Wheego is an electric car company based out of Atlanta that you probably haven’t heard of (unless you’ve scrolled through our Electric Cars for Sale in 2013 page). It doesn’t get nearly the attention of Tesla or the Nissan Leaf, or even CODA. Of course, its sales don’t compare to Tesla’s or the Leaf’s, but it is reportedly selling vehicles.
The LiFe sells for $32,995 while the Whip sells for just $18,995 (not including federal tax incentives or other state or local financial incentives for electric vehicles). With the Nissan Leaf now selling for $28,800, it’s hard to imagine the LiFe is actually able to compete. However, the much cheaper Whip may be seeing some sales.
The company has known from the beginning that there wouldn’t be a huge surge in demand for its vehicles from the beginning, so it has taken a practical, low-key, incremental approach to getting its vehicles to dealerships (25 in 15 states, Japan, and Bermuda / the Cayman Islands) and into customers’ hands. That whole “slow and steady” thing.
“We’ve always had a realistic expectation of what the market will be. We build a batch of cars and we sell them,” Wheego CEO Mike McQuary told Alysha Webb of Plug In Cars.
Alysha summarizes McQuary’s thoughts:
In retrospect, it makes sense, he said. Retirees are on a fixed income and don’t want to face fluctuating fuel costs; their travel needs are often local; and they are just a couple so don’t need backseat space. Gated communities haven’t been big customers. They generally buy low-speed electric vehicles, while “ours are fully-fledged Department of Transportation-approved cars,” said McQuary.
The big recent news from the company (which largely went uncovered) is that it is going to start offering an electric SUV soon. The body being manufactured in China while the parts come from the US. The SUV is supposed to sell for $44,000 — that’s the aim. The electric SUV is projected to be on the market within the year.
Sales of the Whip and LiFe have not been revealed by the company, nor have any financials. However, the company reportedly has about 40 investors.
Beyond the initial US market, Wheego is now looking to target the growing Chinese EV market (while also taking advantage of low-cost manufacturing). “Within 12 months there will be a Wheego assembly line in China,” McQuarry said. “We should be assembling and selling cars there.”
One final interesting thing to note is that McQuarry is no stranger to jumping into a nascent technology market showing (and projected to benefit from) rapid growth. McQuarry is the co-developer and president of the well known internet service provider Mindspring. Additionally, while the company has about 40 investors, McQuarry thinks he’s still the company’s largest shareholder.
Have any thoughts on Wheego or its upcoming electric SUV? (Yes, I realize we don’t have many details on it just yet.)
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