Coda Automotive Raising Money to Finish Electric Car

Coda Automotive, an electric vehicle developer in Santa Monica, Calif., with a battery joint venture in Tianjin, China, is seeking fresh capital to complete work on its first model, the electric Coda Sedan. Christopher Rose, the company’s senior vice president for corporate development, said on the sidelines of the Berkeley-Stanford Cleantech Conference in San Francisco last weekend that the $50 million investment the company was seeking would be used “to finish the car.”

In early January, regulatory filings showed Coda had raised $76 million of a planned $125 million round, bringing the company’s total investment to more than $200 million. At the time, the company said the financing would go toward 2011 sales and marketing efforts, as well as preparations “for start of production” and additional equity investment in the lithium-ion battery plant Coda has set up with its joint venture partner Lishen Power Battery in Tianjin.
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In Surprise Move, Coda’s Chief Executive Resigns

In a move that surprised many observers of the electric-car industry, Coda Automotive announced Friday that its chief executive, Kevin Czinger, had resigned. The move comes shortly before the public debut of Coda’s electric sedan. According to Coda, Mr. Czinger will be replaced by its board co-chairman, Steven Heller, on an interim basis, pending a search for a chief executive with “deep manufacturing, marketing and sales strengths.”

Mr. Czinger and Mr. Heller are both former Goldman Sachs executives, where Mr. Heller was head of worldwide mergers and acquisitions. That experience undoubtedly helped Coda raise money, especially in its early financing rounds — Henry M. Paulson Jr., the former Treasury secretary and Goldman Sachs chief executive, became an investor — but it may be less applicable to helping a little-known company introduce a new automobile in a crowded market.
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CODA Automotive Taps Fleet Industry Experts to Lead Fleet and Commercial Sales

CODA Automotive, a California-based electric car and battery company, announced the hire of Marc Sears, Vice President, Fleet Sales Washington D.C. and Brian Patnoe, Vice President, Fleet Sales Southern California.  In their new roles, Sears and Patnoe are responsible for marketing the 100% electric CODA Sedan to fleet customers, including government, municipal, corporate, and institutions.

“As fleet managers look for ways to reduce their organization’s carbon footprint and reduce total ownership costs, the all-electric CODA Sedan provides a compelling choice offering emissions-free transportation, available telematics and data collection technology, as well as ample space to meet various fleet needs,” said Kevin Czinger, President and CEO, CODA Automotive.  “The wealth of expertise and extensive network both Brian and Marc bring will help CODA make significant inroads in the vital fleet market.”
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Coda Makes Plans for Battery Plant in Ohio, Pending Federal Loan Approval

Coda Automotive, a California-based electric car company with plans to introduce a sedan late this year, said Tuesday it would build a lithium-ion battery plant in Ohio if it could gain approval of an as-yet unsubmitted Energy Department loan. That’s a big if.

Coda, which last year ended a similar bid for a battery plant in Connecticut after $38 million in federal funding fell through, may have a better chance this time. Last weekend, the Commerce secretary, Gary Locke, toured Coda’s joint-venture battery plant in Tianjin, China, commenting, “International green technology partnerships can produce rapid job growth back home and deliver energy solutions abroad, and Coda’s venture proves it.” Coda has also recently closed on a $58 million funding round, signaling some financial stability. But there are many contenders for the Energy Department loan money.
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