Sunday, August 21, 2011

Electric car maker Fisker Automotive raising $200M at $2.2B valuation

Electric car manufacturer Fisker Automotive is in the process of raising a $200 million funding round that would value the company at $2.2 billion, according to a report by Fortune.

It would be the company’s third funding round in six months. Fisker Automotive raised $190 million just five months ago to help fund the production of its electric cars. The company?finished off a recent $100 million round?in May, led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

“If you look at what they are trying to achieve relative to?Tesla in terms of producing 15,000 vehicles annually, then Fisker’s?fundraising and targets should be considered reasonable,” Pike Research analyst John Gartner told VentureBeat. “Of course Tesla?has a much longer history of selling vehicles, albeit in more limited?quantities.”

Fisker Automotive was previously valued at around $1.5 billion when it raised a small extension to its last funding round in June, according to?venture capital data provider VC Experts. The new valuation would put it on par with Tesla Motors, a plug-in battery-powered electric vehicle manufacturer that has a market cap of around $2.5 billion. But the two companies can’t necessarily be compared side-by-side because they employ two different kinds of electric-vehicle battery strategies.

“Fisker’s strategy appears to be outsourcing many of the key?components, such as the motor, electric drive and battery pack, so the?development cost and time should be less,” Gartner said.

Tesla Motors’ cars employ a pure battery that powers the electric car that owners have to recharge when empty. Fisker Automotive uses an extended-range model, where when the battery runs out, the car uses gasoline to power a generator that recharges the battery to extend the distance the car can drive. The owner can plug the car in at any time to recharge the battery and save gasoline. Tesla Motors also sells its powertrain technology to other car companies, like Toyota.

Fisker Automotive has produced 54 extended-range electric vehicles and is revving up it production of the high-end luxury electric car, the Fisker Karma. The company delivered its first Fisker Karma manufactured for consumers?to Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner Ray Lane last month. That means the company might soon be another player in the electric car market alongside Nissan and Tesla Motors.

The company is also working on a cheaper electric car — a plug-in hybrid sedan called the N-1. That car should retail for somewhere between $35,000 and $50,000. The Karma has a manufacturer suggested retail price of around $96,000 for a basic model and $109,000 for the top-end model.

The company is backed by Kleiner Perkins, as well as New Enterprise Associates and A123 Systems Inc. VentureBeat has contacted Fisker Automotive for additional details.

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Tags: Electric car, electric vehicle, Fisker Karma, Tesla Model S, Tesla Roadster

Companies: Fisker Automotive, Tesla Motors

People: John Gartner, Ray Lane

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