Behind The Birth Of CODA Energy

Posted on February 12th, 2012 by



CODA Energy’s Senior Vice President Ed Solar talks about CODA Energy, the reason for its birth and its competitive advantage against competitive battery manufacturers.


Full Transcript:

Ben Lack: CODA Automotive has been around long enough for people to know the industry that you got to know what you are doing; I am curious to know why the company decided to launch CODA Energy and what the initiative behind the new business is.
Ed Solar: It’s a great question and one that sure will be asked a lot over the next several weeks.CODA was founded several years ago, on the premise of answering the question how do we really contribute as a company or as an organization to establishing a greater energy independence and reduce our need for fossil fuels?  Really the company is built around creating and providing solutions that do that.We are most familiar with the electric vehicle, certainly, and that was our first real solution to the marketplace that would support our objective. Second, is clearly on energy storage. The third is an electric vehicle proportion system which we believe is another area that will help support our objectives. The company really has been founded on creating those solutions which again create greater energy independence and reduce our need for fossil fuels and help us live with a greener environment.
Ben Lack: Why establish an entirely new company instead of just adding your headcount and strategies under the automotive name?
Ed Solar: Well, we haven’t created a new company, per say, but we’ve added a business arm as CODA Holdings recognizes that the consumer market is different than the other two B-2-B markets we’re moving into, as we say.In automobiles it is mainly consumer based. The focus is on providing reliable, safe and clean automobiles to consumers. The second leg of our business, CODA Energy sells, markets and installs energy storage to different customers and requires a bit of a different focus.We all are trying to leverage common technology across the company. We leverage that in different ways through different efforts and expertise. So, it makes sense to divide it up into the three areas.
Ben Lack: What is the new company’s growth plan as we look towards the 2012 and beyond?
Ed Solar: I think, first and foremost, our charter is to have a business that really stands on its own and creates opportunity for CODA and CODA Energy. We are very encouraged with the initial feedback that we are getting in the industry and the response we are getting, I think that in the position that we are at right now certainly we look at great opportunities if they present themselves that provide complimentary technology and solutions to the market we are driving towards. I would say our past behavior has demonstrated that. A few months ago, we made an acquisition of a battery management solutions company that was extremely complimentary not only to the automotive side but also to the electric vehicle proportion side and energy storage. That serves as the example of how we believe that we can be opportunistic in acquiring great technology that makes sense to the company that supports again our goal for creating solutions that help us become more energy independent.
Ben Lack: Energy storage is one of those hot button issues right now with all the talk about renewable energy and trying to incorporate global energy into existing portfolios. M of your expertise is in the automotive sector? But energy storage obviously relates into buildings as well. Is your focus still going to be on the transportation sector or will this company also identify ways to generate revenue through approaching channels in the building industry?
Ed Solar: I think, first and foremost we have been acquiring holdings, energy storage being one of those businesses. About five (5) months ago, Phil Murtaugh and the CODA board hired me into this position as somebody with an energy background.We have created a team of energy professionals that understand the energy market and the energy business. What we are doing is leveraging common IP across the company;  hiring industry expertise to create products that make sense for the industry.  When you look at the commercial and industrial segment or renewable providers our solution is relevant and scalable.
Ben Lack: Is the company currently hiring, if so what types of positions are you looking for?
Ed Solar: Yes, the company CODA in general is hiring. We were recognized most recently by Governor Brown, the Mayor of Los Angeles, city council for really being one of the fastest growing companies in Los Angeles. CODA as a whole is hiring and CODA Energy is certainly hiring across the board. We staff our engineering department ourselves and we continue to hire people and specifically engineers for that group. We are hiring operations people and are looking to expand our energy marketing teams as well.
Ben Lack: What is the competitive advantage that the CODA Energy has against competing battery manufacturers?
Ed Solar: CODA’s performance and engineering of our current lithium ion phosphate modules has been leveraged already and is a fairly sophisticated platform, which is the automobile. Looking at how we have optimized that battery technology in that platform really gives us, I believe, a competitive advantage in moving across industries – energy being one of them.The subject matter expertise with the folks and technology that we have acquired and developed; combined with the intellectual property that we owned is a fairly special recipe for creating reliable, quality and dependable products for the industry.
Ben Lack: Will you be leveraging this competitive advantage to a tech market outside of the US or is your initial focus to gain market shares solely in the United States?
Ed Solar: I think we are always looking at the markets globally, recognizing that to be a very good global company you have to be a really good US company first. I think we are going to be focused like a laser on the US market. We are going to look to leverage technology globally with strategic partnerships.
Ben Lack: Why are you in this business and why are you personally doing what you are doing?
Ed Solar: First, I have been working with and around utilities for most of my professional career, I think that when you have a solution that provides value and creates opportunity for your customer whether it be in the utility sector or manufacturing sector or process sector it becomes very exciting. Having an opportunity to create a company that could change and sustain a leadership position in this industry is exciting.Not withstanding the fact that what we do whether you are putting up a wind form or solar form or creating storage applications for utilities or commercial, industrial or consumers it is really important work. It is really important that we get it right for the environment in support of where we really want to go in reducing our carbon footprint and reducing our dependence on foreign energy sources.
Ben Lack: Before we let you go, is there anything else you would like to share with our audience?
Ed Solar: Other than I’m excited to be part of the CODA team, excited to be watching CODA Energy, I believe that one of the exciting parts of this business is we have only really scratched the surface of the applications we can really target. It is exciting; I look forward to spending more time with customers and learning about their needs and moving CODA forward.

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