Fisker Automotive may still be waiting for final certification from the EPA and other regulatory bodies for its 2012 Karma plug-in hybrid sports sedan, but that's not stopping it from moving forward with its next car line.

The startup automaker announced today that it would source the range-extending engines for its 'Project Nina' premium midsize range from BMW.

It will be a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, Fisker said, meaning that it's likely to be one of BMW's smallest fours, perhaps with a displacement of 1.6 liters.

“The BMW engine was an obvious choice for us, as BMW is known for producing the best and most fuel efficient gasoline engines in the world," said founder Henrik Fisker in a statement. "We are very pleased to have signed this agreement with BMW."

The 2012 Fisker Karma uses a 2.0-liter direct-injected and turbocharged engine sourced from General Motors. That engine does not drive the wheels mechanically; its sole purpose is to turn a generator that flows electricity to the electric drive motors that power the rear wheels.

Fisker says the 'Nina' midsize sedan will go into production at the end of 2012. Vice President Joe Biden spilled the beans on the rest of the Nina range--which will include sedan, coupe, and crossover models--almost two years ago.

The Nina will be built at a former GM plant in Wilmington, Delaware, though given the company's timetable for the Karma sedan, observers should probably take the 2012 date with a grain of salt.

Fisker's new Wilmington Plant (aerial view)

Fisker's new Wilmington Plant (aerial view)

The mid-size Fisker is code-named for one of the three legendary ships in which Christopher Columbus reached North America. Though as Wikipedia notes, "The real name of the Niña was Santa Clara. The name Niña was probably [just] a pun on the name of her owner, Juan Niño."

Fisker has signed a contract with BMW for up to 100,000 engines a year at peak production.

The company says all its cars will be sold globally, with sales split among North America and Europe (40 percent each) and Asia (20 percent), including China.

This is not the first engine deal that BMW has done. In March 2010, it announced that it would supply up to 240,000 straight-six clean-diesel engines to Carbon Motors, which is planning to produce a custom-built patrol car for sale only to law-enforcement clients.



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