Electric transport is on the way, of that there is little doubt. While some of the big players in the automotive pond tentatively test the waters, smaller fish are looking to step in and clean up. One such company in the U.S. has announced plans to kick start the mass adoption of electric vehicles and get its sedan electric car into the eagerly waiting hands of Californian drivers by the end of this year. The CODA car benefits from a purpose-built automotive battery system, a range of between 90 and 120 miles between charges and a top speed of 80mph.
CODA Automotive's CEO and President Kevin Czinger has set his sights on a future with cleaner air and where the U.S. is less dependent on foreign oil. Not that the company is opposed to working with the international business community, it has in fact partnered with some key players in global electric vehicle technology. Czinger said: "We believe in balanced development. CODA's approach is a smart, inter-dependent global solution that creates jobs right here in the U.S. and abroad. It's a win-win situation for everyone."
American designed, globally built
One such partner is Chinese Lithium-ion battery producer Lishen Power Battery, with whom CODA has designed and manufactured a purpose-built, four quadrant, 333-volt/33.8 kWh, 728 cell lithium iron phosphate automotive battery solution. It is said to fully charge via a 220-volt wall or 110-volt cord charger in six hours but a two hour quick charge will give a 40 mile range and it's also designed to be compatible with fast charging stations. CODA is offering peace of mind to buyers by backing up its battery technology with a warranty lasting either eight years or 100,000 miles.
The partnership has also spawned the development of a Thermal Management System which aims to keep the car's battery in peak condition for "immediate drivability" by having the cabin and batteries share the same heating and cooling energy source but benefit from independent airflow. When the battery system is fully charged, it is reported to power the 134-horsepower UQM PowerPhase electric motor anywhere from 90 to 120 miles. The advanced Battery Management System combined with regenerative braking could well extend the range even further.
The 102.3 inch wheelbase sedan is said to go from zero to 60mph in less than 11 seconds thanks to the high torque (300 Nm) provided by the BorgWarner 31-03 eGearDrive single-speed transmission. The CODA car probably wouldn't be of much interest to the speed freaks though, being electronically limited to a top speed of just 80mph. Other features include LED daytime running lights, a roomy 14.7 cubic feet of trunk storage, ABS brakes and electric power steering with an electronic steering monitor that automatically minimizes loss of control.
Safety considerations continue with six air bags for driver and passenger protection and a system that determines deployment force of airbags based on severity of impact. There's also an occupant detection system which determines if the front passenger seat is taken. If it isn't the airbag is disabled. The car is fitted out with automatic collision notification and remote diagnostic interrogation too.
Recycled materials further reduce environmental impact
The inside of the cabin benefits from recycled PET plastics and a dash featuring a touchscreen display that is home to the navigation system (with a black background for minimal power use), temperature controls, entertainment center (including iPod dock and DVD drive), Bluetooth hands-free calling and, most importantly, offers the driver access to all the important status information such as remaining charge, efficiency data and so on.
CODA Automotive, which received a Clean Air Award from Breathe California earlier in the month, intends to bring its four door, mid-sized all electric sedan to the Californian marketplace by the end of 2010, reckoning on delivering more than 14,000 vehicles to customers by the end of 2011.