Tuesday, August 3, 2010

GM's Bright Idea

A couple weeks ago, I got a call from John Waters of Bright Automotive to talk about things. I'd heard he might be leaving the company he helped start and was pleasantly surprised to hear his upbeat tone. Turns out, the rumors of Bright's imminent demise were unfounded. He instead indicated there would be a big announcement soon.

This week's announcement of a $5 million investment by GM Ventures to buy a minority stake in Bright was the reason for John's great mood. Bright will now be able to get much closer to a production-ready model of their Bright "Idea".

According to Bright CEO, Reuben Munger, "... GM has taken a minority stake in our company, and will supply advanced powertrains and technology for the Bright plug-in hybrid IDEA vehicle. GM's investment puts us on the fast-track toward mass production of the IDEA as we ramp up development later this quarter."

As I wrote in a previous post, Bright was formed of some of the best EV engineers brought together from the likes of Rocky Mountain Institute, Aerovironment, GM and Andy Frank's UC Davis PHEV program.

Their creation is designed to be light weight and aerodynamic in order to use a minimum amount of energy to get the job done. Millions of fleet vehicles burn millions of gallons gas and diesel every day in the U.S. Keep in mind that 60% of our oil is imported, so anything that can double or triple efficiency is extremely beneficial.

Should the DOE follow through with the loan to get these vehicles into production, there will be thousands of Americans hired in Indiana, a state that could use the jobs.

As for the rest of us, our local post office can trade in their funky, inefficient vans for something that does the same job with a tiny fraction of the energy.

Good for GM. Good for Bright.


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