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September 16, 2009

US: Karma maker plans cheaper hybrid too

Fisker Automotive, currently working on launching a US$88,000 luxury petrol-electric hybrid car to be built by Valmet in Finland is also planning a $39,000 model likely to be built in the US.

Fisker Automotive, currently working on launching a US$88,000 luxury petrol-electric hybrid car to be built by Valmet in Finland, is also planning a $39,000 model likely to be built in the US.

The privately held start-up would likely refurbish a factory in the United States to build the vehicle and is aiming to produce 100,000 of the lower-cost plug-in hybrids, Ray Lane, managing partner of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and a major Fisker investor, told Reuters.

“At $39,000 (per car) you can up get there pretty fast,” Lane said, referring to the 100K output target.

Lane said the company would make money on the lower cost cars, which would be equipped with batteries that cost around $12,000 to $15,000.

“We are not going to announce and introduce to the market to lose money,” he said.

Lane also said the company, which is planning to show the new vehicle soon, is currently raising another round of financing.

The Karma launch model will have a 50-mile battery range and a total of 300 when its petrol engine starts to drive a generator to charge the lithium-ion batteries. It should achieve up to 100 miles per gallon for those who commute less than 50 miles a day, according to Fisker’s website.

Lane divulged the new lower cost car would seat four and might be produced in a retooled US car factory.

“Fisker will probably manufacture on the east coast”, he said.

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