Automaker Fisker to consolidate research facilities

SAN FRANCISCO Thu Feb 4, 2010 9:00pm EST

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SAN FRANCISCO Feb 4 (Reuters) - Electric vehicle startup Fisker Automotive is consolidating its research and design operations by transferring about 30 people from Michigan to its California facility.

Fisker said on Thursday the consolidation is to "accelerate development of its next generation plug-in hybrids," known as Project Nina.

Beginning March 1, Fisker's global headquarters in Irvine, California will house all design, engineering, sales, marketing, and administrative operations, the company said.

All positions from the company's Pontiac, Michigan facility would be transferred and the facility will be closed, but the consolidation is not expected to affect Fisker's partnerships with several dozen Michigan-based engineering firms and parts suppliers.

Last month, the company said it had raised $115 million in equity, clearing one financing hurdle that will allow it to draw on U.S. government loans needed to sell the two plug-in hybrid vehicles.

The Karma, a rechargeable sports car scheduled to go on sale in September, is designed to travel 50 miles on a single charge. It will sell for $87,900 and be built in Finland by Valet Automotive.

Fisker is also developing a second, lower-cost vehicle under its Project Nina, a rechargeable sedan it expects to start building in 2012.

That sedan is expected to sell for about $47,400. (Reporting by Poornima Gupta, editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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