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Electric car woes continue: Coda lays off 15% of staff

Posting in Energy

California-based Coda Automotive has cut its staff by 15 percent, a move that follows layoffs at Better Place, Fisker Automotive and the bankruptcy of electric battery maker A123 Systems.

Coda, which makes an all-electric sedan, has laid off more than 50 employees, including a significant portion of its sales and market staff, reported Plugincars.com.

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. An anonymous source told Plugincars.com the company sold fewer than 100 units of its all-electric sedan since it went on sale in March 2012.

Coda is hardly alone in its struggles to find a market for its electric vehicles. Other companies, notably Israel-based electric car infrastructure company Better Place and Fisker Automotive have had problems in recent months. And then there's A123 Systems, the U.S.-based electric battery manufacturer that filed for bankruptcy in October and was auctioned off this week to Chinese auto parts maker Wanxiang Group.

Consumer interest in the electric car has been on the decline since 2010 when plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) first launched commercially, according to a Pike Research survey released in November. The survey shows only 35 percent of respondents are "extremely" or "very interested" in purchasing a plug-in hybrid EV or battery electric vehicle.

There is one notable exception. Tesla Motors, the maker of the all-electric Tesla Model S, had a "narrow" positive cash flow, according to CEO Elon Musk who tweeted the news earlier this month. Mush said he expects continued improvement through year end.

Photo: Coda Automotive

— By on December 12, 2012, 5:11 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