2009 Fisker KarmaEnlarge Photo
Fisker's Karma plug-in hybrid electric sports sedan recently made its public driving debut on the curves and hills of Laguna Seca, and now the company has secured over half a billion in U.S. Department of Energy funding to build plug-in hybrids right here in the U.S.
The $528 million in loans secured today will go to the construction of Project NINA, which Fisker says will "see the design, engineering and assembly of Fisker Automotive's next-generation plug-in hybrids." The next-gen car will be an as-yet unnamed car targeting a $39,900 price tag, or about half of the expected $87,900 price of the Karma. Fisker confirmed the third, low-cost model was under development back in May.
The decision to build the new model in the U.S. is a change from the Karma's construction, which will be handled by Valmet in Finland, though the wording of Fisker's press release leaves the door open for manufacturing of components to be done outside the U.S. with only final assembly taking place in North America.
Powered by a 22.6 kilowatt-hour battery pack, a 2.0-liter turbocharged GM Ecotec generator engine and 408 horsepower from two electric motors, the Fisker Karma is the most luxury- and performance-oriented plug-in hybrid sedan drawing near to production, though Mercedes-Benz's recently-announced S500 plug-in hybrid concept will give it a run for its money if it sees production. Recent testing by the SAE--by no means official or equivalent to EPA testing--found the Karma capable of a 67 mpg combined rating.
To hear Henrik Fisker, CEO and founder of the company, talk about the loan, the company's leadership in the segment and see the car on-track at Laguna Seca, check out the video below.