The Wheego Whip, another Neighborhood Electric Vehicle, is expected to hit the streets in May, according to Engadget. That is, if Wheego Wheels can find dealers to sell these low-speed, souped-up golf carts. (I'm not just being mean; company founder Mike McQuary purchased a golf cart company and used its product as a base for the Whip).
Wheego, a division of Ruff & Tuff Electric Vehicles (seriously, that's the parent company name), is taking applications to form a network of 50 dealers. That's a strong goal in a weak economy for a new car that has limited use and range, and not much of a marketing plan.
NEV stalwart Zap said it's sold more than 100,000 vehicles since 1994. Considering that many buyers hardly know about these limited-range electric cars, and many may be put off by the electronically controlled top speed of 25 mph (35 mph in some states), as well as the fact that it rides on only three wheels, it's a fairly impressive feat. But a booming business it does not make.
On the plus side for Wheego, Zap and Canadian NEV manufacturer Zenn Motor have done a lot of the marketing legwork and already found dealers that will probably be willing to add another electric car to the mix. And the Whip bears an uncanny resemblance to the smart car.
Clever design aside, it will have the same trouble as its predecessors: there's not a huge demand for an expensive electric car that only goes 35 mph and has a 40-mile range, no matter how cute it is.