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Fisker finds funding, Atlantic EVer will see production

In the wake of securing $392 million in financing, Fisker Automotive announces that it will produce its newly announced affordable extended-range EV.

Sarah Tew, CNET

The 2012 New York auto show starts early tonight with the official announcement and unveiling of the Fisker Atlantic. The Atlantic is the second new vehicle to be debuted by the vehicle (or the third if you choose to count the Fisker Surf design concept) and is Fisker Automotive's shot at building an extended-range electric vehicle that people can actually afford.

The Atlantic doesn't divert terribly from the formula set by the Karma. The sedans feature similar mustachioed front ends, the smaller Atlantic largely maintaining a scaled-down version of the Fisker design language with a few tweaks here and there. For example, the Atlantic's headlamps feature a faceted design that, when illuminated by the LED daytime running lights, produce an effect that is described as backlit ice. Like most of the elements of the Fisker school of automotive design, you'll either love it or hate it. Personally, I think it looks rather, ahem, cool.

Things get interesting behind the Atlantic's B-pillar. While the Atlantic hides its second pair of doors even better than the Karma by integrating the door handles into the nook formed by the rear side glass and the C-pillar in a manner that is reminiscent of the Hyundai Veloster. The Atlantic is about a third shorter than its larger sibling, thanks in part to a truncated rear end, putting the sedan in the same size class as the BMW 3 Series or Audi A5. Likewise, Fisker claims its new model will feature more interior space than either of those vehicles. Additionally, the Atlantic's price is estimated to fall near the top end of that class as well, which puts it between $45,000 and $50,000.

Fisker Atlantic
Henrik Fisker demonstrates how the Atlantic hides its second pair of doors. Sarah Tew / CBS Interactive

Under the sheet metal, the Atlantic's power train is also similar to that of the Karma. The lithium ion battery-powered electric motor motivates the sedan for the first 30 to 40 miles driving. Once the EV range has been exceeded, users can continue driving on gasoline power thanks to a small, possibly turbocharged four-cylinder engine supplied by BMW acting as a generator and extending the vehicle's range. No word has officially been given on the specs for that engine, the fuel economy we can expect, or what kind of power we can expect the Atlantic's electric motor or motors to make.

My guess is that the smaller Fisker steps down to a single electric motor and a differential setup (as opposed to the Karma's dual motor setup) to save space and cost at the expense of a bit of power. It also looks like the Atlantic ditches the Karma's solar roof in favor of a glass top that shows off the sedan's "spider roof" crossbeam which serves as both a safety feature and a design element.

The Atlantic's announcement comes in the wake of Fisker Automotive securing $392 million in financing, putting an end to assertions that the automaker lacked the resources to actually build a new model.

"This car will be built," said Fisker Automotive co-founder and executive chairman Henrik Fisker, "It will go into production."