California manufacturer CODA Holdings announced plans to work with Great Wall Motor Company Limited to produce electric vehicles in China. CODA intends to provide drive systems, batteries and other components to electrify existing Great Wall models. This partnership allows CODA Holdings to expand its reach beyond California while developing the CODA Sedan. Great Wall Motor Company Limited is interested in building on the success of internal combustion models by leveraging CODA’s EV technology. Consumers in China might benefit in the short term but the CODA/Great Wall collaboration should yield global results in the future.
The heart of each EV produced by CODA and Great Wall will be the former’s advanced propulsion system. Engineers at CODA combined a 36kWh lithium-phosphate battery pack with a 100kW electric motor to provide sufficient power for daily commutes. Early tests show that the CODA EV drive system achieves maximum range of 150 miles per charge. This system also features a 6.6kW EV charger that allows a full recharge within six hours. Drivers in need of a quick boost can recharge their batteries for 40-mile commutes in two hours. These estimates should vary a bit when paired with Great Wall models though CODA is already working on an improved second-generation drive system.
Great Wall Motor Company is angling for a major share of the EV market in Asia by working with CODA Holdings. This Baoding, China-based automaker represented the fastest growth rate as well as the biggest profit margin among Chinese automakers in the first half of 2011. Popular models like the Haval SUV, Voleex Sedan and Wingle Pickup added to 390,000 units sold in 2010, a 70% increase over 2009 sales. This burgeoning firm has already received European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA) for its passenger cars, an important step toward sales in the European Union. The addition of CODA EV components to popular Great Wall vehicles could shift the Chinese auto market in the next few years.
CODA Holdings is leveraging relationships past and present in China to challenge major automakers in the EV market. The CODA Sedan EV is slated for production at Hafei facilities in China by the end of 2011 with deliveries by early 2012. This initial run of 14,000 units is still critical to CODA though working with Great Wall provides breathing room in case of slow uptake. CODA could show the versatility necessary to succeed in the nascent EV battery market and push the competition in the automotive industry if these two projects come to fruition.