the Westfield Century City mall. Inbetween a Swatch shop and Godiva chocolatier, this nontraditional automotive sales outlet is geared toward getting curious passersby into its new car for a test drive.
Those rare few who have driven the pre-production prototype say it’s not a car that stirs the soul, but for everyday traffic and driving it’s not really an essential attribute anyway.
Based on a chassis designed by Mitsubishi Motors in Japan, the Coda is a dull but not unpleasant compact sedan that tries to mimic the form and feel of a traditional gas-powered commuter vehicle. Though why you’d build a more efficient car that mimics a less efficient car escapes me. Perhaps they’ve added extra noise, smell, and inefficiency to make it feel more “Normal”?
For the most part, it’s onto something good. The Coda sedan isn’t quite as refined as the Leaf, but it’s not far off.
What’s really unique about Coda is its drivetrain. The car’s 100-kilowatt motor is connected to a 36 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack that has an active thermal management system. This means the battery stays at a constant temperature despite what’s going on outside. Though naturally, in extreme climates, plugging in is advised to maintain the batteries’ optimal temperature.
The car weighs 1600kg / 3,670 pounds which is slightly heavy for its size, but about a quarter of that comes from the batteries alone.
The steering in the preproduction model is said to need small but noticeable adjustments to keep it in check, and the car had a pretty wide turning radius. The four-wheel independent suspension with front MacPherson struts and rear shocks could also be softened for additional rider comfort if need be. Though maxing out its top speed on the freeway, the Coda felt solid, stable and, for the most part, quiet.
So keep your eyes peeled for this new machine next year – if you can spot it. I do wonder if they’ll only be available in grey though…