Dec 7, 2008

$19,000 Electric Car Coming to US in May 2009: Introducing the Wheego Whip

It looks surprisingly like a Smart Car and frankly has one of the dumbest names I’ve ever come across, but the $19,000 all-electric RTEV (Ruff & Tuff Electric Vehicles) Wheego Whip will be available in the United States in May 2009.

The Wheego Whip can reach a maximum speed of about 70 mph, but until it passes crash tests by the US DoT, expected sometime in 2010, it will be released initially as a Low Speed Vehicle (25 mph maximum speed) or a Medium Speed Vehicle (35 mph max). RTEV says that the Whip can travel 50 miles on single 8-hour charge, from any standard household 110 or 220v outlet.

Sounds like your ideal ride? Read on:

Based Off Chinese Car’s Platform
To manufacture the two-seat Wheego Whip RTEV has partnered with Shuanghuan Automobile Company. Based off Shuanghuan’s existing gasoline-powered Noble, RTEV has designed the car’s drive system, which uses plug-in dry cell sealed (AGM) batteries. The international version of the car—known, far more sensibly, as the E-Noble—will be manufactured in China, while the Wheego Whip will undergo final assembly in the United States.

Adapting Vehicle, Rather Than Designing New, Gave Head Start
RTEV’s CEO Mike McQuary had this to say on why the company chose to partner with Shuanghuan:

What has really impressed us with Shuanghuan is their attention to detail in providing a high-quality fit and finish and smooth ride to the car. Once we locked down the systems and components for a high quality electric drive system, we undertook a global search for a car manufacturer that would meet our expectations of a driving experience that was seamless when compared to its gasoline counterparts. While several car companies that we talked to had solid mechanical systems, it was Shuanghuan that emerged with a commitment to meet the quality standards that American drivers have come to expect in an automobile. Their production of the gas powered Noble gave them a great head start, in that it was more a matter of adaptation of a vehicle, rather than trying to develop something from scratch. They share our vision and see the important potential for the emergence of an electric car as an everyday part of consumer transportation.
More on the Wheego Whip from: RTEV and Cleantech