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Coda Redux: GreenTech Aims Chinese Battery Sedan at U.S. Market |

The specter of the Coda electric sedan, based on another Chinese small car, looms large. Coda couldn’t get any traction with a witheringly expensive battery car that looked like a 1988 Toyota Corolla. And that despite the fact that Coda was crash tested and road-legal. In an interview, GreenTech Chairman and CEO Charles Wang said that the as-yet unnamed sedan would be sold initially as a NEV, as it awaits an anticipated two-year U.S. certification process.

Asked about Coda, Wang said he will avoid its pitfalls by building a much better car. He said he visited many Chinese auto plants looking for a partner, including Coda’s Harbin HF Automobile Industry Group, and thinks he’s found the company that makes the highest-quality vehicles.


“Their platform works very well with our technology,” Wang said. “We expect to deliver a high-quality consumer product at a competitive price.” He said the company expects to build 7,000 cars this year, including the first iterations of the new sedan. Leaving the JAC car’s quality aside for a moment, Wang’s plan to produce 30,000 of the electric version in the next three years is hugely ambitious. They popped corks at Tesla when they sold 4,750 cars.

McInerney said GreenTech has had “a very positive response to the sedan as a NEV.” The U.S. market for cars that can’t go on the highway and are restricted to 35 mph and below is, of course, tiny. But McInerney said it has traction in Europe where low-speed vehicles fit “into the fabric of their transportation needs.”

Aimed at Europe

Since the $25,000 price would also buy a highway-capable Smart Electric Drive bristling with technology, GreenTech has some ‘splainin’ to do. The European market for cheap EVs is real enough as a way of getting around congestion pricing and center cities barred to all but zero-emission vehicles, but drivers there have plenty of other choices.



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