When Kevin Czinger wanted to start building electric cars, he knew where to begin: China. His company, Los Angeles-based CODA Automotive, had a blueprint for an electric sedan with a 100-mile range. His engineers had designed a lithium-ion battery with electronic "brains" that maximized its range while keeping it as cool, and safe, as possible. If he could produce this battery on the cheap, an affordable electric car was within reach. But he had nowhere to build it.