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by Tim Beissmann

The California-based assembler of the Chinese-made Coda electric car has filed bankruptcy.

Coda Holdings, Inc. filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with the District of Delaware overnight, which is intended to enable the company to find a new buyer and develop a new business plan for the restructured entity.

Coda Holdings CEO Phil Murtaugh confirmed the company plans to walk away from the automotive sector and focus its efforts on the energy storage market.

“After concluding a comprehensive review of our strategic options, the board of directors, management team and senior lending group have concluded that focusing on the company’s energy storage business presents the best opportunity moving forward,” Murtaugh said.

“We believe the restructuring process that we have entered into today will enable the company to complete a sale and confirm a plan that maximises the value of its assets, serving the best interests of our stakeholders.”

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Just a few years ago, Coda was part of an emerging group of electric vehicle start-ups in the US, including Tesla Motors and Fisker Automotive, with the goal of making emission-free motoring accessible to the masses.

Launching in March 2012, Coda’s five-seat sedan had a maximum driving range of 200km.

Priced from US$37,250 ($36,200), the EV was criticised for its dated styling, and was also wrapped up in an airbag recall. Just 100 were sold exclusively in California over the car’s 13-month life.

Coda originally raised US$300 million ($291m) in equity when the market’s enthusiasm for EVs was high, although managed to raise just US$22 million ($21m) of a planned US$150 million ($146m) in a grab for private funding last year.

The company initially asked for a US$334 million ($325m) federal loan, although later withdrew that request.

Coda diversified its business in 2011 to form Coda Energy, which designs and builds scalable, custom energy storage solutions for generation, distribution and behind-the-meter applications for commercial, residential and industrial end-users.




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