Wheego EV Joins Oklahoma City Police Force

Wheego electric cars are now a fixture of Oklahoma City law enforcement after the police authorities bought four of the green friendly vehicles.

The cars will join the parking enforcement unit operating out of the Bricktown Sub-Station, Oklahoma City Police said. The four Wheego Whips will replace two gasoline-fueled vehicles and went into service this month.

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image via Oklahoma City Police Department

The Whip is the first car to come off the production line of Atlanta-based car maker Wheego. The vehicle has a 40 mile range per charging cycle and is equipped with a regenerative power braking system, which extends the driving range.

The four-wheel, two-passenger, front-wheel-drive electric vehicle (EV) is comparable to other subcompact cars on the market, seating two people and running off “sealed lead acid” batteries that can be charged from a regular AC outlet. It is approximately 118.5 inches long, 63.2 inches wide, and 63 inches tall, with a weight around 3,000 pounds.

The car, which first appeared in 2009,  is classified as a “low-speed vehicle,” meaning it can drive on roads with speed limits less than 35 mph. However, a full-speed version of the Whip, known as the LiFe, appeared in 2010. The LiFe has a top speed of 65 mph and can go approximately 100 miles to a charge.

Although Wheego is based in Atlanta all the manufacturing of its EVs is done elsewhere. The bodies of its cars are produced in China at Shijiazhuang Shuanghuan Automobile Co., and then the electric running gear is added at a plant in Ontario, Calif.

The LiFe’s body shape was based on  Shuanghuan’s Noble mini car. In fact the Noble itself looks uncannily like the smart fortwo. So much so that Daimler, the German automaker that owns smart, challenged the Chinese firm in the courts in Europe when Shuanghuan tried to sell its product there. Daimler lost the case.

Paul Willis has been journalist for a decade. Starting out in Northern England, from where he hails, he worked as a reporter on regional papers before graduating to the cut-throat world of London print media. On the way he spent a year as a correspondent in East Africa, writing about election fraud, drought and an Ethiopian version of American Idol. Since moving to America three years ago he has worked as a freelancer, working for CNN.com and major newspapers in Britain, Australia and North America. He writes on subjects as diverse as travel, media ethics and human evolution. He lives in New York where, in spite of the car fumes and the sometimes eccentric driving habits of the yellow cabs, he rides his bike everywhere.