idea_ext_frtpsgrside-highDetroit, Michigan – General Motors has announced a partnership with Indiana-based Bright Automotive, intended to promote development of Bright’s Idea plug-in hybrid commercial vehicle.

Under the strategic relationship, GM will provide funding to Bright, the first funding action by the newly-formed General Motors Ventures LLC.

Upon completion of the terms and agreements, expected later this year, General Motors Venture will have a minority stake in Bright Automotive, while Bright will 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 lightweight technologies in the commercial vehicle market.”

The Idea, a multipurpose vehicle for business fleets, operates in electric mode for 40 miles (64 km) before switching to an estimated 36 mpg US (6.5 L/100 km ) hybrid mode. The company said that based on daily driving behaviour, the vehicle has a potential of more than 100 mpgUS (2.3 L/100 km).

The funding will allow Bright to begin ramping up development of the Idea production program in the third quarter of 2010. The company continues to seek a low-interest loan through a Department of Energy program. The amount of GM funding was not disclosed.

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