Bright Automotive is “showing a bit of leg” with its new plug-in hybrid vehicle, which should be available in model year 2013. This picture, teaser though it may be, is a world exclusive.

The company, based in Indiana, is a spinoff of the highly regarded Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). Its partners (not necessarily investors) include, Alcoa, Johnson Controls, RMI and the Turner Foundation. CEO John Waters, who cut his teeth at General Motors’ Delco Remy division (which later became Delphi,) spent two years at RMI, and the Bright project incubated there. In fact, he helped develop the battery pack for GM’s EV-1 electric car.

“We built up tremendous leadership in alternative technology vehicles, but it was not valued at the time by GM or Delphi,” Waters says. Unlike GM, which is heavily constrained by tradition and the need to build new cars on existing platforms, Bright started with a clean sheet of paper and in just a year has a driving prototype that it will show off at the Electric Vehicles Symposium in Norway in mid-May.

Waters won’t say much about the car, but it is projected to have 30 miles of all-electric range, and the ability to travel 400 miles. Under the hood will be a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and, most likely, lithium-ion batteries (nickel-metal-hydride are a possibility).

If all goes well and the company is fully funded (a big if), it will produce 30,000 cars in its first year, ramping up to a capacity of 50,000. The factory location is yet undecided, but it could be in Indiana, where many of the EV-1’s innovations were developed.

Jim Motavalli ( @jmotavalli ) writes about cars, technology and the environmental world to anyone curious enough to ask.

The Future is Bright: A first look at a new plug-in hybrid
The Bright team is putting together a plug-in hybrid from scratch. Working on a shoestring, they plan to unveil a working prototype in May.