Fisker Automotive, which wants to bring a luxury plug-in hybrid out later this year, has raised $115 million more in funds.
The $115 million is necessary to secure a $528.7 million dollar loan from the U.S. Department of Energy. (More details on the loan here.) Investors include A123 Systems, which contributed $23 million and will supply batteries to Fisker, Kleiner Perkins and Ace Investments. Fisker has not disclosed how much it has raised in total. But the company is likely approaching the ka-jillion range.
The Fisker Karma is an $87,900 plug-in hybrid (the convertible costs more) that is expected in the third quarter. It was originally due at the end of 2009, but welcome to the electric car market where delays are common. It will then follow with the Nina, a sedan at just under $40,000, in 2012. These are the prices before any government rebates. In the U.S. consumers get a $7,500 tax credit from the government. In Denmark, Finland and a few other countries, electric car buyers don't have to pay the expensive taxes and registration costs that governments apply to gas cars. As a result, electrics can be a bargain.
A waiting list of around 1,400 already exists for the Karma.
In the next two years, a raft of electric cars will come to market. Right now, only Tesla Motors and Reva are making street legal, full-speed electric cars. (Steve Jurvetson of Draper Fisher Jurveston told me yesterday that Reva has actually now sold more cars than Tesla--but they cost a fraction of the price and don't go nearly as fast. He's an investor in both Tesla and Reva.). But later this year, expect to see the Nissan Leaf and General Motors Volt in the economy segment hit the market. Further down the road, Audi and Daimler will release luxury electrics.
Fisker will likely be greeted with a wave of enthusiasm. Nearly every car journalist I speak to is very excited about it. Hendrik Fisker is a noted car designer who has worked with, among others, Aston Martin. (Some of the same journalists, when asked about Tesla, say "it's a California thing.") But of course the Tesla Roadster is on the road already and in high demand. So it should be an interesting horse race. Tesla is all-electric and Fisker makes plug-in hybrids. As a result, the Karma uses gas, but it can live with a smaller battery.