Will we go Wheego?

Wheego Whip, electric vehicle, courtesy RTEV.A new entry into the electric vehicle race: the Wheego Whip.
Written by Harry Fuller, Contributor

Wheego Whip, electric vehicle, courtesy RTEV.

A new entry into the electric vehicle race: the Wheego Whip. They're taking orders, planning to ship the first ones in May. They're also taing applications for Wheego dealerships if your sales of SUVs and light trucks have slumped recently. The past two months Americans have bought fewer new cars than at any similar period in over 25 years.

The Wheego Whip's a rechargable two-passenger car with: remote keyless entry, air conditioning and an mp3 stereo system. It retails for under $19,000, and it only costs about 3 cents per mile to operate. There is also a 10% Federal Tax credit on the purchase price of the car as a Low Speed Vehicle in 2009. The makers intend to get the car certified as a full speed car. Then the Federal Tax credit will be $7,500.

“RTEV has employed a ‘creep out’ versus a ‘leap out’ launch strategy because I think the electric car industry has been somewhat tainted by credibility issues," said RTEV CEO Mike McQuary. "One of the core values of our company is to make commitments with care, and then live up to them. This philosophy extends to product claims. The Wheego Whip is our first electric car entry into the market, and as an LSV or MSV it has certain limitations. But for the properly educated consumer, it can be a wonderful solution to their driving needs. We are looking for customers who are not afraid of leading edge technology, and in exchange for their pioneering spirit, we are going to offer some unique upgrade opportunities as technology evolves."

The Wheego folks are intending to build a community of users and allow early adapters to move up as the technology evolves. If you buy an LSV Wheego Whip with AGM batteries and, when available, want to upgrade to: 1) Lithium Ion Batteries - the cost to upgrade will only be the difference between the net purchase price of your car and the MSRP of a new Whip LSV with Lithium Ion batteries 2) A new full speed Wheego Whip - the trade in value of your LSV Whip will be the net purchase price of your car less 2% for every month that you have owned your car. And you will receive a $7,500 federal tax rebate when you buy the full speed Whip.

Here's the website if you want to buy, be a dealer or simply browse. The Wheego headquarters is in Atlanta. The car is just under ten feet long. As a low speed vehicle it will do about fifty miles per charge at legal top speed of 25 MPH. 80% recharge in six hours, fully recharged when plugged in for eight hours. It can recharge at 110 volts AC or at 220. The parent company is RTEV, Rough and Tough Electric Vehicles, originally aimed at the all-terrain vehicle market. Wheego is their street-ready vehicle divison. At the end of 2008 RTEV applied for the $15 million in federal loans under the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Incentive Program (ATVMIP), which was established under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. That's run by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). It is intended to spur development of fuel-efficient vehicles and components. It is not related to current auto industry bail-outs or TARP or....

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