This electric car is the first of its kind that lets drivers operate it from a wheelchair

Are our systems really accessible?

Take driving, for example. How many disabled people do you know can drive or has the means to do so? Not much right?

YouTube Screenshot – Autoblog

Source:
YouTube Screenshot – Autoblog

For some, accessibility seems like an afterthought but for those who need more empowerment than us, this means the world to them.

In 2010, Stacy Zoern made a fateful call.

A company in Hungary was just packing up because their economy was hard hit. Zoern has been wheelchair-bound all her life. She tried driving once but the cost of doing so proved to be too much.

YouTube Screenshot – Autoblog

Source:
YouTube Screenshot – Autoblog

This boxed her into a life of dependence. Going to the movies needed a call to someone who could pick her up and drop her off. Buying things she needed can’t be done on a whim. Basically, a disabled person’s life can be very reliant on others’ time and effort.

YouTube Screenshot – Autoblog

Source:
YouTube Screenshot – Autoblog

But what if they can be more independent. What if someone made driving much more accessible than automatic ramps and sliding doors?

Zoern called a company making Kenguru.

Kenguru is an electric four-wheeled motorcycle. The idea is to empower wheelchair-bound people by giving them the agency of driving themselves when they need to where they need to.

YouTube Screenshot – Autoblog

Source:
YouTube Screenshot – Autoblog

Kenguru is a capsule-like vehicle in which one can just dock their wheelchair. It might not be much as far as comparison to other vehicles is concerned but it can definitely do the job.

Through this project, disabled persons can be more independent.

The vehicle holds space for one person and their wheelchair. The frame is lightweight which is perfect for its electric motors.

YouTube Screenshot – Autoblog

Source:
YouTube Screenshot – Autoblog

To combine power and steering, the vehicle uses a motorcycle steering handle so control can all be done by hand.

It also has a big red button to kill the engine should the need arise. The Kenguru only needs 8 hours to be fully charged. It definitely was what Zoern was waiting for.

So when she heard that the company was fundraising to continue operations, she jumped in.

In a matter of months, she was able to bring Kenguru to the United States. People who use wheelchairs can now say goodbye to high-cost modified cars because now they have a good alternative to get around.

The car still has a lot of improvements to go through but it has already laid the foundation for how roads can be more accessible to everyone.

Zoern also reiterated how easy it is for one to get a Kenguru unit. As an electric vehicle, the Kenguru is covered by green incentives. Not only that but Kenguru is also marketed as a means to support people with disabilities. This means it’s also covered by incentives regarding rehabilitation and reintegration.

Zoern shared that they will be releasing updates for the model.

They aim to make bigger models and make the Kenguru more accessible by providing joystick options that can be useful for people will less upper body strength.

YouTube Screenshot – Autoblog

Source:
YouTube Screenshot – Autoblog

It may take a while but the Kenguru itself has already been a big step in empowering a sector that we often take for granted. Hopefully, as more technologies emerge, we can make our communities truly accessible.

Watch this YouTube channel’s review on a vehicle for wheelchairs.

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