Cars of L.A.: cheaper than a Tesla, rarer than a Fisker

Today on Cars of LA: Before Tesla’s Model 3, there was an ill-fated attempt at an affordable electric car: The Coda.

With a price of $37,250 before tax credits (which brought the price down to around $30k), The Coda was based on an existing Chinese car, the Hafei Saibao III compact sedan.


The 31 kWh Lithium Ion Iron Phosphate battery gave the little city car a range of about 88 miles, enough for commuting and grocery-getting.

I test drove one of these back when they were marketing them, and it felt and looked like a cheap little car. At around $30k after tax rebates, I found the car to be overpriced. $15k would have seemed more reasonable to me, and it seemes the market agreed because the company filed for bankruptcy in May 2013.


Only 117 cars were ever delivered - all in California- with the remaining cars and shells liquidated at a massive discount.


Fun fact: what does this little econo electric have in common with a Ferrari Testarossa? They were both designed by Pininfarina. True story, bro.

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