You have likely seen pictures and heard of the Karma, being developed by Fisker Automotive in California.  It's an exciting example of the plug-in electric hybrid vehicle's (PEHV) potential in the near future.  Last month, the U.S. Department of Energy announced that it would loan the company $528.7 million to aid the development of its upcoming passenger car models.

This is an obvious huge step for plug-in hybrids in America.  Karmas are expected in showrooms by the end of the year, according to the DOE.  Fisker plans to ramp up production until it reaches full capacity by 2015.

The loan is intended for the engineering and development of tooling required to produce Fisker's vehicles.  The company will work with the suppliers that will provide components for future models.  This loan will serve as a huge investment towards the introduction of several new models from the California based company.

Additionally, Fisker will use a portion of the loan money to purchase a manufacturing plant, once owned and operated by General Motors, in Delaware.  This facility will be overhauled to prepare for the eventual assembly of vehicles developed during Project NINA.  Fisker plans to begin production of this new line of PEHV's near the end of 2012.

Not only is this big news for the future of Fisker PHEV's, it will also create as many as 2,000 assembly jobs for Americans.  Since Fisker plans to develop a network of domestic suppliers, the number of new jobs could increase even more over time.

The styling and design philosophy of Fisker provide us with an encouraging look at the progress of hybrid technology.  It doesn't seem like such a long time ago that the Karma concept was introduced.  Expect to see it become a reality very soon, followed by more Fisker PHEV's over the next few years!

[U.S. Department of Energy]