Bright’s Plug-in Hybrid Delivery Van Delivers: 40-Mile All-Electric Range, 40 MPG


Indiana-based Bright Automotive has released some pretty impressive performance figures for its technically (and aerodynamically!) slick new IDEA cargo van. Aimed primarily at delivery fleets and in-town rental companies, the freshly-upgraded guppy promises to shave operating costs by thousands of dollars per year, per van.

More pictures, an official company press release, and my own opinions (that nobody asked for) after the jump.

Designed for fleet customers who typically depend on full-size panel vans, Bright’s IDEA delivery van boils down to two important numbers:

  • 40 miles all electric range
  • 40 miles per gallon on charge-sustaining hybrid mode

Bright delivers those first 40 EV miles courtesy of a new 13 kWh battery pack, which qualifies the plug-in hybrid vehicle for a PHEV federal tax credit, in addition to other state and local credits (varying by state, obviously). Bright claims that each new IDEA in service will save operators “18 cents per mile, reduce gasoline use by 1,500 gallons per year, and reduce CO2 emissions by 16 tons per year.

Of course, IDEA customers are potentially able to save significantly more money, if they elect to keep the vehicle in EV mode for in-town deliveries—an option operators may have, if the photo below is any indication.

Surely, Bright is smart to pitch this van towards cost-conscious fleet buyers.  Even if the environmental benefit is half of what they claim, these vans are a huge step forward from the more “traditional” vans currently doing fleet service across the country. I believe, however, that Bright’s best market for the IDEA might be one that hasn’t been mentioned yet.

Flip to the next page for my bright idea…

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.