Coda Seeks to Mark a Change in Energy Use

on September 24, 2012 at 11:30 AM

It might seem like a strange idea to launch a car company these days, especially in the challenged electric vehicle sector. But viewed from the perspective of evolving energy technology and shifting generation and energy use priorities, electric cars are in many ways just one facet of energy storage at a scale accessible to most consumers.

Coda, a California company that views itself as an advanced technology firm leveraging the lithium phosphate battery, is also an electric car company.

Soft-launched in March, the Coda vehicle is about to start full-scale production, with much of its manufacturing and assembly in Benicia, California. The vehicle is currently only available at four California dealerships, but Coda’s SVP of government relations and external affairs Forrest Beanum says that by the end of 2013 customers will find the car in 26 dealerships.

But Beanum admits that while the company feels plug-in vehicles are eventually going to make up a significant portion of the American vehicle fleet, forecasts are “all over the board about how long that’s going to take.” A sober estimate, and one that he says is sufficient to make Coda a successful car company, is a 3-5% share in the next three to five years.

In the meantime, the car is just one piece of a company that is also in the burgeoning business of energy storage. Both to meet uneven power demand on increasingly strained transmission infrastructure, and to ease the inclusion of renewable energy on the power grid, energy storage is becoming a major focus of the US power sector. Storage technology continues to improve and costs are steadily falling, even as states like California face enormous generation and transmission infrastructure upgrade bills.

Coda’s battery storage for utility-scale use was launched as a prototype roughly six months ago, and is a swiftly-growing part of the business.

To learn more about Coda’s technology and its products, click through the short slideshow below.