Fisker To Ship 100 Hybrid Electric Cars This Year
Fisker Automotive will be shipping between 70 and 100 cars before the end of 2010 as part of a large scale test of their Karma model hybrid electric car according to Ray Lane a managing partner in the U.S. venture capital fund Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, who are large shareholders in the still relatively new car company. The cars will be produced by Valmet Automotive in Finland, Valmet is contracted to build the Karma and will begin mass production in February 2011 by which time Fisker is hoping to be building and selling approximately 15,000 cars per year.
Fiskers main rival is Tesla Motors, although the companies are taking slightly different routes to market with Fisker using plug-in hybrid technology and Tesla using 100% battery power. This differing strategy will give Fisker a slight advantage on range with the base version of the Karma sedan reaching 300 miles (combined hybrid) range, the Tesla Model S base model is said to have a 160 mile range although it is important to note that you can upgrade the Tesla’s battery pack to a 160, 230 or 300 mile range depending on your budget.
The Karma 4-door sedan will be Fisker’s first model with a number of new models due by 2012, currently referred to as “Project Nina” these 3 cars will be more affordable than the $87,900 USD asking price of the Karma but will also be a step down in the luxury stakes. The most affordable Project Nina car will reportedly be $39,900 after US tax credits. The US Department of Energy awarded Fisker a half billion dollar loan in late 2009 aimed at encouraging the less expensive Project Nina cars and bringing them to market, the cars will also feature a minimum of 65% US made parts. Fisker will be using battery systems developed by A123 Systems (NASDAQ:AONE) who will also be supplying batteries to GM, Daimler AG, BMW and GE.
The order books for the Fisker Karma are already 1,600 names long it might be a little while before you can walk into a showroom and buy one although if Fisker manage to come within 50% of their production target for 2011 it isn’t hard to imagine that Karma sedans will become a common sight on the streets of California.