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Coda's 'everyday electric car' coming to California

Coda Automotive's simple electric sedan will be priced in the range of $35,000 after rebates and have a range of up to 130 miles in city driving.

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif.--The Coda sedan will only impress your friends once they realize it's electric.

The sedan, due to start shipping in California in the fourth quarter, is designed to be simple and useful rather than flashy. But functionally, the car will meet the needs of many people and be priced in the "low to mid 30s," or somewhere in the range of $35,000 after federal and state credits and rebates, according to Kevin Czinger, CEO of Coda Automotive.

"The coolness of this car is that it's anti-cool," Czinger said after showing off an early version of the car at the Fortune Brainstorm Green conference here Tuesday. "It's a real car--you'd forget that it's all-electric."

The heart of the car's technology is its battery system, built around a 34 kilowatt-hour battery pack that can give drivers a range of between 90 miles and 130 miles depending on driving styles, Czinger said.

For many people, that's sufficient range for daily tasks, such as commuting and errands, and similar to the range of the forthcoming Nissan Leaf and electric Ford Focus.

The company will start taking orders for the four-person, four-door car in the summer and has established a partnership with Sears to have technicians install a 240-volt, 30-amp outlet at people's homes to charge the vehicle. Within two hours, the charging system can give 40 miles to 50 miles of range, Czinger said.

Czinger expects to sell about 14,000 cars in the first year of production. After the car's initial release in California, the company hopes to expand distribution to northwestern states in 2012.

The Coda is made of combination of components sourced from China and U.S., with about 40 percent of the materials coming from the U.S., Czinger said. The company's goal is to manufacture the majority of the components in the U.S., he said.

While other cars have elaborate systems for managing charging, the interior of the Coda is simple, even sparse. Czinger said that the on-board charging system will let consumers manage when to charge and that it could tie into home energy management software like Microsoft Hohm, which Ford is using for its electric vehicles.

Updated at 7:00 a.m. PT with corrected name of Ford vehicle.