Coda to Open Electric Car Store This Summer


Looks like creating an in-store experience is the way to go for electric car companies. Last week, I took a tour of Tesla Motor’s (s TSLA) new interactive store, which opened last weekend on Santana Row in San Jose, Calif. This week, electric car startup Coda Automotive is releasing images of its new store at Westfield Century City in Los Angeles, Calif., which it plans to open this summer (target month of July).

Similar to what George Blankenship, Tesla’s VP of Worldwide Sales and Customer Experience, told me in our interview about Tesla’s new store, Coda says in its blog post its store will largely be about education. “Driving and owning an electric car will be a first for most people over the next few years. We want to help people understand the differences between gas cars and electric cars and determine if a CODA makes sense for them,” writes Coda.

Coda says its new store will have four pieces:

  • The EV Bar: An interactive learning area.
  • The Technology Display: Which will feature displays of the CODA sedan tech.
  • A Test Drive Counter: Where customers can sign up for drives.
  • The Test Drive Center: Below the store in a parking garage, customers can do test drives of the car.

Now Coda just needs to deliver its inaugural all-electric car. Late last year, Coda pushed back the launch date of its car from the end of 2010 to the second half of 2011, and shortly after, brought in new CEO Phil Murtaugh, who previously launched GM’s Shanghai-based business. Coda has a joint venture with Chinese battery cell giant Lishen Battery Power, and Coda and Lishen have agreed to invest $100 million into the venture alongside a commitment for a $294 million line of credit from the Bank of Tianjin Joint-Stock Co. Murtaugh also said on a call with reporters that Coda will be selling the car in the Chinese market as well as the U.S.

Coda’s VP of Corporate Strategy and Business Development Chris Paulson will be speaking at our Green:Net event on Thursday (this Thursday!) in San Francisco. Today is your last chance to register for the event online!

Below, our video of Tesla’s new store:

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