Fisker Automotive Inc., maker of the Fisker Karma premium plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle that is expected to go on sale late next year, opens a new Engineering and Development Center in Pontiac, MI.

Spanning 34,000 sq.-ft. (3,159 sq.-m) and housing up to 200 engineers and designers, the auto maker says the new facility will be an integral part of the Karma PHEV sedan’s development and production.

“The available talent, supplier base and infrastructure in Michigan will help us reach our production goal,” Fisker Chief Operating Officer Bernhard Koehler says in a statement.

“While Fisker Automotive will continue to be headquartered in Irvine, CA, the new facility will allow us the opportunity to collaborate with our Michigan supplier base and have everyone under one roof.”

The Karma, which Fisker debuted earlier this year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, mates a small 4-cyl. engine with a lithium-ion battery and proprietary Q-Drive electric drivetrain developed by Quantum Fuel Cell Technologies Worldwide Inc.

The vehicle is expected to achieve 100 mpg (2.4 L/100 km), with a 350-mile (563-km) range, the auto maker says, noting the Karma will cover up to 50 miles (80 km) under electric-only power.

Performance will include a 125-mph (201-km/h) top speed and 0-60 mph (97 km/h) acceleration of less than six seconds. Annual production is expected to reach 15,000 units by 2011.