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ANDERSON, Ind. — Bright Automotive announced Thursday that it has hired an industry veteran with more than 28 years of automotive experience, including executive roles at Tesla, Chrysler and Mercedes-Benz, as its chief operating officer. Taking on this position is Mike Donoughe.

He will manage the company's day-to-day operations and lead the development of the IDEA, a plug-in electric light commercial vehicle. Bright Automotive is also the beneficiary of the first funding action by General Motors Ventures. This strategic relationship is intended to help accelerate Bright's production of the IDEA vehicle.

At Tesla, Donoughe was executive vice president for vehicle engineering and manufacturing, supply chain and quality, leading Tesla in achieving quality, throughput and profitability objectives for the Tesla Roadster.

At Chrysler, he served as vice president of multiple product teams, leading these teams in the creation of numerous vehicles, including the 2004 Chrysler Pacifica, the 2005 Dodge and Chrysler minivans, the 2007 Jeep Wrangler, and the 2009 Dodge Ram.

"Mike brings tested leadership, proven vehicle development expertise and dozens of successful vehicle launches," said Reuben Munger, chief executive officer of Bright Automotive. "Mike is a perfect fit for Bright because he understands the rigor required to bring a successful, high-volume truck to market. And having served in a leadership role at Telsa, he knows how to lead in a young, advanced technology-focused enterprise. Coming on the heels of our investment from GM, the hiring of Mike is another significant step forward for Bright Automotive."

"I am truly thrilled about this opportunity," said Donoughe. "I joined Bright to work with a passionate team that is focused on creating an incredible vehicle. It is exciting to work on a truck that will enable commercial customers to dramatically lower their vehicle ownership costs while also reducing dependence on foreign sources of energy."

Donoughe's industry experience also includes serving as CEO of SINOEV Technologies, an electric vehicle powertrain systems start-up company, in addition to directing the R-Class program at Mercedes Car Group, and serving as senior partner in the St. Clair Consortium.

Donoughe is also co-founder and president of the Cornerstone Youth Development Fund, a nonprofit organization focused on advancing the education of youth in Detroit, Michigan and Uganda.

According to officials, in developing the IDEA, Bright started with a clean sheet of paper, listened to customers, and took a novel approach to product development that focused on light-weighting, aerodynamics and a highly efficient drivetrain. The result is a multipurpose vehicle for business fleets.

The IDEA will be designed to deliver a positive total cost of ownership to fleet customers by providing significantly greater fuel efficiency than current fleet vehicles in its class, the company claimed. The IDEA operates in electric mode for 40 miles before switching to an estimated 36-mpg hybrid mode for a 100-plus mpg potential based on daily driving behavior. For more information, visit www.brightautomotive.com.