Since MNN's Jim Motavalli reported on a fledgling new electric-car company called Wheego last February, the owners have been busy getting their first model out the door -- and looking towards the future.

Wheego launched their first car, the Whip, this past month for $18,500 -- a high price considering the top speed is a meager 25mph. You also get air-conditioning, power windows, locks, four-wheel disc brakes and an MP3- and iPod-ready stereo. Obviously, with a price tag like that, it's a vehicle that works best in niche markets like universities and resorts.

Wheego President Mike McQuary isn't content to stay niche, however, and has recently raised $1.2 million from private investors -- with an additional $1.3 million expected to come from new pockets. All that fundraising is in an effort to afford expensive federal crash tests; something that will pave the way for a new, faster model. From the article,

“Crash testing is the big wild card,” McQuary said in August. “You’re not sure how many iterations you have to do.”

Once the Whip passes crash-testing, it will be marketed as a full-speed vehicle -- capable of zipping around at up to 65 mph. The full-speed version will have an lithium-ion battery -- capable of reaching about 90 miles on a single charge -- and a more powerful motor.

If successful, McQuary hopes to sell more than 5,000 of the full-speed vehicles next year for $28,500 -- not counting the generous federal tax credits that are sure to bring the price down substantially.

Want more Wheego? Check out their official site here.

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Wheego raises $1.2 million, plans for growth
Expensive federal crash testing to pave the way for faster, more consumer-friendly version.