Fisker Automotive is to receive an additional US$85m in venture capital funding for the development and manufacturing of its Karma plug-in hybrid automobiles, the company has said.

The financing is expected to be completed this month and will be the fourth and largest investment round since the company's inception in August 2007.

New York-based Eco-Drive (Capital) Partners, a European-American investment consortium, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, an early investor in Fisker, have together agreed to provide the capital.

"We are proud to have Eco-Drive behind us, and to see Kleiner Perkins reaffirm its confidence in our future direction," said CEO Henrik Fisker.

"This investment is a strong endorsement of our business model and future product offerings in a challenging business environment."

Fisker Automotive's debut model, the 2010 Karma, is expected to be the first plug-in hybrid car to market when early production vehicles come off the assembly line late this year, the company said.

The car, planned to retail for $87,900 before tax credits, is designed to travel approximately 50 miles emission-free, powered by a lithium-ion battery that can be charged in a few hours from any 110- or 240-volt household outlet. After 50 miles, a two-litre petrol engine runs a generator that can power the car's electric motors for another 250 miles before refuelling.

The company recently announced a nationwide network of more than 30 dealers to sell and service the vehicles. Future plans include a lower cost model.