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Electric car startup Coda files for bankruptcy

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Coda Holdings has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and announced it will restructure its business around energy storage, not electric cars.

The voluntary petition was filed Wednesday in the District of Delaware. The move is intended to help it complete a sale and emerge from bankruptcy in a "stronger position to execute its new business plan," Coda said in a statement. Coda says it expects the sale process to take 45 days to complete.

An affiliate of Fortress Investment Group will provide the financing to keep the energy storage business operating. Fortress also will act as the stalking horse bidder in the sale process, Coda said.

Last year, Coda launched a new business division to sell a modified version of its car batteries as custom energy storage systems to support the power grid.

Coda said at the time it would use the lithium-ion batteries developed for electric vehicles by its parent company and couple it with a storage management system. The batteries are modular and are designed to be stacked vertically into a tower to suit a variety of energy storage needs.

Coda said in its bankruptcy announcement that it is currently shipping its energy storage products and has a "robust pipeline of new customers and existing installations in the field."

Meanwhile, Coda's electric car business has struggled since its inception. After repeated delays, the company finally shipped its first vehicles last spring. In December, the company cuts its staff by 15 percent, following layoffs at other EV businesses including Better Place and Fisker Automotive.

The company’s problems stem from sluggish sales, which came to a stand still after the car was recalled for faulty safety equipment by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

Photo: Coda Automotive

— By on May 1, 2013, 3:45 AM PST

Kirsten Korosec

Contributing Editor

Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure