Electric car startup Coda has announced the pricing for its all-electric sedan, and it’s a big pill to swallow: $44,900, or $37,400 if you factor in a $7,500 tax incentive.

The price tag is almost $4,000 more than the partially-electric Chevrolet Volt, and over $12,000 more than the all-electric Nissan Leaf. All three cars hit the market this December, and Coda’s high pricing is leaving plenty of questions about how this relatively unknown startup can stand to compete against big names like Nissan and GM.

It’s all about quality and dependability, Coda says. If you plunk down the $499 to reserve one of Coda’s four-door, five-passenger sedans, you will, in theory, be getting better driving range than the Nissan Leaf. The Coda can get 90 to 120 miles of driving range per charge , and has a thermal management system that protects the battery’s performance from fluctuations in range due to changes in weather –extreme heat or cold can decrease range.

The Leaf’s battery gets 100 miles per charge, but real-world usage could be less — the Leaf’s battery system has been well-criticized for lacking thermal management by auto industry critics as well as by the folks at Ford, Tesla and Coda.

Besides the Coda sedan’s supposed longer range, it’s other selling point is apparently the ability to recharge quickly — 40 miles of driving in as little as two hours of charge time. The Leaf has a $700 option to fast-charge the battery to 80 percent capacity in 30 minutes, though, so it’s hard to see how this is a significant advantage.

Coda says it hopes to sell 14,000 sedans in the next year. By comparison, Nissan Leaf reservations cost $99 and the company has seen nearly 19,000 sign-ups already, though it will only release 200 cars in its initial, five-state run this year.

A couple of other interesting notes about the company: The company is after a Department of Energy loan to build a new factory in Ohio, and is in the process of raising an additional $125 million. And earlier this month, Coda announced it will be launching in Hawaii next year, where short driving distances and the high cost of importing gas to the islands are boosting prospects for electric transportation.


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