Hertz, the car rental giant, said that it will rent all-electric cars from Coda Automotive when the cars become available.
Hertz didn't say how many cars it would buy from Coda, nor did the company say how many locations in Southern California will offer the car. Hertz will also work with other car makers to offer electrics and other eco-friendly vehicles. It plans to have a nationwide electric vehicle program and the Coda vehicles will be deployed in California. (The picture shows the base of the car and the battery pack.)
But it's still a nice feather in the cap. Hertz, after all, is the "Superstar in Rental Cars," according to Heisman Trophy Winner and current felon O.J. Simpson.
Coda is in a bit of a pinch these days. Earlier this month, CEO Kevin Czinger abruptly resigned, and the company announced its cars' initial release date would be delayed from December 2010 to the third quarter of next year.
The company, which has raised $125 million, is also raising another round in the $60 million to $125 million range.
To top it off, Coda's car isn't cheap. It will sell for $45,000 before incentives. The Nissan Leaf will sell for almost $33,000 and Mitsubishi announced it will sell its all-electric vehicle in the U.S. beginning in the fall of 2011 for $30,000.
Coda doesn't have nearly the bank account, brand recognition or dealer base of Nissan, General Motors or Mitsubishi. Still, it's not giving up, and the company says it will have features that the others can't tout.
“We have a bigger battery than the Leaf,” said interim CEO Steve Heller during a chat with reporters at the Coda booth at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Coda’s sedan has a 33.8-kilowatt-hour battery. The Leaf has a 24-kilowatt-hour battery. That will translate to better performance and a longer driving range.
Coda has also included an active thermal management system to make the car work better in extreme climates.