The first automobile will be a two-seat compact car that will be launched in the United States in May 2009. It will be marketed exclusively by RTEV under the Wheego Whip name in North America and by Shuanghuan Automobile as the Electric Noble (E-Noble) in the rest of the world.
While the car is capable of speeds of 95 kph (59 mph) it will be sold to different countries specifically designed to meet the safety requirements of the particular country. In the US it will be launched as a Low Speed Vehicle (25 mph max) or Medium Speed Vehicle (35 mph max) depending on local state regulations, until it passes US Department of Transportation safety crash requirements, which is expected sometime in early 2010.
The E-Noble will be manufactured by Shuanghuan at their factory in Shijiahuang. While the Wheego Whip will be based on the Noble platform, it will undergo final assembly, including the motor, drive train, controller, electronic components and be programmed in the US.
The cars will feature dry cell sealed (AGM) lead-acid batteries, which require no maintenance and feature an on-board high tech charger. The car will travel 80 kilometers (50 miles) on a single charge, and plug in for a recharge on any standard household 110 or 220-volt electrical outlet.
There is a perfect storm of macro-events that are causing people around the world to take inventory of their personal habits and their effect on the environment across a wide spectrum which includes transportation, and RTEV is entering the marketplace at this pivotal time.
The long-held assumption has been that electric vehicles are quirky and impractical for everyday use, and are of interest to only a small group of eco-friendly consumers. We believe that our vehicles appeal to a huge market segment and will fill a middle market demand gap at the right time, with the right vehicles, and a with national dealer network to provide service and support.—Mike McQuary, RTEV CEO
McQuary is a former president of internet service providers MindSpring and EarthLink.