The van that Bright Automotive is building at AM General's former Hummer-producing plant has an arrival date. Government and fleet purchases of the curve-topped IDEA van are now slated to begin some time in 2014. The van will use a unique form of plug-in hybrid drive, with a gas engine optionally driving the front wheels, electricity to the rear and a system that optimizes for the best combination of power and efficiency. Bright indicates that the IDEA will return provide around 40 miles of electric-only driving and net 100 mpge.
Bright Automotive is a spinoff from the hypercar efforts at Rocky Moutain Institute. A combination of lightweight materials, battery technology, and aerodynamic design is key to achieving what the company hopes will be chart-topping performance. Bright has also received a $5 million injection from GM. The van will compete in the EV hauling market against Ford's Transit Connect EV.