Kleiner Revs Up Hybrid Sports Car Maker Fisker

As Silicon Valley’s original eco sports car company, Tesla, leaves customers twiddling their thumbs, another venture-backed green sports car startup is rising to the occasion, backed by venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. KPCB partner Al Gore even gave some advice on the deal, according to the Wall Street Journal. Fisker Automotive is showing off its first car at the Detroit Auto Show — the Fisker Karma, an $80,000 plug-in hybrid sports car that can go from 0 to 60 mph in less than 6 seconds.

The WSJ says Fisker is backed by “over $10 million” from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and KPCB partner Ray Lane will join the Fisker board. Fisker Automotive, which was launched in September of 2007, is a joint venture between car designers Fisker Coachbuild and publicly traded hybrid technology company Quantum Technologies.

While Draper Fisher Jurvetson, VantagePoint and others are backing Tesla’s electric sports car, KPCB have placed one of its bigger bets on a luxury hybrid. With the firm able to call the Fisker investment one of Al Gore’s first deals for Kleiner, they are bound to get a lot of attention.

The Irvine, Calif.-based Fisker has been discussing the car since October, but is providing more details at the show. The car can drive for 50 miles via electricity, at which point the gasoline engine starts working to charge the lithium-ion battery. The company hopes to deliver the car by the fourth quarter of 2009, and aims to produce 15,000 per year.


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