Handicapped-accessible car design has taken a quantum leap forward in recent times. Now, a Czech Republic-based family business is taking things to a whole new level.
Following the Czech revolution, Mr. Ladislav Brazdil and his partner purchased an aged collective farm hoping to design and sell his own products. What seemed a mere airy hope came to fruition when a design engineer asked him about a concept he had in mind for some time now: an urban micro-car exclusively designed for drivers with disabilities.
Engineering a Better Vehicle: the Elbee Car
That served as the much-needed push for Mr. Brazdil, who deemed his idea as "unique," saying it was something he and his partner could build in parts as an engineering business. Besides, he believed it promoted their personal development as a manufacturing business.
Mr. Brazdil and his two sons left no stone unturned in the bid to make their big dream come true. Their family business, Elbee Mobility is located in Lostice, a small town in the Olomouc district of North Moravia, the Czech Republic.
Elbee Mobility is now making its own Elbee cars and is planning to expand its business globally.
Addressing Common Accessibility Problems
The Elbee is definitely not your run-of-the-mill vehicle. Opening right from the front, it allows the driver to ride straight into it with his/her wheelchair. The car's front-end opening is an innovation that increases the self-reliance of wheelchair users who drive.
Getting in is relatively easy as well. All they need to do is back up a ramp into the vehicle, fastened the wheelchair, and step on the gas.
Other wheelchair accessible vehicles do not address the problem of needing to tuck the wheelchair. Users incapable of doing this seemingly hard task themselves due to lack of strength would have to depend on another person's help.
Moreover, drivers can park this compact car on the street facing the sidewalk. In other words, they can just ride out with safety surrounded by pedestrians.
This one-of-a-kind concept helped catapult the Brazdils and the Elbee among the 100 bright ideas in Central and Eastern European countries back in 2015.
Elbee Mobility was actually a branch of the business ZLKL, which is a Czech abbreviation for Lostice Light Construction Works. It’s worth noting, the business was not originally associated with building cars.
With nearly 200 employees, now, the family business has an annual income in the upwards of 350 million CZK, which converts to more than a whopping 14 million US dollars.
Buying an Elbee Car
The current price of the vehicle is about $25,000 US dollars, but it can be reduced by two-thirds with the help of different subsidies and reliefs. Although modifying a regular car is still easy on the pocketbook, the roads of Europe are brimming with Elbee cars.
With the advent of Elbee, some people have not only begun learning to drive but are also getting their strength and ability back, according to Mr. Ladislav Brazdil Jr.
While an Elbee car can get you where you need to go in comfort and style, there's always the matter of staying comfortable for the other 1/3rd of life that is spent horizontal in a bed asleep. That's where a quality hi-low home hospital bed can make all the difference.
Image credit: (Image: MichaelGaida / Pixabay)