Do you think wheelchairs can't be versatile? For those wheelchair users who love the great outdoors and adventuring over rugged terrain, look no further that the latest invention in this line, the incredibly all-purpose Ziesel electric tank-wheelchair (also known as an off-road driving machine). This recent design model from the Austrian company Mattro is a very tough and specialised wheelchair with rubberised tracks which can tackle all types of terrain and weather conditions. It doesn’t just have to be driven on roads and flat surfaces - it is just as at home on snow as on mud, sand and grass. It can handle cross-country ski-ing tracks, beaches, hiking trails and dunes.
The Ziesel is a kind of cross between a tank, mobility scooter and a wheelchair, and is the latest project from the engineering company Mattro, an Austrian mobility business which specialises in mounting off-road tracks to vehicles used for farming and construction. Now all the collective engineering skill of the company has been put to good use in this rugged all-season, all-terrain, electric vehicle which works just as well on snow as it does on all other surfaces. It is designed to be suitable for those who have mobility problems and habitually use wheelchairs but can be used by just about anyone.
It weighs in at a hefty 460 pounds and two ecological permanent magnet synchronous motors drive the tracks, which give out 21 horsepower and 30-pound feet of torque (the measure of turning force for the device). The 6 kWh battery keeps it running for usually around 4-5 hours, although that time will be halved if it is used constantly at its top speed of 22 mph.
A high-precision joystick located on the armrest controls everything, which means that steering, braking, reversing and acceleration are all done single-handedly and there are three settings to modify performance to suit the surroundings.
It can also double as a kind of snow buggy: it has a coloured tubular steel frame, which you can customise, brushed metal mud guards, sculpted wooden arm rests, a metallic paint option, and the sort of attention to detail which the Austrians excel at, including rollover protection, which naturally is a highly desirable safety feature.
However all of this level of fit and finish does not come cheap: prices for the Ziesel start at €21,710 (nearly £30 000 or $29,550) and that is not including the $1,500 charger and tow bar to turn it into a snowmobile! (it can also transport large loads).
So there you have it - plenty of outdoor fun to be had here for wheelchair-users with the cash to splash on a really deluxe chair!
I hope that you got something from this blog and your votes and comments are much appreciated.
Picture courtesy of www.designboom.com