Electric car startup Fisker Automotive said Tuesday it has raised $65 million to develop and make its first car model, the Fisker Karma, a plug-in hybrid sports car.

The Irvine, Calif. company introduced the $80,000, four-door Karma during the North American International Auto Show in January, when other carmakers also showcased their hybrid electric vehicles (see Automakers Vie for Green Cred). Fisker plans to begin delivering it in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Fisker will rollout the Karma around the same time that major automakers will be preparing to release their own plug-in hybrids or all-electric cars.

General Motors' highly anticipated Chevy Volt is scheduled for release in late 2010. Nissan Motor plans to rollout all-electric cars by 2010, while Toyota is scheduled to release plug-in hybrid vehicles around the same time. Unlike Fisker, these carmakers are targeting the mass market. GM hopes to sell the Volt at under $30,000.

Fisker's Karma will have to contend with other automakers' luxury models, including those by fellow startup carmaker Tesla Motors. Tesla, based in San Carlos, Calif., began delivering its $100,000, all-electric Roadster this summer. It plans to introduce a $60,000 electric sedan, the Model S, in 2010 (see Tesla Hires Chrysler Vet).

Another luxury carmaker, Venturi in Monaco, now plans to start delivering its electric sports car, the Fetish, in June 2009. The Fetish would cost a mere €450,000 ($639,280) (see More Speed Bumps for Electric Cars?).

In May, Fisker said Valmet Automotive would manufacture the Karma. The Finnish manufacturer also has produced luxury models such as the Porche Boxster. Fisker plans to roll out 15,000 Karmas per year.

The Karma, which has an electric range of 50 miles, can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in less than six seconds, and has a top speed of 125 miles per hour, the company said.

An affiliate of Qatar Investment Authority led the C round funding, which also came from Palo Alto Investors and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Fisker previously had raised $25 million, reported CNET.