GM Invests in Bright Automotive's Plug-In Hybrid Fleet Vehicle

General Motors has signed a strategic agreement with Bright Automotive, a car company launched from Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) in
January 2008 with the goal of building plug-in hybrid vehicles for commercial and government fleets. 

GM also commited funding for Bright Automotive, though specifics were not disclosed. This is the first funding action by the newly-formed General Motors Ventures, LLC.

Upon completion of formal agreements later this year, General Motors Ventures will have a minority stake in Bright
Automotive and Bright will have access to GM
technologies, and advanced engine and transmission systems, for its vehicle.  

Bright Automotive expanded on the work of a consortium of organizations, including Alcoa (NYSE: AA),, Johnson
Controls (NYSE: JCI) and the Turner Foundation. The company, which is now based in Indiana, has developed a vehicle, called

In developing the IDEA, Bright said it 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.

operates in electric mode for 40 miles before switching to an estimated 36-mpg hybrid
mode for 100+ mpg potential based on daily driving behavior.

The vehicle will be in direct competition with all-electric Transit Connect under production by Ford (NYSE: F) 

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.

"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."

Bright Automotive also consults automotive customers worldwide to accelerate vehicle electrification, lightweighting,
and overall platform efficiency.

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