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Coda aims to sell 50,000 electric cars by 2015

Automaker plans to start out selling to fleets to "get a feel of how we are doing," the CEO says, before selling to consumers. "Our plan is to go slowly," he says.

Electric car start-up Coda Automotive aims to sell 50,000 vehicles by 2015, mostly in the United States, chief executive Phil Murtaugh told reporters today.

Coda, like Tesla Motors and Fisker Automotive, is one of several new companies that are banking on mass-market adoption of electric vehicles. Major automakers including Nissan Motor and General Motors are also racing to launch electric cars.

Coda Automotive electric sedan
Coda's electric sedan. Coda Automotive

Coda is making its first vehicle, the Coda EV, in China in partnership with Hafei, which is controlled by state-owned China Changan Auto, and is scheduled to begin selling it in the United States in the second half of this year.

It will be sold to fleet buyers in California initially and slowly expand into other states, Murtaugh told reporters in Beijing.

"Once we start selling to fleets and get a feel of how we are doing, we will start selling to consumers. Our plan is to go slowly," he said.

Coda has set a target to sell 10,000 to 14,000 units in the first 12 months after its launch.

The Santa Monica, Calif.-based company also has a battery joint venture with Lishen Battery Power.

The company had in January tapped Murtaugh, a former GM and Chrysler executive with extensive experience in China, as its new chief executive.