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Behind the wheel of the improved Coda electric car

Consumer Reports News: May 08, 2012 11:08 AM

At the 26th Electric Vehicle Symposium (EVS26) in Los Angeles this week, we had an opportunity to drive the Coda small electric sedan. It has been updated to be more affordable since we first piloted one in November 2011.

The Coda now has a 31-kWh battery, instead of the 36 kWh one, in an attempt to make the car less expensive and more competitive with the Nissan Leaf. It is priced at $37,250, and the company says in California, the combined available tax credits and rebates can lower the cost to $27,250.

The claimed range is 125 miles and charge times are said to be five and a half hours. With our latest drive, the production car seemed more finished than the previous example we sampled, without the suspension clunks and with a brake pedal that's easier to get used to. There is also a prominent gauge that displays the battery's charge state. However, viewing the remaining range requires an inconvenient, two touches of the low display screen.

The car is already on sale in California metro areas and several deliveries have taken place. Coda won't disclose exactly how many, however. The company says it intends to line up dealers outside California in the next six months. A plan to establish a plant that was supposed to produce batteries for Coda in Ohio has been put on hold for now.

See our guide to fuel economy and guide to alternative fuels.

We drive the first Chinese car expected in the U.S., the electric BYD e6
Do electric cars even need special chargers?

Updated: 5/10/12

Gabe Shenhar

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