IRVINE, CA --- Electric car maker Fisker Automotive said it has secured access to an additional $115.3 million in private equity funding to develop plug-in hybrid cars. 

This funding is necessary for Fisker to access a $528.7 million U.S. Department of Energy conditional loan that will, in part, help speed completion of the Fisker Karma, the company's first plug-in hybrid. 

The automaker acknowledged its good fortune, noting that the funding is coming "at a time when capital is scarce, the auto industry is struggling and the global economy is just beginning to rebound." 

Starting at $87,900 the Karma paves the way for development of lower-cost plug-in hybrid technology for a second, family-oriented car code-named Project Nina. Project Nina is expected to be built in Wilmington, DE, at a former General Motors assembly plant starting in 2012. 

The Karma will be built in Finland, mostly using U.S. parts. Production is expected to begin late next year, with a target of 15,000 vehicles annually. 

"Raising $115 million in these times speaks volumes about the value of our business model and the vast potential of plug-in hybrids," said CEO Henrik Fisker.