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City Welcomes Electric Car Company as a Solution to Smoggy Skies, But Will Its Cars Sell?

Photo of a CODA from the company's website
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An electric car company opened its global headquarters in Los Angeles this week at an event that included Governor Jerry Brown and Antonio Villaraigosa.The city lured CODA Automotive (as in: its electric engine will be the coda to gas guzzling) with $1.4 million in financial incentives. The company also liked the idea of making its home in a state that has a $2,500 rebate for electric vehicles, according to the Associated Press.

The independent company is beginning to make a big push to sell its first model, an all-electric sedan that the company says goes 150 miles per charge. At next week's Los Angeles International Auto Show the company will display the 2012 CODA sedan. In September, the company opened a storefront at Westfield Century City, next to a Swatch shop and Godiva. That location should probably clue you in to the fact that the car is kind of pricey — $44,900 (and $34,900 with rebates) — considering it looks like a knock-off Honda Civic.

Experts wonder if the untested independent company will have what it takes to compete against automotive giants. (Despite Villaraigosa's enthusiasm for electric cars in a smoggy city, not all of the companies he supports have been rousing successes.) The website Green Car Reports worried last year that the company was pushing back its first model too far and that there were other bad signs: a lack of enthusiasm from prospective buyers, management turnover and that high price point.

But now the company is making a big push to convince buyers to give their 2012 model a shot: the company has been offering test drives to the media (here and here) who took the car on a test-drive around town. They — like us — are curious to see whether this Los Angeles venture has the key to the ignition.