This past weekend while the North American International Auto Show kicked off in Detroit I had my own little personal auto show. I spend the weekend tooling around in a prototype of the Wheego Whip by RTEV. It was a fun experience. When I brought it home both of my kids exclained "cool." And boy did it generate a lot of attention and spark several a conversation over the course of 72 hours.
The Wheego platform and body is manufactured by Shuanghuan Automobile in China and then shipped to the US for final assembly at the RTEV manufacturing facility in South Carolina. While the production car will eventually be capable of speeds of up to 60 mph, it will be launched as a Low Speed Vechicle (LSV). LSVs are generally capable of speed up to 35 mph and allowed to travel on streets with that same speed limit. The prototype I tested was an LSV.
The Whip is a "plug-in" all electric vehicle. To charge it you literally plug the car into a normal 110 or 220 volt electrical outlet. A single charge was getting me about 20 miles in the prototype. The production vehicle is expected to get 60 on a single.
In place of the fuel input there is a male electrical receptacle. It is so easy to charge that a fifth grader is capable of doing it.
Before the weekend was over we were using the Wheego as our main vechile to run errands or ferry the kids to sports practices and sleepovers. It's fun to drive in a way that is a lot different from my power laden and gas loving 540. I was mostly just hanging out in the right lane of four way streets while cars buzzed around me (in Atlanta a posted 35 mph means go 50). But what I began to notice was that I was pulling right up to these cars at the next traffic light, pretty much making my way at the same pace. And I spent not a penny in gas.
The Wheego Whip is expected to be available in May of 2009 at a price in the $20k range.
Update: dNeero has whipped up a survey. The access code is “lancewheego” What do you think?