Coda to Make Battery-Powered Cars With China’s Great Wall

Coda Holdings, the Los Angeles-based maker of electric cars, plans to produce battery-powered autos with China’s Great Wall Motor Co. to be sold under the U.S. company’s name starting in 2014.

Motors and batteries from the U.S. company’s Coda Automotive unit will be used in Great Wall vehicles, Chief Executive Officer Phil Murtaugh told reporters today by telephone. The cars also will be sold in China under the Great Wall name, he said. The partnership doesn’t include equity ties.

The partnership is intended to develop electric cars that match the price of gasoline-powered autos, after government incentives are included, Murtaugh said. Coda, a closely held company with investors including billionaire Philip Falcone and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, already uses chassis and other parts from China for its electric Coda Sedan.

Murtaugh, who previously helped develop business in China for the former General Motors Corp., declined to say how many sedans Coda has sold since deliveries began in California last month.

The first model from the agreement with Baoding, China-based Great Wall is due by 2014’s second quarter, Murtaugh said. Great Wall, China’s biggest seller of sport-utility vehicles and pickups, doesn’t currently sell electric vehicles, Coda said.

Details of the initial model will be announced later, Murtaugh said.

The Coda Sedan costs $38,145, before a $7,500 tax credit. The small car averages 88 miles (142 kilometers) per charge, according to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimate. Nissan Motor Co.’s Leaf hatchback, the best-selling all-electric car in the U.S., has a $36,050 base price and averages 73 miles per charge.

The Sedan’s chassis is built in Harbin, China, through a partnership with Hafei Motor Co., with final assembly in Benicia, California. Lithium iron-phosphate cells for its 1,000-pound (454-kilogram) battery pack are from LIO Energy Systems, a joint venture of Coda and China’s Tianjin Lishen Battery Co.

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