Launching a vehicle on the mass market doesn’t come cheap. As legacy players like General Motors work to resolve their own funding issues, startups are racing to finance production of fuel efficient and plug-in vehicles that just might gain a foothold among mainstream consumers before the incumbents have a chance to reinvent themselves. Many green car startups in the U.S. are on the hunt for government aid — Department of Energy programs are flush with stimulus funds at a time when venture capital plays have taken a nosedive — but one of the latest ventures to come out of the woodwork, Santa Monica, Calif.-based Coda Automotive, is also trying its hand with private investors.
Coda, which aims to start selling a $45,000 electric sedan in California next year and eventually expand nationally, launched earlier this month as a spinoff from the low-speed electric vehicle maker Miles EV. At the time, Coda CEO Kevin Czinger said that the company had requested funds from the DOE along with its China-based battery partner, Lishen (one of the world’s largest lithium-ion battery suppliers), and an unnamed U.S. company. Coda later named Connecticut-based Yardney as the partner, and announced that the partners are hoping to get $38.2 million for a lithium-ion battery plant.
In the meantime, there’s the challenge of rolling out the main product — the Coda Sedan — and Coda marketing director Kara Saltness confirmed with us today that the company is trying to raise Series C financing (reported by VentureWire). While the Industry Standard reported today that the new funds will be used to get the sedan in showrooms next fall, as planned, the company declined to comment further. Saltness said, “We are currently fundraising, but I cannot provide any details on those efforts at this time.” If Tesla Motors’ experience with the electric Roadster and its nascent battery pack business is any indication of how an auto startup evolves these days, then that main product will likely be the chief, if not the sole, source of meaningful revenue for some time to come.