BUSINESS NEWS
August 04, 2010 12:00:00 AM
  Follow @ Twitter
General Motors will pour five million dollars into a plug-in hybrid commercial van being developed by an Indiana firm, the automaker announced.

The IDEA van will be able to drive up to 40 miles (64 kilometers) on its electric battery before switching over to a hybrid gas-electric engine which offers a fuel economy of 36 miles per gallon (6.5 liters/100 km).

"It's an opportunity to bring more efficient, greener utility to the country's commercial and government fleets and to do it in a way that they save money," said Reuben Munger, chairman and chief executive officer of Bright Automotive.

Most light-duty commercial vans get fewer than 15 miles to the gallon (15.68 liters/100 km) and are driven an average of 25,000 miles (40,232 km) a year, Bright said. The IDEA would save the average customer about 1,500 gallons (5,678 liters) of fuel per year.

The IDEA is expected to hit US showrooms by 2014 and is also being aimed at the European market, Munger said in a conference call with reporters.

GM's investment will help Bright accelerate production of the IDEA, which stalled after financing dried up following the 2008 financial crisis, Munger said.

GM will also share its technology and the IDEA will run on a GM engine.

The light-duty commercial van market -- which includes government fleets and businesses such as cable and telephone companies, florists, and plumbers -- represents about 900,000 vehicle sales a year in the United States, Munger said.

Bright plans on building a plant with a production capacity of 50,000 vehicles in the United States.

"The European market is twice as large as here in the US and the average retail price of the vehicles are materially higher, as are gas prices so the economics work extremely well in Europe," said Michael Brylawski vice president of corporate strategy for Bright.

"But our core business plan is based around a 50,000 unit run-rate volume."

The IDEA is the first investment made by the newly formed General Motors Ventures LLC.

"Funding early-stage start-up companies is a new way of doing business at GM to accelerate the introduction of innovative technology to support our core automotive business and give us a competitive advantage," said Jon Lauckner, president of GM Ventures.

GM has not yet determined how the IDEA will fit into its product portfolio, he added.

Wiggle


PREVIOUS STORY
Dim car sales outlook after profit slump
NEXT STORY
ATH feels $53m pinch in Ďtoughest yearí

Bookmark and Share
   




FIJI NEWS
Bus checker pleads not guiltyBus checker Rabindar Singh has pleaded not guilty today to a manslaughter charge over the deaths of a mother and her daughter at the Suva bus stand in May.
WORLD
'Green'-tinted SUVs at Seoul Motor ShowGas-guzzling SUVs, eco-friendly electric cars and the odd brave attempt to marry the selling points of both are taking centre stage at the biennial Seoul Motor Show.
TECHNOLOGY
Only call details given to police in 670 cases: VFVodafone Fiji says it provided call details in 670 cases to police on the production of a search warrant or court order, but does not listen to or record calls, and could not provide such information.
HEALTH/FITNESS
Clean-up day to curb dengue outbreakFiji's Ministry of Health has declared a clean-up day next Thursday for residents in the central division as it ups the tempo against a dengue fever outbreak currently experienced in the country.
SPORTS
Nadolo can offer even more, says CooperFormer All Blacks fullback Greg Cooper believes Flying Fijians and Crusaders winger Nemani Nadolo has much more to offer is the best when its comes to taking the ball from cross-kicks.
ENTERTAINMENT
5 Seconds of Summer announce Aust, NZ showsHot on the heels of selling out two shows at Londonís iconic Wembley Arena, the chart-topping Sydney boys are heading out on the road to play their first-ever headline Australian and New Zealand arena shows, touring in support of their recently released self-titled #1 smash hit debut album.
NEWS SPORTS INFOTAINMENT SERVICES MOBILE EXTRA HOT TOPICS