Fisker Automotive Inc., a maker of luxury plug-in cars working to overcome battery problems, said its rechargeable Karma sedans generated revenue of more than $100 million in the first four months of this year.
The closely held company has delivered 1,000 Karmas, priced from $103,000, in the U.S. and Europe since December, Fisker said in a statement today. The Karma is able to travel 50 miles (80 kilometers) on lithium-ion batteries before a gasoline engine propels it.
“We are encouraged by solid demand for the Karma,” Tom LaSorda, Fisker’s chief executive officer, said in the statement. “Pending completion of investment sourcing, we are poised to press ahead with further market expansion and development of our higher volume model, the Fisker Atlantic.”
The company founded by designer Henrik Fisker has had to solve problems with its battery pack and work to regain access to a low-cost federal loan to build its second model, Atlantic, at an idled plant in Wilmington, Delaware. Anaheim, California- based Fisker’s access to the funds, awarded in 2009, was cut off last year after it fell behind on delivering the Karma.
Fisker was approved for $529 million in Energy Department loans to develop technology for the Karma and revamp a closed factory in Wilmington, used by the former General Motors Corp. Fisker had drawn down about $193 million when it said in February access to the funds had been suspended.
The company will replace defective battery packs supplied by A123 Systems Inc. (AONE) that caused a Karma to shut down during tests by Consumer Reports magazine, Fisker said in March. That came after a company recall in December to fix a battery clamp.
Fisker, intending to become profitable selling cars powered by lithium-ion batteries and gasoline, said it continues to raise funds from private investors. The amount has reached more than $1 billion, including $174 million raised this year, Fisker said today.
The company didn’t provide details of an investigation of a garage fire in Sugar Land, Texas, reported this month involving a Karma. Investigators were sent to assess the cause of the fire at a home that Fisker learned of May 3, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said May 18.
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