in 2012, Green Wheels, an eco-friendly car dealership in Chicago, sold "a ton" of Think City electric vehicles. Well, a ton for an underdog electric vehicle like the City, anyway, according to Green Wheels owner Doug Snower. The actual number was more like 50. Now, with the slow fade of Think – and the fact that Snower can't get any BYD e6 or Coda Sedans to sell – Green Wheels is gearing up to sell the Wheego LiFe alongside used hybrids and other used cars. The company has also sold 15 Mitsubishi i EV to the State of Illinois.

Green Wheels sells cars out of a remodeled abandoned gas station on Western Ave. in Chicago that opened up two years ago. Green Wheels signed up with Wheego in January but will not be selling the slow, neighborhood version of the LiFe, the Whip. The highway-speed LiFe MSRP is $32,995, with air conditioning being a $1,995 option. Thanks to a 30-kWh battery pack, the car qualifies for the full $7,500 federal tax credit. Given the other, cheaper pure EV options on the market, Snower told AutoblogGreen that, "we're going to have a little sit down with Wheego."

"We're going to have a little sit down with Wheego."

To name just one direct competitor, take the all-electric Smart ED, which starts at $25,000 (before incentives). The Wheego is a converted Shuanghuan Noble, and it is thus a little big bigger than the all-electric Smart ED. It also has a much larger battery pack (the Smart ED has a 17.6-kWh pack) and is unofficially rated at 90 miles on a charge, compared to the 68 miles for the Smart ED.

To go along with the EVs, Green Wheels also offers solar-powered charging stations and will soon focus on promoting charging units from French company DBT. DBT has installed thousands of charging stations across Europe, but is just now starting to sell them in the US. Green Wheels' solution adds in BYD solar panels for a truly emissions-free drive. Green Wheels also sells charging units from Coulomb, Schneider and Blink, and has already installed "dozens" of solar-powered stations.

But the main focus is the cars, and Snower was noticeably disappointed that, after all the brands he's tried to sell, Wheego is the only one left. He said he could easily sell Coda Sedans, but the troubled California automaker has pulled back to the west coast and the local Coda representative simply can't get Snower any vehicles to sell, Snower claimed.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 11 Comments
      Warren
      • 2 Days Ago
      2WM, From Wiki, Smart Fortwo Cd is .38, and frontal area is 59.6" x 61.0" =~25.2 sq. ft. So CdA is about 9.6 sq. ft. Nissan Leaf comes to about 8.3 CdA Don't have figures for the Wheego, but if it is bigger, as stated above, it certainly isn't any better. Just look at the EPA highway MPGe for the Smart Fortwo ED. At 93, it is worse than the Ford Focus EV, and the 60 kWh Tesla S.
      David Murray
      • 2 Days Ago
      I think there will be a place for an "all EV dealership" but they'll have to wait a few years until more used EVs and PHEVs start showing up in the market and the auctions.
      Spec
      • 2 Days Ago
      30KWH in that little car? Wow. And for only $32K too. But only 90 mile range with 30KWH in that little car? Something smells there.
        JakeY
        • 2 Days Ago
        @Spec
        It could be that it's extremely inefficient like the Coda. That body style probably won't help in highway efficiency either.
          2 wheeled menace
          • 2 Days Ago
          @JakeY
          It's got a tiny frontal area... i don't see how it could be that bad!
        Warren
        • 2 Days Ago
        @Spec
        The Smart Fortwo ED has an EPA highway MPGe of 93, and the Leaf has a 92, so about the same. The Leaf has a range of 73 on 24 kWh, so 30 kWh is 1.25 x 73 or 91 miles. Where is the mystery?
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Days Ago
        @Spec
        It depends on their capacity usage ratio. Nissan went with a very high utilization. Maybe these guys went more along the lines of the Volt. Low utilization but with better longevity. Or maybe low utilization is needed for the chemistry and/or charge pattern used.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 2 Days Ago
        @Spec
        I really don't see how it could be that inefficient. Even a total worst case scenario car-sized motor will push 82% efficiency peak. They'd be foolish to have a narrow SOC window, that just gives you a big disadvantage on the playing field right now.. Oh well, we'll find it out in time.
      Warren
      • 2 Days Ago
      The Wheego Life, like the Smart, has terrible aerodynamics, which reduce highway efficiency. And adding battery weight reduces city efficiency. The answer for all cars, but especially electrics, where 10-12 kWh (250-300 pounds before BMS, temp control, crash re-enforcement), in real vehicles, is getting the equivalent range of a gallon of gas, is more efficient vehicles. Any engineer knows this. 2002 GM concept http://www.adrianchernoff.com/pages/AUTOnomy_files/shapeimage_13.png 2013 Edison2 next generation VLCe http://www.edison2.com/storage/VLC4%20overhead.png?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1343836131692 The problem is the customers, not the companies!
        2 wheeled menace
        • 2 Days Ago
        @Warren
        So hey, what are the cD and frontal area figures for the wheego and smart car(s)? I guarantee you that the frontal area is tiny and that makes up for the not so perfect cD to a degree. But please tell me if you have any numbers behind this statement.
      ev_ftw
      • 2 Days Ago
      Really? Really? Cause this will end well...