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.

Bright Automotive has annouced an agreement to use the plant to produce their IDEA plug-in hybrid cargo van. The IDEA is expected to deliver about 40 miles on electricity, then switch over to gasoline power, giving the delivery van a range similar to that of the Chevy Volt. However, Bright expects the IDEA to do even better than the Volt when running on gas, returning about 40mpg.

However, the agreement that Bright announced is only one step in the process. The company is still seeking funding, including a loan from the Department of Energy, along with tax abatements from the local county.

As a light commercial van, the IDEA could be an ideal solution for delivery routes, vending service, catering... any number of situations where such vans are used. Bright is also expecting to sell a number of its vans to state and local governments. AM General already has some experience assembling electric vehicles. Its Michigan plant assembles the EV version of the Ford Transit Connect van, which is the IDEA's direct competitor.

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