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Wheego CEO Says Electric-Car Company Survives “Hand to Mouth”

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2011 Wheego Whip LiFe electric car

2011 Wheego Whip LiFe electric car

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Atlanta-based Wheego Electric Cars Inc may have just delivered its first all-electric two-seat LiFe, but it is also fighting for its life. 

Talking candidly to Lindsay Chappell from Automotive News, Wheego CEO Mike McQuary painted a bleak picture of the firm and its future.  

“My constraint is primarily capital,” McQuary said. “We’ll be living hand-to mouth as we try to get the first cars built. The next 200 will creep out as we raise money.”

The shocking disclosure is hardly what you’d expect from a company hoping to make it big in the world of electric vehicles - but perhaps one more suited to a company on the verge of something altogether more dire.

Wheego’s highway-capable LiFe retails for a massive $33,995, making it more expensive than both the 2011 Nissan Leaf and 2012 Mitsubishi ‘i’, both of which have substantially more dealer support than the startup could possibly hope to provide. 

Right now, the firm has a more immediate need: cash. 

Without much-needed investment, the firm cannot even purchase the parts it needs to build cars. A lack of crash-worthiness testing before March meant that the firm’s search for capital was almost impossible. 

Having now passed U.S. Department of Transportation tests, McQuary hopes someone will invest to enable the firm to stay alive. 

We’d like to think investors would jump at the chance to back an electric-vehicle firm, but without a major redesign to improve ride quality, specifications or lower the sticker price we remain skeptical. 

Is Wheego fighting for its very survival? Is there life for its 65 mph LiFe? Let us know in the Comments below. 

[Automotive News (subscription required)]

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Comments (10)
  1. So, how can we help?
     
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  2. “My constraint is primarily capital,”
    No, your primary constraint is trying to sell a Chinese golf cart for more than a Nissan Leaf.
     
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  3. @Michael,
    Don't try importing importing it into Germany!
    http://green.autoblog.com/2011/05/02/in-germany-daimler-crushes-a-wheego-ev-in-defense-of-intellectu/
     
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  4. Hm... based solely on the autoblog.com story about the vehicle being crushed by German customs, it appears to me that Mike McQuary's primary constraint is that he is basing his product on a platform that Daimler alleges is a pirated version of it's design. It doesn't matter what Mike or the Chinese company believes; the company is uninvestable until the ownership of the design is resolved, by mutual agreement or in the courts. Just my opinion based on one article :)
     
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  5. I'm always candid, and with Lindsay Chappel I was overwhelmingly optimistic and upbeat about the future of Wheego. We can not only "survive", but we can (albeit slowly) thrive on our current cash. We are raising money to accelerate our success. We have effectively moved from "risk" capital to the "growth" capital arena. This is typical of a start up company in a fast growing sector. Golf cart??? The LiFe is a unibody steel constructed automobile that has passed all DOT crash tests. Its content is 30% from China. Wheego has never exported any cars to Germany- it was one of our dealers. There is no dispute with Daimler as to the ownership of the design, we exchanged letters with them over a year ago and it resolved the issue. Away Wheego!
     
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  6. It puts me in the mind of the old days of "Monday Night Football". When the game was irretrievably on ice, "Dandy Don" Meredith would trot out his rendition of "Turn Out The Lights, The Party's Over". I haven't watched "Monday Night Football" since he and "Humble Howard" Cosell retired, LOL.
     
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  7. Those who compare the Wheego to a golf cart have obviously never driven one ( easy to be a couch critic ). Furthermore, dont't compare it to other electric cars that are not even available in most parts of the U.S. Anyone else have an 100% EV with over 75% domestic content....available now?
     
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  8. I have driven one of these smartcar chinese knockoffs, believe you me they suck. Fiberglass cordless drill go cart with wheels. If they think they can take a $2500 chinese shell, put $10K worth of batteries in it and sell it for $34K no wonder they are having cash flow problems, no one is buying. Where does the 75% of domestic content come from? These WheelGo cars are 100% china end to end.
     
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  9. The Solyndra case proves that the DOE LOAN and ATVM funding was based on pure bribery and lobby manipulation. All of the failure points on Solyndra have been visible for ages so they would not have gotten the money if "real due diligence" had been performed instead of giving the money away to hard-wired campaign contributors.
    Kleiner Perkins put Chu in office as Secratary in order to get favored nations funding for their portfolio companies and keep competitors to those portfolio companies from getting funded. Steve Westly and Kholsa helped them along with Raj Gupta.
     
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  10. Detroit's lobbyists said,” we can’t get you any more taxpayer money because the public knows we are liars” “Tell them we need the money to build electric cars- and then we can BS them into coughing it up” said the lobbyists. The law said that the money was to go to any American car company but it only went to a Japanese company and Detroit. (Tesla is now controlled by Detroit no matter what crap Elon foists off so don't say they are not part of it.)
     
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