Winnsboro, SC – Electric Vehicle Manufacturer Wheego Electric Cars, has applied for $15 million in low-interest loans under a new federal program to spur development of the next generation of U.S. fuel-efficient vehicles.
“We are very excited at the opportunity to be able to accelerate our production of electric cars that will provide an economic transportation opportunity to the volatility of gasoline prices, reduce carbon emissions, and ultimately help strengthen U.S. energy security,” said Wheego CEO Mike McQuary. “During this time of economic uncertainty, this special federal lending program is perfectly designed to keep the development of the electric automobile industry on track.”
Wheego applied for the funds under the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Incentive Program (ATVMIP), which was established under Section 136 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). It is intended to spur development of fuel-efficient vehicles and components. The Department of Energy reported 34 applications were filed as of December 31, which was the first deadline for applications. The money is not related to the government bailout of the auto industry.
“While $15 million may seem insignificant versus the hundreds of millions that were applied for by other electric car manufacturers, it is testament to the fact that we are already significantly far along in our development. We will launch Wheego, our electric LSV in May of this year, and expect that we will have a full speed car on the road before the end of 2010. We also have a created a corporate culture that demands a frugal approach to development and manufacturing, and we think that this is crucial to being able to stay competitive versus other manufacturers,” said McQuary.
The Wheego Whip, which will be available through a network of dealers in the spring, is a two-seater that is targeted toward ecologically conscious consumers, and urban commuters who travel 30 miles or less on their daily commute.
“We had the unveiling of our Wheego Whip in early December, and have already received applications from all of the dealers who were in attendance, and want to sell the car in their markets,” said Jeff Boyd, president of the Wheego division. “In my 25 years in the automobile industry, it was as excited as I have ever seen car dealers with any product premiere that I have been involved with. In these tough economic times, dealers have been looking for some good news, and this car looks like it could be it.”