CODA Could Supply Propulsion Systems For OEMs

California company looks beyond its own EVs.

CODA Automotive has released its first model and the Los Angeles-based automaker also has its sights on expanding its line up beginning in 2014 when the first model from its Great Wall partnership is released. While producing its own models is certainly a priority, the company is very much open to supplying the battery platform or propulsion system for competing original equipment manufacturers.

Propulsion System

When meeting with CODA Automotive executives this week, Auto Trends learned that this privately held company’s business model goes beyond CODA electric vehicles. Specifically, the company is very much interested in supplying transportation batteries and electric vehicle propulsion systems to other companies as well as providing stationary energy storage.

ZEVCODA wouldn’t be the first EV manufacturer to supply a propulsion system to another car company. Just this past week, Toyota unveiled its 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV, a model it is building with Tesla Motors, itself a California-based EV company. The front-wheel-drive SUV is retailing for $49,800 and will be available in California initially, a vehicle that helps Toyota comply with the Golden State’s Zero Emissions Vehicles mandates.

Like Tesla, CODA might welcome a financial stake from another automaker. In 2009, Daimler took a 10 percent stake in Tesla and in 2010 Toyota invested $50 million and signed an agreement that has produced its RAV4 EV.

ZEV Program

Although CODA did not get specific about a possible relationship, the California ZEV program requires major manufacturers to field such vehicles to comply with state law. They can avoid the mandate by exiting the market, an unlikely scenario, however. Or, if the automaker is a medium-sized player such as Hyundai, the requirement does not apply. That basically leaves GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan and Honda, needing to produce a minimum number of vehicles annually to comply with state law. Each of the six companies is building its own EVs or is partnering with another company to do the same. Still, it might be more cost effective for a manufacturer to outsource this responsibility or team up with CODA to get the job done.

CODA’s battery system platform is no slouch either. In its CODA Sedan, the company utilizes an under-floor battery that is packed between the car’s axles. This means that there is no intrusion into the passenger cabin or the trunk, a benefit that not every EV can offer. Its battery system offers the longest range, an anticipated high level of durability, all-climate range reliability and the fastest charging time on the market. Its lithium iron phosphate system is affordable and environmentally responsible, naturally non-toxic and packed in tightly.

Active Thermal Management

CODA says that it is also safer and more robust at higher temperatures and maintains a higher level of power after 100,000 miles than a comparable li-ion battery system. Also, CODA makes use of active thermal management, air driven technology that provides a consistent range at extreme temperatures. The advantage here is that its propulsion system can be charged at low, ambient temperatures.

So, although CODA Automotive is currently touting its first model, behind the scenes it may very well be talking with other manufacturers about making use of its own system. If CODA is successful in this endeavor, it will yield additional business opportunities for this fledgling company, perhaps giving it the impetus it needs to move forward.