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Fisker to announce $39,000 plug-in?

Kleiner Perkins partner hints at a big announcement in coming weeks from one of its transportation investments. Karma maker Fisker is the most likely candidate.

The Fisker Karma at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in August. Fisker Automotive

American start-up Fisker Automotive may be about to unveil the first truly affordable plug-in hybrid for the U.S. market.

Ray Lane, managing partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, told an audience at the Always On Going Green conference in Sausalito, Calif., on Tuesday that there could be a big announcement within the next week about a $39,000 plug-in hybrid. Though he would not say who, he mentioned that it was a car for the U.S. market and that it was not strictly electric, according to a report from Cleantech Group.

While Kleiner Perkins has investments in several transportation start-ups such as Think Global and EEStor, the likely company from its repertoire to make such an announcement would be Fisker Automotive.

Fisker has already unveiled the Karma, a four-door luxury plug-in car that can go from 0-62 mph in 6 seconds, and has a maximum speed of 125 mph. But Fisker has set the tentative price for the car at $87,900, making it not much cheaper than Tesla's Roadster sports car.

Fisker CEO Henrik Fisker also told CNET in an exclusive May 2008 interview that advances in battery and software technology would allow his company to offer a $40,000 plug-in car in about four or five years.

Perhaps that day has come sooner than the founder was willing to let on at the time.

But it may not be as soon as others have speculated. Fisker's European press office sent out an e-mail on Monday informing journalists the company has canceled a press conference originally scheduled for this week at the 2009 Frankfurt auto show.