GM Announces Partnership with Bright Automotive for Electric Vehicles

GM, through its GM Ventures subsidiary, will provide $5 million to Bright to help jumpstart production of the plug-in hybrid van Bright calls the "Idea". In return, the automaker will receive a minority stake in Bright.

Bright is targeting the market for commercial vehicles used by cable, telecom, utility and other companies that use fleets of trucks. Bright Automotive CEO Reuben Munger estimates the total market for those vehicles amounts to sales of 900,000 vehicles per year.

Mike Omotoso, an automotive analyst with J.D. Power and Associates, said GM’s investment gives the automaker a quick way to develop a commercial electric vehicle to match Ford’s Transit Connect. Ford launched a gasoline powered version of the Transit Connect last year and is planning to launch an electric version this year.

Gary Lang Auto Group is the only full-line GM Dealership in the North Chicagoland area and also has a Commercial Truck Division, as part of the Business Central offering by General Motors. This affords them the unique opportunity to be one of the first dealership in the area to be able to offer a vehicle like the Idea to businesses nearby.

The Idea will use a GM engine and transmission which will allow it to drive 40 miles on battery power and about 300 miles on an internal combustion engine. A new vehicle like the Idea would be gladly welcomed into the Gary Lang family.

According to Jeff Lang, Commercial Truck Manager, "The ability to offer an electric vehicle designed for fleet use would greatly expand our commercial selectivity. The high-efficiency and low environmental impact of the vehicles would be a very attractive point for many businesses." With Bright gearing up to build 50,000 Ideas in North America, they should be available soon.

Gary Lang Auto Group is on Highway 31, between Crystal Lake and McHenry and has been serving McHenry County for over 27 years. The dealership group carries several makes, including Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Kia, Mitsubishi and Subaru.