Wheego Whip electric car coming to America in May for $19K

This tiny, all-electric Wheego Whip minicar is destined for U.S. shores this May, beating out a gaggle of other electric cars that might not even make it here by the end of 2010. The $19K plug-in Whip goes 50 miles per charge with a 60 mph top speed, and judging from the performance of its prototype in the video after the jump, its acceleration and speed appear to be sufficiently sprightly for American roads.

The catch? It'll be limited to a poky 35 mph until the U.S. government checks its crashworthiness, and will be designated a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV) until it gets its U.S. mommy's approval. That might not happen until, alas, the seemingly magic date for electro-cars: 2010.

Built by Shuanghuan Automobile in China, the Whip's body will be familiar to Chinese drivers — it's known as an E-Noble in its native land. It's hard to believe this car will be available for sale in 50 dealers three months from now. Given the sorry shape of the U.S. auto industry, this microcar might whip a few car companies into shape.

Via Autobloggreen, Wired, and Trendhunter