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Wheego Whip: Now with Lithium!


The Wheego Whip has gone on a diet, lost a little weight, and is now officially a hottie.

This cute little NEV, in case you've never met, looks quite a bit like a Smart ForTwo, and it's a two-seater just like the Smart. It's got an AC motor, and the NEV version comes with 96 volts, so that's quite a lot of power and weight for a neighborhood electric car, don't you think? (It doesn't take 96 volts to move a small, light car peppily up to their legally-governed speed of 25-35 most NEV manufacturers go lighter.)

What those extra volts should give you is acceleration, hill-climbing ability, and the gumption to carry around two full-sized Americans.

The trade-off is that every time you add another battery, you add weight. The Wheego Whip with lead AGM batteries is heavy; 3600 pounds with batteries, according to this Autopia Wheego Whip review. It wasn't all that peppy from 0-35 mph, according to the review, but it was respectable, solid, and decently-appointed.

Wow, a grown-up urban commuter with bigger muscles than the Zenn. Okay.

But don't they still make their NEV version of the Wheego Whip? Yes, they do. There are two models now, the Wheego Whip and the Wheego Whip LiFe with lithium.

Your Virtual Wheego Test Drive

So why would I prefer the Wheego Whip to the Smart electric car (which is limitedly available in the US for lease only)? Oh, yes; because the Smart EV is limitedly available in the US for lease only. Right. You can BUY a Wheego Whip, take it home, plug it in, paint daisies on the side, and smoke in it if you're so inclined. It's YOURS.

Um, that Smart EV lease will cost you a pretty penny, too, if you can even get one now. The Wheego Whip is 11,500 USD after all the tax incentives.

And the best part: now the Wheego Whip is also getting crash-tested and fitted with a 115v set of lithium batteries so it can be a freeway-flyer. They're calling it the Wheego Whip LiFe (that's short for lithium iron phosphate).

Essentials of the 2011 Wheego Whip LiFe

  • Air conditioning.
    What? I'm going to start with the stuff that's most important to ME first. Get used to it. Now, air conditioning might drain the battery pack, but so what? This is CRUCIAL. These guys were actually listening to us when they built this electric car.
  • Stereo.
    AM (who needs that?)/FM, CD, MP3, USB...absolutely.
  • Cabin heat.
    Obviously. No, I'm not going to throw on an extra coat. Give me Real. Proper. Heating. Thank you very much.
  • Defrosting.
    Both front and rear, just like a regular car.
  • Remote keyless entry.
  • Power steering.
  • Power windows and electric mirrors.
  • Safety rated (on-board) charging.
    All the electrical bits won't bite you, no matter how absent-minded or sleep-deprived you are. Non-scary charging works for me.

More Wheego Whip LiFe Features

  • Regenerative braking.
    Absolutely predictable with an AC motor system, but nice to see. This will both save on brake pads and increase battery range. Nice.
  • AC brushless motor.
    I guess I sort of let the cat out of the bag with that last item, but it's got an AC motor. It's not your usual 3-phase induction AC, it's more like a per-mag. A little different.
  • 95 ft/lbs of torque.
    Because I know you like that sort of thing. What this means is that it will get up and move when you put your foot down, and honey, we all like THAT.
  • Front wheel drive.
  • Anti-lock brakes.
  • Air bags.
  • Unibody frame.

Wanna Look Underneath?

The Long and the Short of it...

AutoBlogGreen heard it called the Cadillac of NEVs when they test-drove it at Marc Korchin's Green Motors electric car dealership, and I have to agree: it's more Zen than Zenn and smarter than Smart! This pocket-sized electric car has quietly shot all the way to the top of my "gotta have it" list.

For a list of Wheego Whip dealers in the US, click here.

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