Anderson’s Bright reveals plug-in van-WEB ONLY

Anderson-based startup Bright Automotive yesterday finally unveiled the Idea,
a 100-mile-per-gallon plug-in hybrid electric van that it is looking to sell to fleet
customers such as businesses and government agencies.

The automaker’s goal is to produce 50,000 vehicles a year starting in 2013.
The ultimate outcome, it hopes, will be millions of dollars in savings in
gasoline and drastically reduced emissions for fleet users.

“We are ready to provide the necessary automotive leadership our nation is
calling for,” CEO John Waters said in a conference call with

Waters, who developed the battery pack for General Motors Corp.’s first
electric vehicle, the EV1, unveiled the Idea on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. He
said the company has applied for a $450 million loan from a Department of Energy
program designed to help automakers develop fuel-efficient technology.

Waters hopes to begin production of the vehicle by 2012 and begin supplying
to fleet customers the following year. He said the company is targeting fleet,
rather than retail, customers, because fleet customers buy vehicles “on
spreadsheets” in large quantities, which helps bring down the cost and
eliminates the emotion present in car-buying.

“We feel there would be a rapid adaptation and adoption of vehicles in the
fleet sector,” Waters said. He declined to offer an estimated price of the

Waters said the Idea will run on battery power alone for 30 miles. At that
point, it will function like a conventional hybrid, drawing on a combination of
gasoline and an electric battery to generate power. He said the 100-mpg figure
is an estimate that assumes a fleet driver averages 50 miles per day.

Bright Automotive is the latest entrant in a growing field of high-tech
automotive startups, many of which have placed their bets on pricey, high-end
vehicles. Tesla Motors, based in Silicon Valley, sells the $109,000 Roadster
electric car and recently unveiled a much cheaper sedan, the Model S. EV
Innovations unveiled two new electric sports cars at the New York International
Auto Show earlier this month.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.