Wheego To Unveil “Affordable” Battery Car At LA Auto Show TheDetroitBureau com

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Wheego To Unveil “Affordable” Battery Car At LA Auto Show

The first affordable battery car? The Wheego Whip LiFe debuts at the LA Auto Show.

The upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show could turn into the backdrop for something of a David-and-Goliath battle with a battery-powered twist.

Little Wheego, an Atlanta-based start-up, plans to formally unveil its new Whip LiFe battery-electric vehicle at LA’s Staples Center.  It’s billing the two-seat subcompact as “the nation’s first affordable electric car,” a claim it plans to cement by driving it into showrooms about a month ahead of the formal debut of the 2011 Nissan Leaf.

“Our highway-ready, full-speed electric car, the Wheego LiFe, is in production now and will be delivered to dealers and drivers in a few weeks,” said Wheego President Jeff Boyd.

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Several industry analysts, like Joe Phillippi, of AutoTrends Consulting, have told TheDetroitBureau.com that the current push to “electrify” the auto industry is creating perhaps the biggest opportunity for automotive wannabes – including not only Wheego but Tesla Motors, Fisker Automotive, Think and others – since the Great Depression began whittling the domestic industry down to today’s so-called Big Three.

But how many of the new marques will survive is anything but certain.  Significantly, some are already trying to form relationships with traditional automotive manufacturers.  Tesla, in particular, is providing battery-based drivetrains for Daimler’s Smart ED, and helped co-develop the RAV-4 EV concept that Toyota will unveil at the 2010 Los Angeles International Auto Show.

  Meanwhile, Amp claims to have formed a relationship with an as yet-unnamed partner that will provide it with “gliders,” conventional vehicles stripped of their gasoline drivetrains.  Amp will build in its own battery drive system.

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As for the Wheego LiFe, the maker claims a 100-mile range per charge of its lithium-ion power pack.  A buyer will be able to charge the 30 kilowatt-hour lithium battery pack on 110 or 220-volt power.

Capable of hitting 65 mph, the LiFe will come with front airbags, air conditioning and other features that it plans to detail at its media event.

The vehicle will be listed at $32,995, but after the federal tax credit for high-mileage vehicles the price tax will dip to $25,445, almost precisely what Nissan plans to charge for the 4-seat Leaf.

Wheego is assembling the new battery car line at a plant in Ontario, California.  It claims that 75% of the vehicle’s content, including motors and batteries, are American-made.  The body, however, is being imported from China, where it is sold as the Shuanghuan Noble, as our friends at AutoBlog.com note.

This entry was posted on Monday, October 18th, 2010 at and is filed under Automobiles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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