What appeared to be a bright future is now a bit more cloudy for Bright Automotive, one of the many start-ups hoping to capitalize on the growing interest in electric vehicles.
Launched in January 2008 by the Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Institute, Bright seemed poised to be one of the first makers to come to market with a competitive battery-electric vehicle, or BEV. But battered by the recession and the tightening of the money markets, the spin-off has retrenched and is rethinking its strategy, but Bright still hopes to become a contender in the potentially lucrative electric vehicle market, contends its new chief operating officer.
“We had to hit the pause button on our production program,” acknowledges Mike Donoughe, who signed on as Bright’s CEO in August.
The firm had been hoping to carve out a niche in what many believe will be the most promising segment of the battery-car market with the Bright Idea. The plug-in hybrid delivery truck, which was previewed at the 2010 Washington Auto Show, was slightly larger than the Ford Transit Connect, a pure battery-electric offering that is just going into field testing.