An electric car may not be what many wheelchair users would consider as an option when shopping for a new vehicle, until now. Have you heard about the Kenguru? The Kenguru is a small, electric car, giving wheelchair users another option to get to where they want to go.
After being in development for many years, the Kenguru is soon coming to production in the UK. This vehicle is unique in that it isn’t just an electric car that is accessible for a wheelchair user; it was specifically designed with the wheelchair user in mind!
So how does it work?
The car features a back hatch that completely opens from the ground up, allowing the driver to enter and exit the vehicle without having to leave their wheelchair.
Instead of a traditional steering wheel, the driver controls the vehicle completely with their hands via motorcycle-style handlebars. Because of this, it only requires the driver to hold a scooter license to drive it (drivers should check international licensing laws).
Here’s some of my personal favorite benefits that the Kenguru provides:
- It’s environmentally friendly.
- It’s cost-effective. This vehicle doesn’t require the user to purchase a large van with expensive lifts which can often cost several thousands of dollars.
- You can drive from the seat of your chair without having to enter and exit or worry about purchasing additional lifts or other equipment to load, unload or transport your wheelchair.
- The handle-bar style steering design doesn’t require the driver to have to install hand controls or adjustments to pedals.
- There’s no worry about having to hop curbs or look for a parking spot near curb cuts because the car’s design allows you to back up flush to curbs and roll right out onto the sidewalk.
Some potential downsides I noticed:
- While the compact design may provide ease of mobility, you can’t beat the increased safety and stability that a larger vehicle can provide on the road.
- There’s no back seats or passenger seats so while the vehicle allows ease of entry and exit for the driver, it would be most functional for single individuals and not families.
- Like most electric cars you have to charge it. The Kenguru requires 8 hours of charging so you have to make sure you plug it in often and have enough charge to get to where you are going.
Overall, I think the Kenguru provides a great option for people with disabilities, especially for people who live in small towns or large cities to get around from place to place. While the Kenguru might not be the best option for families or if you need to travel long distances, it’s worth checking out next time you are looking for a new vehicle option.
Watch a demo of the Kenguru here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ry89HBh70C0
What do you think of this new design? Is the Kenguru something you would consider when purchasing a new vehicle? Share in the comments!
*photo courtesy Flickr Creative Commons