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Fisker Auto flashes look at sporty electric sedan

Supposed "spy photos" show a prototype of a Fisker Karma, a plug-in hybrid luxury sedan due at the end of this year.

Fisker Automotive took a prototype of its planned $80,000 electric sedan for a spin on a track in California, giving gawkers the first first look of the luxury sedan in action.

The photos, which were thought to be "spy photos," were actually taken by the company's PR firm and distributed to the media, according to published reports.

The Fisker Karma luxury electric sedan. Click on the image to see photos of a prototype on a test track. Fisker Automotive

In any case, the photos show the Karma, a plug-in hybrid sedan that Fisker says it will deliver in the fourth quarter this year, manufacturing 15,000 a year.

Fisker is now embroiled in a legal suit with its rival Tesla Motors, another luxury electric car maker. Tesla has accused Fisker of stealing car designs and trade secrets. CEO Henrik Fisker called the suit "nonsense."

Tesla opened up its first showroom earlier this month and is taking orders for its two-door Roadster. It plans to make an electric luxury sedan, called the Whitestar, as well.

Fisker first unveiled the Karma at the North American International Auto Show in January. Click here for a video of the Karma at the Auto Show.

The car is being designed to go 50 miles on its batteries before recharging. An on-board generator, which charges the battery, runs on a liquid fuel.