The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local Business

April 17, 2013

Echo buys Bright Automotive assets

ANDERSON, Ind. — Arizona-based Echo Automotive has bought the last remnants of Bright Automotive, which closed shop last year at Anderson’s Flagship Enterprise Center.

Like Bright, Echo deals in cost-effective ways to convert fleet vehicles to fuel-efficient and plug-in hybrids.

It also operates out of Bright’s old workspace and employs some of the same people.

With so much overlap, it “made sense” Echo would eventually buy Bright’s technology too, said Echo COO and managing director, Patrick Van Den Bossche.

Last week’s purchase transfers Bright’s intellectual property, patents, engineering data and several fully-developed prototype vehicles, such as the Bright IDEA.

To Flagship CEO Chuck Staley, the transfer represents a homecoming, since much of Bright’s technology was developed in Anderson.

“Bright’s IP was truly cutting-edge technology,” Staley said. “The revolutionary Bright IDEA is back where it was designed and built ... at the Flagship.”

Jason Plotke, Echo president and co-founder, said the purchases “fit well with Echo’s strategies and our own technology.”

For example, Echo’s bolt-on plug-in hybrid conversion system, Echodrive, which the National Truck Equipment Association named “Most Innovative Product” earlier this year.

Echodrive could enable a vehicle to travel up to 100 miles per six- to eight-hour charge. In November, Plotke said the cost of the battery was expected to run between $10,000 and $12,000, which is perhaps a cost saving compared to some current compact car battery packs that begin at $12,000 to $15,000.

As far as the Bright technology is concerned, Plotke said Echo hasn’t decided if it would start production on Bright’s prototype vehicles, but he did say they could lead to future Echo products.

“Our engineers and developers are looking forward to applying our expertise,” he said.

Find Baylee Pulliam on Facebook and @BayleeNPulliam on Twitter, or call 648-4250.

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