Times have changed and the world that we live in is filled with technological wonders. We can reach our destinations with electric vehicles that do not require gas or even with Teslas than can drive themselves. This has become an interesting time to live in. Everything seems to have advanced but transportation still remains an issue f0or several drivers in wheelchairs. Many vehicles offer wheelchair access but it usually takes considerable time and effort to get in and out.
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The Kenguru plays a major role here.
The World’s First Wheelchair Accessible Electric Vehicle
The Kenguru (almost pronounced like Kangaroo) is not only a smart car but is the first EV that was created especially for people in wheelchairs.
The Kenguru has one large door at its side that takes up the entire back panel. Once you press the button, the door opens for direct access to the wheelchair. There are no seats or a trunk in the car, offering much more freedom to the wheelchair.
The process of driving is also simple. The steering wheel is replaced by motorcycle-styled handlebars. The company is also working on a joystick version for those who have more limited upper body strength.
The Kenguru measures 7 feet long and 5 feet high, making it smaller than a Smart Car.
The car only has 3 gears: reverse, neutral, and forward. According to The Next Web, the Kenguru is technically considered an electric scooter, meaning there is no driver’s license required to operate it, making things even more accessible.
When the drivers turn on the ignition, the ramp near the door retracts and the door closes.
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A locking mechanism is also present that secures the wheelchair in place.
This wheelchair-accessible car clocks around 25mph and has a range of 60 miles. The distance and speed are not the main points, but inclusivity is.
The car will allow the people in wheelchairs to enjoy a quick trip to the store or meet up with friends and other simple pleasures.
This car is also quite affordable. An article for Startup Selfie reports that where the car is priced at around $25,000, buyers qualify for a federal “green incentive,” which offers a rebate discount. Some drivers will qualify for the “vocational rehabilitation incentive,” if the Kenguru is considered a work vehicle. In other words, these vehicles could shoot down to anywhere from $20,000 to a flat zero.
Stacy Zoern, who is an attorney in Texas, shared that after her accident she had to depend on others to get around. She scoured the internet to see if technology had improved over the years and was really pleased to discover that it actually had.
There was only one issue with this. The Hungary-based company that developed the Kenguru lost its loan from the bank and was solely relying on fundraising.
Zoern was so impassioned by what Kengura had to offer disabled drivers, that she decided to give them a call, and the rest became a partnership destined for success.
Zoern joined forces with Istvan Kissaroslaki (the vehicle’s original creator) to move the company to Austin, Texas and has worked diligently to gain investors.
By 2014, Kenguru was fully produced in the US. You might have already seen one cruising nearby.
And beyond supply chain challenges (not having the funding to build enough cars for such a heavy demand), Zoern says that the plan is for Kenguru to go worldwide, with dealerships in Spain and Germany showing interest.
This has become an exciting example of how technology can help connect people from all spheres and make the world a better place.