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Ohio to Get New Plant for Manufacturing Electric Car Batteries for Coda Automotive

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On: Wed, May 26, 2010 at 4:46PM | By: Michael Jon Lazar

Ohio to Get New Plant for Manufacturing Electric Car Batteries for Coda Automotive

There is some good news for all of you hybrid-loving and ‘green’-going folks out there who have always thought that a really good electric car could be made in the US and not be as plagued with issues as some electric cars are. Coda Automotive, which is a newer electric car company based in California, has announced they will team up with some of the Chinese suppliers they use to make their revolutionary new Coda sedan, slated for a 2011 release. They are using a newer form of automotive-grade lithium-ion batteries that are supposed to offer a similar mile-per-gallon/mile-per-charge ratio as gas-powered cars do. Looking at their website (http://www.codaautomotive.com), the company states the car will get about 90-120 miles per charge, with a six-hour charging period required.

According to a report published by the Wall Street Journal, “Coda, which announced the move Tuesday, will final-assemble the electric car at a facility in the greater Los Angeles area with component modules produced in China. It will initially make the car available only in California, where it is targeting sales of 14,000 electric sedans by the end of 2011.”

But the fledgling automaker has been searching for a place to hunker down and really make these lithium-ion batteries in a more permanent setting in the US. This is because they are so costly to import from overseas. The same article sheds more light on why Coda is looking for a US-based lithium-ion batteries manufacturing plant.

“Initially, Coda plans to bring in batteries from Tianjin, China, where Coda recently opened a battery plant it jointly owns and runs with Tianjin Lishen Battery Joint-Stock Co. That plant has capacity to produce more than 20,000 battery packs a year, but because electric-car-grade, lithium-ion batteries are heavy and expensive to ship across the Pacific, Coda has been searching for a production site in the U.S.”

According to the Chief Executive of Coda, Kevin Czinger, in an interview in Tianjin, the incentives to work with Chinese battery makers is easily defined because there are not that many domestic options that are viable. It has been difficult finding a company able to produce the quantity that Coda needs. The company ultimately wants to produce around 20,000 of these electric batteries per year. Coda's original decision regarding Chinese suppliers was a direct result of the inability to find an American company capable of supply so many specialized batteries.

Czinger explains in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that “There were no U.S. suppliers of (large, vehicle-grade) battery systems, period. We found, luckily, a great partner that was very open-minded and said let's work together on your technology.”

The company has announced that they are looking to open a new plant in Ohio over the next few years. They plan to import the basic modules of the batteries, and then have them assembled at the Ohio-based plant. Good news for Ohio, because, according to Coda, this will bring about 1,000 jobs for workers to the state right away. It should also bring more jobs over the years to come, as the car company expands its fleet and operations.

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