Ray Lane, whose venture capital firm is a major investor in Fisker automotive, let slip on Tuesday that Fisker is gearing up to announce a new, $39,000.00 plug-in hybrid vehicle sometime within the next two weeks. Lane, a former president of Oracle corporation, made his remarks at the AlwaysOn Going Green conference in Sausalito, Calif. on Tuesday.
Fisker has already developed its inaugural plug-in car, the Karma, which will be sold for $87,900, but like one-time business partner and current competitor Tesla Motors, appears to be implementing a top-down strategy of market penetration by moving on to another, cheaper model. Unlike Tesla however, Fisker will apparently be making it's second model a plug-in hybrid rather than a pure electric.
In March, Henrik Fisker, founder and CEO of the Irvine, Calif.-based company, had said that Fisker intended to refurbish a factory in the U.S. and develop a lower-cost plug-in hybrid car than its $87,900 Fisker Karma if DOE loans came through. He reportedly added “If we get the DOE loan we will start the project this year. . . It could be in the market in as little as 26 months from when we start.”
Fisker has raised $100 million since its founding in 2007, but needs much more to build an auto plant large enough to ramp up production and reduce per-unit cost so drastically. Does this rumored announcement mean that Fisker has received government financing to do just that? Competitor Tesla, which had been in a similar strategic position, received a $465 million DOE loan in June.