/>
X
Innovation

Large automakers eye startup collaboration for electric vehicle development

General Motors' move this week to provide funding for Bright Automotive highlights how large and small companies are going to collaborate on cleantech.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor on

General Motors' move this week to provide funding for Bright Automotive highlights a penchant for large car manufacturing to outsource a bit of innovation to startups in exchange for money and speed.

GM Ventures provided funding to Bright so it could ramp production of its IDEA plug-in hybrid commercial vehicle (right). Under a memorandum of understanding, GM will take a minority stake in Bright, which would have access to GM technologies.

While GM said that investing in early-stage startups is a "new way of doing business" the blueprint here sounds very familiar. In fact, GM's investment in Bright is similar to Toyota's stake in Tesla.

Toyota and Tesla's partnership is designed to bring electric vehicles to market faster via some old fashioned collaboration. The big guys bring in the scale and manufacturing heft and the new companies supply some fresh thinking and innovation.

What we're witnessing is the model for the cleantech market. General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt summed it up nicely just a few weeks ago when the company launched its cleantech fund.

"Clean tech is just going to happen and I’m quite convinced this is a great big market. It’s going to be a great big system with multiple suppliers...It’s a space where big and small companies need to work together."

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Editorial standards