Dear Wheego Enthusiast:
Welcome Cayman Islands Dealer
Welcome to new Wheego dealer John Felder, of Cayman Automotive in the Cayman
Islands. John is the first all-electric dealer in the Caymans. Although EVs can only be
driven on private property in the Caymans today, John has pushed for legislation
allowing EVs on public roads. The legislation finally comes up for vote in September,
thanks to efforts by John and other EV enthusiasts. John also installed the first of
twelve solar charging stations he has planned for the Caymans. Cayman Automotive
will have their first LiFe available for test drives in September.
Wheego will make our third annual appearance at the
Alt Car Expo
in Santa Monica, September 30-October 1.
We will have a LiFe in the Ride-N-Drive – come and take a
Ellis Brooks Auto, our San Francisco Wheego dealer, was on hand at the press
conference as California unveiled their new eco-friendly license plates
Also from California – the South Bay Cities Council of Governments published the
results of their community’s test of the feasibility of low-speed “local use” vehicles,
including the Wheego Whip. Visit their web page
to read preliminary results
(“thumbs up!”) from the study.
News from the Northwest
O’Brien Auto Group is displaying two
Wheego LiFe highway cars at the
Oregon State Fair
, now through
Our Seattle, Washington dealer, MC Electric Vehicles
, unveiled their Wheego LiFe!
The Seattle EV Club took the LiFe for a test drive:
And the SeattlePI
came out for a test drive and photo session too:
All-Electric Wheego LiFe Hits Seattle Street
By Scott Gutierrez, SeattlePI
I recently had the chance to start a new LiFe.
The all-electric Wheego LiFe, that is.
It's the latest electric vehicle to enter the
Seattle market, following last year's fanfare
over the Nissan Leaf and partly-electric Chevy
Volt. The Wheego LiFe was introduced this
month at MC Electric Vehicles, a small
dealership in at 1201 Dearborn Street in the
International District. Jim Johnson, the owner,
invited seattlepi.com to take the LiFe for a spin.
The LiFe is an ultra-compact two-door that zips
along on the power of a 115-volt Lithium-ion
battery pack. It looks like a hatchback that
shrunk in the wash (it does rain a lot here).
Slightly larger than a smart car, it feels surprisingly roomy and sturdy from behind
the wheel. If you're the size of an NBA power forward, it might be tough to squeeze in.
But at 5 feet 11, I felt comfortable. There's room in back to haul groceries, or boxes,
or your dog. The LiFe seems like an ideal car for trips around town. With a maximum
speed of 65 mph, it's Wheego's first highway-ready vehicle. It has a listed maximum
range of 100 miles on a single charge, although Johnson says it probably could reach
120 miles under the right circumstances.
We took it for a jaunt up and around First Hill and down to Interstate 5, but didn't get
to let it stretch due to heavy traffic on the freeway. But when I hit the gas to head
up hills, there was no hesitation in climbing.
Like other electric models, the car runs silently. After turning the ignition, it was tough
to tell if the car was running.
It sells at a base price
$32,995, about $200 more
than the Leaf. Some might
ask why would it be worth
purchasing a smaller car
for a higher price.
(We took the Leaf for
a test drive last year).
"First of all, it has 30,000
watts of power versus
23,000 watts of power,"
"Probably the biggest difference is the Leaf is about 800 pounds heavier. As a result,
we've got more range and acceleration."
The LiFe feelts bit sportier and would make it easier to find parking downtown.
With the LiFe, you might not have to worry about installing a charging station in your
home. The car comes with a Clipper Creek charging pack that can be plugged into a
standard 110-volt garage outlet. It also can plug into a 220-volt outlet and has a
connection for any J1772 public charging station, Johnson said. "I treat it just like a
cell phone. I'm in the habit of plugging in the phone at night and plugging in the car
at night," he said. Recharging an empty battery with the 110-volt plug could take
8 to 10 hours. With a Level 2 240-volt plug-in, it takes about five hours.
The LiFe, like other electric vehicles,
qualifies for a state sales tax
exemption and a federal $7,500
tax credit. It comes with driver
and passenger airbags, anti-lock
brakes, and power windows.
Air conditioning is an option for an
To compare the costs of fueling a LiFe versus a gas-powered car, Wheego's website
provides this calculator
. The vehicle is manufactured in Ontario, Calif. Wheego
headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., also has the Whip, a medium speed electric car that
looks like the LiFe but is designed strictly for neighborhood and city-street travel.
Johnson started his dealership 30 years ago selling construction equipment. After
the oil embargo in the 1970s, he felt inspired to get into a business that helps the
environment. He jumped into the market for plug-in vehicles, with his dealership
focused solely on plug-in vehicles since 2003.
As more electric vehicles enter the market, city and state leaders are trying to build
out a network of fast-charging public stations where drivers can top off if needed. In
addition to the EV project, Seattle received a $500,000 federal grant to install 50
charging stations on city properties. For about 10 years, Johnson commuted from
his Alki-area home in smaller electric vehicles like the ZENN
(Zero Emission No Noise)
with a 35-mile top range. "For a lot of applications, that's all people need," he said.
Some customers use the smaller-class electric vehicles their in-city drives, while
keeping a fossil-fueled car for longer road trips, he said.
"I hadn't bought gas in so long and then I did buy a gallon last year for a mower to
mow a church lawn where I volunteer. The smell was so strong, it almost knocked
me over," he said.
Photos by Joshua Trujillo, SeattlePI
Roadside Assistance for EVs
Two new programs have recently been announced to provide roadside assistance to
EVs that have run out of juice.
AAA has announced a pilot program to rescue depleted EVs for its members. The
program will send a truck able to provide Level 2 charging for about 20 minutes to
a stranded EV – enough to get it back on the road for a few miles, to get to a charge
location. The pilot programs will take place starting late in the summer of 2011 in
Knoxville, Tenn.; Los Angeles; Portland, Ore.; the San Francisco Bay Area; Seattle;
and the Tampa Bay area. Said John Nielsen, the director of AA Auto Repair, Buying
Services and Consumer Information: “While these six areas are part of the initial
pilot program, we’ve had tremendous interest from AAA clubs across the country
to offer this service to their members, and we anticipate expanding the program to
additional areas in the months following initial deployment.” Read more about the
Cross Country Automotive Services is also introducing a mobile charging roadside
assistance warranty program for electric vehicle owners. The program offers
emergency charging assistance – approximately 5 miles of range for as little as
15 minutes of charge – to drivers whose electric vehicle batteries have been
depleted. Level 2 services will be provided through 10 kWh propane-powered
generators mounted on small trailers.
The seven initial markets where the program will be available are: Los Angeles;
Phoenix; Nashville; Portland; San Diego; San Francisco and Seattle. Cross Country
will be adding additional mobile charging units to other areas throughout its national
service provider network across the country. Read more about the Cross Country
Fuel Savings Web Page
How much does it cost to charge an EV? How does that compare to driving a
gas-powered car? We’ve posted a new web page
that answers these questions.
You’ll enter your local electricity costs, gas costs, and the mpg rating of your current
car (we’ve linked to helpful resources if you don’t know those numbers) and a
breakdown of your driving costs and savings is displayed. Here’s an example:
The Wheego LiFe has a 30kw battery pack, so our calculations are based on
100 miles per 30kw. You can find the Fuel Savings Calculator on Wheego.net,
under the “2011 LiFe” tab. Please visit!
Plug In America launches campaign to keep EV charging
stations at Costco
Plug in America recently sent this letter to current and potential members:
A few weeks ago we noticed the Costco chargers disappearing and we started a
grassroots campaign to get the chargers back, to upgrade them with free J1722
chargers, or at the very least, to keep the ones that were still in place.
Plug In America met with Costco executives at their headquarters in Seattle. We
also asked you to write the company a letter letting Costco know how important
these chargers are to the EV community and nearly 1,000 of you did! Yet Costco
still feels that the chargers are not used by their customers, and chooses to seal
electrical conduits so that chargers cannot be easily re-installed in the future.
It wasn’t that long ago that we were watching our cars get crushed by major
industry. Watching our chargers taken away feels all too familiar. Don’t let this
be the first step in disappearing infrastructure. Join Plug In America and make
sure it’s the last.
Visit the Plug In America website
to read the full letter and join the cause!
Become a Wheego fan on facebook– stay in touch!
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As always, we thank you for your support. Please email your questions
and suggestions to email@example.com
The Wheego Team