IDEA plug in hybrid fleet vehicles

GM and Bright Automotive announce strategic relationship.

Aug 6th, 2010

Detroit, Mich. and Anderson, Ind., August 6, 2010—Bright Automotive and General Motors Co. announced they have agreed to pursue a strategic relationship and that GM has provided funding to the Indiana automaker, the first funding action by the newly formed General Motors Ventures LLC.

The funding will help accelerate Bright’s production of the IDEA, a revolutionary plug-in hybrid commercial vehicle.

The companies signed a memorandum of understanding in July. GM Ventures provided funding to Bright this week, and the two companies intend to complete the formal agreements later this year. Upon completion of the agreements and other terms, General Motors Ventures would have a minority stake in Bright Automotive and Bright would have access to GM technologies, and advanced engine and transmission systems, for its vehicle.

"Funding early-stage start-up companies is a new way of doing business at GM to accelerate the introduction of innovative technology to support our core automotive business and give us a competitive advantage," said Jon Lauckner, president of GM Ventures. "In this case, our funding of Bright Automotive will accelerate the introduction of advanced propulsion and light-weight technologies in the commercial vehicle market."

In developing the IDEA, Bright started with a clean sheet of paper, listened to customers, and took a novel approach to product development that focused on light-weighting, aerodynamics and a highly efficient drivetrain. The result is a multipurpose vehicle for business fleets—the first designed to be highly efficient and provide a clear economic benefit.

The IDEA delivers a positive total cost of ownership to fleet customers by providing significantly greater fuel efficiency than current fleet vehicles in its class. The IDEA operates in electric mode for 40 miles before switching to an estimated 36-mpg hybrid mode for 100 plus mpg potential based on daily driving behavior.

Funding through GM Ventures will allow Bright to begin ramping up the development of the production program for the IDEA in the third quarter of 2010. Bright continues to seek a low-interest loan through the Department of Energy’s ATVM program. Financial terms were not disclosed.

More in Vehicles & Accessories