* Fisker backer Leonardo di Caprio gets first model
* Vehicles start at $95,900
By Sarah McBride and Poornima Gupta
SAN FRANCISCO, July 26 Fisker Automotive has
started doling out its long-anticipated extended-range electric
cars -- and chairman of the board Ray Lane wasn't the first to
That car went to actor Leonardo di Caprio, who also is a
Fisker investor. He wasn't showing off his new car to reporters
on Tuesday, but Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers managing
partner Ray Lane was.
Lane espoused the Fisker Karma's virtues as the media
circled the sedan, tucked away in the back area of Kleiner's
Sand Hill Road parking lot. The firm is a major Fisker
Fisker Karmas, plug-in hybrid vehicles that have missed
several launch dates, have been highly anticipated by the
environmentally friendly and well-heeled car buyers who form
their target market.
Another alternative fuel car, the all-electric Roadster,
made by Silicon Valley-based Tesla Motors (TSLA.O), went into
production in 2008. Lane said the Karmas would appeal to a
different set of carbuyers who wanted backup from a gas
Last year, Fisker closed on a $529 million loan from a
Department of Energy program to spur the development of
alternative vehicles. Tesla and Nissan are among the other
companies to win similar loans.
Lane said he would be putting aside his regular commuting
vehicle, a Porsche, in favor of the Karma.
(Reporting by Sarah McBride and Poornima Gupta; editing by