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Bright Automotive Chief Operating Officer Mike Donoughe invoked President Barack Obama's recent call for U.S. companies to create American jobs while developing alternative energy sources for transportation by requesting that Congress speed up the company's federal loan process.

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The production lines at the AM General Corp factory in Mishawaka, Indiana used to crank out the Hummer H2. Now they're set to produce a vehicle that may not quite have the same intimidation factor, but does have a high degree of practicality. In the process, about 300 workers could find new jobs.

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The IDEA plug-in hybrid van from Bright Automotive was unveiled earlier this year in Washington, D.C. and it's already time for the first test drives to start. Plug in vehicle advocate Paul Scott was recently given the opportunity to visit Bright's Indiana headquarters and see what moving the duck-like van is all about. His first impression: the van gets a B+ for building a PHEV van that works but still needs some upgrades to make the shift from pure electric drive to when the ICE kicks in more

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Click above for a high-res gallery of the I.DE.A ERA concept

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Click on the image for more shots of the IDEA ERA Concept

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