"Coda did a good job developing the car ... but when they got to the starting line, it died." – Richard Curtis
Let's get this out of the way right up front: the "new" Mullen 700e
is not a whole lot different than the long-expired Coda Sedan, the all-electric version it's based on. Actually, "based on" is too generous. The 700e you see above is really just the Coda EV with different badges. When the 700e goes on sale, it will have some
updates from the original Coda, notably in the battery, but if you didn't like the Coda before, you probably won't like the 700e now.
That doesn't bother Richard Curtis Jr., the consolidated president of Mullen Technologies. Previously a Coda dealer in California (he also sold Nissan Leaf
and Chevy Volt
plug-in vehicles), Curtis said that when the Coda Sedan was available it sold well. "Coda did a good job developing the car," he said. "[They spent] $400 million, it's a nice car, it worked well but when they got to the starting line, it died
." Curtis said he still gets multiple emails or calls every day from people asking if they can buy a Coda.
Which brings us to the Mullen 700e that's on display at the Los Angeles Auto Show
this week. Curtis and some partners bought the assets
from Coda Automotive
for an undisclosed amount (it was "a bargain," Curtis said) a while back and has since sold about 50 of the leftover cars. Coda Cars
had interest from potential manufacturing partners in Turkey (cancelled because of the Syria situation) and China (also cancelled) before it was sold to Mullen about three months ago. That's why Coda Cars is now a Mullen Technologies company, and why the EV bears the Mullen 700e badge.
Mullen and Lishen are working on a 200-mile, 50-kWh pack.
The two vehicles on display here in LA are still basically Coda vehicles, but Curtis told AutoblogGreen
that once the decision to restart production has been made, new vehicles could be rolling off the line in 90 days from the former Coda plant
in Harbin, China. Looking forward, Curtis says that US production could happen as the volume goes up. "We've talked to a few different states about building in their states and maybe giving us an incentive," he said, naming Michigan and Nevada.
Those new cars will have bigger batteries, still made by Lishen. While the original cars has a 31-kWh battery pack, the 700e will have a 40-kWh pack and Mullen and Lishen are working on a 50-kWh pack. Other difference include 16-inch low rolling resistance tires (instead of 17-inch low profile tires) and undercladding on the back end. Those changes turn the original 125-mile car into a 150-mile car, Curtis said, and with the new 40-kWh pack, it's over 180 miles. With the 50 kWh, that jumps to over 200 miles. Curtis also said that he was going to look at revised design sketches for the new vehicle during the show and that, "When we finally go into production, we'll have a new front and back."
Curtis said that Mullen still has 85 old cars that are just waiting on new battery packs. When they go on sale, the price tag will look a lot like the Coda's, too. "We're going to try to price it at what the original car was priced at," Curtis said. For the record, that vehicle started at $44,900
before the MSRP was dropped to $39,900