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Kleiner Perkins investor, and former President of Oracle (s ORCL), Ray Lane, said that electric vehicle maker startup Fisker is gearing up to make a major announcement about a $39,000 plug-in hybrid vehicle later this week or next week. The venture capitalist, whose firm funded Fisker, let the news slip 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 as Lane put it on the panel “who would not want to buy a Fisker Karma if you could afford it.”
Does that mean that Fisker has received a Department of Energy loan? In March, Henrik Fisker, founder and CEO of the Irvine, Calif.-based company, said that Fisker plans 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 come through. Back then Fisker did not specify how much money the company requested, but said “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 Automotive has raised some $100 million since its founding in 2007, but, like Tesla, needs much more to build an auto factory and produce a cheaper plug-in at scale. Competitor Tesla received a DOE $465 million loan in June.