CODA vs. Ford Focus Electric vs. LEAF: Part I

coda-focus-leaf2 This is the first in a series of three entries focused on the pros and cons of three electric vehicles we are considering buying, the CODA Automotive Sedan EV, the Ford Focus Electric, & the Nissan LEAF.

editors-blog-entry3While some of you are probably 100 percent certain which of the new plug-in vehicles you’re going to buy, I’m still not sure which one we’re going to get when electric cars finally arrive here in Colorado, most likely in about a year.

We do have $99 down on a Nissan LEAF, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to buy one (sorry Nissan). The other two plug-ins we have our eye on right now are the CODA Automotive Sedan EV and the Ford Focus Electric.

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Of course, we’d really love a Tesla Model S – which, so far, is the most popular of the plug-ins among our readers (see poll to the right). But, at about $50,000 after a $7,500 tax credit, it’s too expensive for us. We’ll have to get our S Model thrills with my brother, who put down $5,000 to reserve a “S” this past spring.

Pure EV first for us
We’re focused on pure electrics right now. That’s because I really want to be powering our first plug-in 100 percent with the sunshine generated electricity our new 5.59 kW home solar system pumps out.

Unless battery technology really leaps in the next four years or so, our second plug-in will be a PHEV, which mixes pure battery electric driving with gasoline driving. Because we rarely drive more than 40 miles in a day (the top battery-powered only range for the Chevy Volt), this will allow the vast majority of miles in both of our future plug-ins to be what we at SolarChargedDriving.Com call Sun Miles™, or solar-powered miles driven by an electric vehicle (EV) or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) whose batteries have been charged using solar energy.

It’s worth noting here that our future one pure EV + one PHEV combo shows that range anxiety will be a complete non-issue for many of the tens of millions of people in a two-car household

coda-logo2CODA will soon be available
Below is the first entry in a series of pro/con pieces on three plug-in vehicles, the CODA Automotive Sedan EV, the Ford Focus Electric, and the Nissan LEAF – which also happen to be the three EVs we’re considering. We start with CODA Automotive’s Sedan EV. Next up will be the Ford Focus Electric. We’ll close our series on the pros and cons of these three pure EVs by looking at the Nissan LEAF.

The CODA will be available in select U.S. markets by the end of 2010 and will be available country-wide in 2011. Right now, the pre-tax sticker price is $45,000, at least according to various sources on the internet, including Plug In America’s Vehicle Tracker. Of course, as far as I know, CODA has not made an official announcement on the price of its Sedan EV, so the price might be lower – which would obviously help CODA sell more of its vehicles.

It would be great to hear from others out there on your plug-in vehicle short list and what you consider to be the pros and cons of each of the plug-in vehicles on your list. That way, we can learn from each other.

Here’s our take on the CODA–>

codaCODA Automotive Sedan EV


  • The CODA’s design. The CODA doesn’t look like a funky, way-out there electric car. For me, with conservative design tastes which make the Acura TSX one of my favorite gasoline cars, the traditional look is a real plus.
  • CODA’s cutting edge marketing approach. CODA directly links its car to renewable energy (along with national fueling independence, individual fueling independence, etc.) on its web site. For a hard-core greenie like me, that’s a big plus.
  • A 6.6kW onboard charger. This means faster charging. In contrast, the first-generation Nissan LEAF’s will be outfitted with a 3.3 kW onboard charger.
  • A sophisticated battery temperature control system. The CODA will regulate its battery temperature via a liquid system. I’m no EV expert, but from what I can gather from the chatter I see on the Internet by people who know way more than I do about EVs, this type of system is crucial to extending battery life.
  • A longer range than the LEAF or Focus. CODA says its car will consistently go between 100 and 120 miles on a single charge. If that’s true – and I’m inclined to believe CODA – that’s about 20 to 40 miles further than what the range for the LEAF and Focus promises to be. Both are being advertised as having a top range of 100 miles. However, their true range on a windy, 15-degree Colorado day will probably be more like 70 or 80 miles.
  • CODA’s a small start-up. Some might see this as a con, I see it as a plus. I’m a support-the-little-guy/underdog type of person, and CODA’s clearly a little guy and an underdog in what is shaping up to be a giant field of big-time plug-in players.


  • The CODA’s sticker price. $45,000 is the pre-Federal tax credit price I’ve seen on the CODA. That means about $37,000 post tax credit. That’s a lot of money. More than we can afford to spend. And it’s the primary reason we most likely won’t be buying a CODA which, given a post tax credit sticker price in the upper twenty-thousands, would be our first choice.
  • CODA’s a small start-up. I know — I listed this as a pro above. Paradoxically, it’s also a con. While I like the small guy and I pull for him or her pretty much every single time, the small guy is also usually the new guy – and he doesn’t have the track record the older, more established guys have.

Next in series comparing CODA Sedan EV, Ford Focus Electric & Nissan LEAF–>
The Ford Focus Electric

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