IDEA’s Future Brighter

Bright's IDEA

In January, we blogged about an Automotive News report that predicted that Bright Automotive, the Indiana-based electric hybrid vehicle company of which Washington and Lee alumnus Reuben Munger is chairman and CEO, was about to sign an agreement with a major automaker. On Tuesday, Bright and General Motors announced the new agreement under which GM Ventures, a subsidiary of GM, will provide $5 million in funding for the IDEA, a plug-in hybrid commercial vehicle.

In an article in the Detroit Free-Press, Reuben, a member of the Class of 1995, said that the deal puts the company on “the fast-track toward mass production of the IDEA. And perhaps just as importantly, we gain a strategic partner that is a world leader in electrification.”

An automotive analyst with J.D. Power and Associates told the Free-Press that the deal gives Reuben’s company legitimacy and “puts them on the map.”

The Bright-G.M. connection is the New York Times’ Wheels blog, too, and Reuben told the blog that he expects Bright to manufacture 900,000 vehicles a year once production begins in 2013 or 2014. ““It’s a unique value proposition,” Reuben told the Times. “It’s larger than [Ford’s] Transit Connect and closer to the utility of a full-sized van like the GMC Savana or Ford E-Series.”

According to the reports this week, the IDEA will use a GM engine and transmission and can drive 40 miles on battery power and about 300 on an internal combustion engine.

A video of the IDEA is below:



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