Kleiner Perkins invests in hybrid cars

Fisker Automotive has raised $65m from the Qatar Investment Authority, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Palo Alto Investors. The capital will support the development of the company’s four-door, plug-in hybrid sports car.

Hybrid sports car company Fisker Automotive has raised $65 million (€47 million) in Series C financing to support the development of its first car, expected to begin delivery in the fourth quarter of 2009.

The Fisker Karma is a four-door, plug-in hybrid sports car which was first unveiled in January 2008.

The financing, completed on 4 September, was led by an affiliate of the Qatar Investment Authority. Existing investors Palo Alto Investors, a California-based hedge fund, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers also participated.

Kleiner Perkins also made a “multi-million dollar” investment in Fisker in January which built on the initial investment made by Palo Alto Investors, according to Fisker.

Fisker is an affiliate of alternative energy company Quantum Fuel Systems Worldwide.

Silicon Valley-based venture firm Kleiner Perkins has invested in greentech since 1999. In May 2008, Kleiner Perkins closed its 13th global fund on $700 million for investment in greentech, information technology and life sciences and a $500 million green growth fund focused exclusively on greentech.

Kleiner Perkins is also a backer of another “green” car company. In April, RockPort Capital Partners and Kleiner Perkins formed a joint venture with Norwegian electric vehicle company Think Global to launch TH!NK North America.

RockPort is a cleantech and greentech venture capital firm with offices in Boston, Massachusetts and Menlo Park, California. The firm closed its third fund on $453 million in June.

Parent company Think Global is reportedly planning to raise up to $80 million in third-round financing in order to increase production capacity. To date, the company has raised $85 million from RockPort and DFJ Element, a cleantech venture fund formed by Element Partners and Draper Fisher Jurvetson. British venture firm British Hazel Capital and CG Capital also contributed financing.