IRVINE, CA - Electric car manufacturer Fisker Automotive said it plans to close its R&D center in Pontiac, MI, and transfer those operations to the company's global headquarters in Irvine, CA. 

Beginning March 2, the Irvine headquarters will house all of Fisker's design, engineering, sales, marketing and administrative operations. The company said it expects to increase personnel at headquarters dramatically. 

The move will help accelerate development of the company's next-generation plug-in hybrids, an effort code-named Project NINA, Fisker said. 

This week, company founder and CEO Henrik Fisker told Dow Jones VentureWire that he expects to close on a $529 million Department of Energy loan in mid-March, after meeting the department's equity commitment requirements. In January, Fisker closed on $115.3 million in equity funding. 

The Fisker Karma vehicle uses Q-DRIVE plug-in hybrid technology, developed exclusively for Fisker Automotive by Quantum Technologies. A fully-charged Karma burns no fuel for the first 50 miles. Once the 50-mile electric range has been exceeded, the car operates as a normal hybrid vehicle.