Kleiner Enters E-Car Craze

Another day, another electric vehicle manufacturer is raising venture capital. peHUB has learned that the latest is Phoenix Motorcars, which is neither based in Phoenix nor makes cars. Discuss…

The company is actually headquartered in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and makes electric SUVs and SUTs that can get 130 miles out of a 10-minute charge (or perhaps a few seconds less, which would qualify the vehicles for Type 3 credits). The top speed is 95mph, with an expected retail price of $45k. It has around 500 pre-orders from fleet customers like PG&E and the Port of Los Angeles, with consumer sales not expected until sometime next year.

Phoenix Motorcars is nearing agreement on a $15 million Series A round from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Virgin Fuels and AES Corporation. Ray Lane is leading the deal for Kleiner, although it’s unclear if he’d be taking a board seat. AES is also a shareholder in Altair Nanotechnologies, which makes battery-packs for the Phoenix Motorcar vehicles.

A source says that the round’s pre-money valuation is expected to be anywhere from $10 million to $20 million.

Phoenix Motorcars originally planned to raise $100 million (see doc: Phoenix.pdf), and actually began trying to raise that amount from high-net-worth individuals. It later reconsidered and lowered its target to $15 million, with plans to raise the additional $85 million sometime next year.

For context, electric sportscar maker Tesla Motors has raised $95 million to date, while Scandinavian electric car maker Think Global has raised around $85 million. peHUB broke news last Friday that yet another market entrant – Venture Vehicles – had raised $6 million in first-round funding from NGEN Partners and DVC Technologies.

Messages left with Phoenix Motorcars CEO Dan Elliott and Kleiner Perkins’ Ray Lane have not yet been returned.