With our ‘D List‘ articles we keep you updated on new/trendy/stylish designs in the world of disability. This time, as an end of year treat!?, we’re looking at ways to look ‘smart and fast’ with power wheelchairs and mobility devices, (previous articles are here). 2017 was rather disappointing in this respect, as the revolutionary Genny device, based on Segway technology went out of business (they’re still available for sale but the company no longer exists). However, the good news is that the WHILL Personal Electric Vehicle or PEV, is finally on sale in the UK (it’s also available in the USA & Japan) through TGA Mobility and I got the chance to trial it. See the video below……
We will be undertaking a longer trial at the end of January for a month and will report back fully then. In the meantime the initial review is positive for the following reasons:
- The look is much more stylish and sleek than a normal electric wheelchair and the minute I tried it I wanted one!
- It’s not a wheelchair it’s a PEV (Personal Electric Vehicle)
- It takes up no more space than my manual wheelchair, in fact it’s narrower at 23.6″.
- The control is very easy to use and is hidden in the arm. It took me minutes to get to grips with it.
- The turning circle is amazing, you can turn on the spot which will help with wheelchair dancing!!
- It has removable arms for transfers and the footplate folds up if you’re able to stand to transfer
- The seat moves back and forwards to aid transfer.
- Third party backrests can be fitted as well as seat cushions
- The battery lasts for 10-12 miles
- It can’t tilt back to a resting position and it’s too heavy to lift up any unforeseen stairs but this is the same for any electric chair. The maximum incline it can accomodate is 3″ – may not be enough for some London streets??
The cost is between £10 and £12k. We’ll let you know more after an extended trial in Jan/Feb 2018, when we’ll test both indoors and outdoors.
Rather than just an electric wheelchair there are a number of ways to ‘power’ your wheels. They’re cheaper and still allow you to propel and maintain some upper body strength. Here are some of the different types of powered wheels:
First there are the electric hubs (our previous power pack reviews are here) that can be fitted to your wheelchair such as Twion and E Motion both produced by Alber and available from most wheelchair suppliers. These make the wheel easier to push faster and further. The battery operates with a sensor that engages when you push the wheel rim. It’s installed as a wheel that replaces your current wheel and fits most wheelchairs.
However, a more attractive design is to hit the market is the Nino One motorised power wheel from Nino Robotics. It has a more streamlined appearance and as you can see from the video it’s definitely for an active wheelchair user………….
Compared to the Firefly, 11.2 kg and Batec Mini, 13kg, it weighs less at 9.8kg. All have a battery range of approx 15 km depending on terrain. The Nino is available in the UK from 2020 Mobility and costs £2,750-£2,900. Further international dealers can be found on this link.
That’s the round up for now and we hope 2018 will bring more new, attractive, stylish and reasonably priced mobility developments – A New Year Wish!! But more importantly, we wish you all a Happy and Healthy 2018……….see you on the other side.