Bright Automotive, Inc. announced that it has entered into an agreement for AM General LLC to be Bright's exclusive North American assembler for the vehicle platform of Bright IDEA, an all-new, plug-in hybrid electric work truck that uses innovative technologies to provide businesses with a new economic solution focused on the lowest total cost of ownership.
AM General, a long-established contract vehicle assembler, military vehicle manufacturer and services provider, will build the Bright IDEA in its Commercial Assembly Plant in Mishawaka, Ind., under a contract assembly agreement with Bright Automotive.
"We look forward to finalizing our funding to kick-start the introduction of our world-class PHEV work-truck, saving U.S. businesses millions of dollars and creating new jobs in the heart of America," said Reuben Munger, Bright Automotive CEO.
The selection of AM General as the contract assembler is one of the necessary steps Bright Automotive has to take in order to meet current manufacturing plans to make the Bright IDEA platform available for sale as early as 2014 to government and commercial fleets. Production of the Bright IDEA is contingent on the completion of Bright Automotive's funding. This potential funding is a blend of substantial private equity commitments and a loan through the Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program.
"We are excited to work with AM General, whose proven manufacturing expertise and state-of-the-art assembly facilities will enable us to focus our resources on design and engineering, and work jointly to deliver class-leading quality, reliability and lowest total cost of ownership to our customers," said Mike Donoughe, Bright Automotive Chief Operating Officer.
The Bright IDEA platform is a clean-sheet plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that addresses the key economic and functional challenges facing commercial fleet operators. The Bright IDEA delivers fuel economy and efficiency, maximizes utility, and significantly lowers fuel costs — the key pain point of fleet managers — while providing a superior range of 400 miles.
"AM General's experience in the assembly of alternative powertrains and lightweight materials, combined with our decades of vehicle manufacturing know-how are a perfect fit for the production of this next generation vehicle," said Rick Smith, President of AM General Commercial Business. "Our ability to leverage a strong management team, proven production facilities and an experienced UAW workforce, gives Bright a low-risk manufacturing solution, with minimal investment, which is key to successfully introducing a competitive product in today's automotive market."
In 2010, the company formed a strategic partnership with General Motors, which is providing engines, parts, and investment. Bright has several working prototypes of its PHEV powertrain in the field, including one operated by the Department of Defense that showcases Bright's unique powertrain and vehicle-to-grid technology.