New car offers freedom for disabled drivers
Mia’s thoughts- the title above makes broad claims, but when you watch the link for the video attached at the bottom of this story you will question that the wheelchair locks your chair to the floor, you are so closely fitted in if you get t-boned rear ended or involved in a head on or roll over you’re screwed, the front hatch is electronically operated from within and remote from outside? ever had a remote fail on you? ever had an electrical short or a flat battery? if you’re upside down after a crash and your chair is anchored and you survived besides buying a lottery ticket you still have to hope the battery wasn’t disconnected so you can crawl out? I was not a fan of the
Kenguru and this coffin on wheels impresses me even less.
The Czech-produced Elbee is a vehicle designed specifically for wheelchair-bound people, allowing them to drive their car without leaving their wheelchair.
Users board and leave the vehicle without any help using a remote-controlled front door and ramp.
After boarding, the chair is safely anchored inside the car.
Measuring just over 1.30 in width, the car fits vertically into tight parking spaces, offering drivers direct access to the pavement.
“It took three years to finalise the vehicle including all the security elements. Last year, we were able to fine tune it to make sure it fulfills all the needs of wheelchair users,” says Elbee project manager Ladislav Brazdil.
Weighing in at 400 kilos, the Elbee can carry a small load of baggage and reach speeds of up to 80 km per hour.
For many wheelchair users, getting themselves and their chair in and out of their car without assistance
is a real challenge. This kind of vehicle could be life-changing.
“I am really delighted because it gives me a new kind of independence and freedom. I used to have to ask my wife or my son to take me places. Now I can get into my car by myself,” says Elbee user Frantisek Trunda.
The Elbee is the latest in a series of similar vehicles designed for wheelchair bound users.
But independence comes at a price as it will set you back around 15,000 euros.