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Coda Automotive Clinches $25M for Electric Car

Coda Automotive, the Santa Monica, Calif.-based electric car startup that aims to launch a China-built sedan this year in California, has just raised $25 million from Aeris Capital (h/t Bloomberg). Coda, which spun out of low-speed electric vehicle maker Miles EV in June, has now raised a total of $74 million.

The new funds will support the Coda Sedan launch (still on track for late 2010, according to the company) as well as Coda’s joint venture with battery cell giant Lishen. “Specifically,” Coda marketing director Kara Saltness told us this morning, “the funding will be allocated to the final safety certification testing” of the car and also “to scale up production of our battery systems.” She said a final close of this Series C round will happen “within the next few months.”

Coda has attracted investment from some big names in recent months. Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who oversaw the government’s bailout negotiations with General Motors (s GM) and Chrysler last year, joined President Clinton’s Chief of Staff Thomas McLarty and other investors in a $24 million Series B round this summer. Aeris Capital, the latest to join the party, is an investment firm based in Switzerland.

The Coda sedan has been in the works for nearly two years now, under several names and just about as many price points. While Miles initially estimated the model would cost about $30,000, by this summer when Coda unveiled the sedan, the estimate had climbed to $45,000 (before tax rebates). Saltness told us this morning that Coda will set a final price within the next month or two, and the company is “confident” the sticker price when the sedan launches will actually be less than $45,000.

Coda plans to produce about 200 test vehicles by the end of the summer, Saltness said, and the company is still developing its plan for who will test the cars. “It may be a mix of fleets and consumers,” she said, or it could be fleet customers only, most likely in California. In 2010, Saltness said, Coda expects to produce a total of 1,600 vehicles (down from a previously announced sales target of about 2,700 vehicles) and the same number of battery systems at its new plant in Tianjin, China with Lishen. Next year, the company hopes to reach full-scale production capacity of 20,000 units per year.

Photo courtesy of Coda Automotive