There are millions of people who may be confined to wheelchair because of disability. For these people to get around, whether around the house or around town, the electric wheelchair makes things much more convenient.
The idea behind mobility experts’ work is to remove limitations but, for those who love the outdoors, some of the options are pretty limited. The standard electric wheelchair, for example, can’t do much more than tackle the slight incline at the end of the sidewalk, and you can forget about stairs. There is one specialized electric wheelchair, made in France, that can climb straight stairs at up to 65°∡, using tracks mounted under the carriage. What if a company took the tracks idea a little farther?
Mattro, a company in Austria, has been working with tracks for years, retrofitting practically any kind of vehicle to run on tracks, which improves traction and flotation, has turned its attention to the electric wheelchair. The Ziesel, German for squirrel, is an off-road, electric wheelchair that brings fun and freedom to those who would otherwise be bound to the sidewalk or a well-trod and lazy path.
The Ziesel certainly looks like fun and, packed with 6kWh of lithium-ion battery power, can cruise over dirt, snow, [mud?], sand, pretty much anything except water more than a foot deep, at speeds up to 22mph, all controlled by a single joystick. Driven at more moderate speeds, the battery pack can run for up to five hours. According to Mattro, “The paths are different, the people also. The Ziesel takes you to their destination, whether on snow, sand, gravel or asphalt. It is their free choice.” [via Google Translate]
The only thing that might be shocking is the price, somewhere around €21,710 [$29,500US], but I can imagine that parks, resorts, or cross-country ski areas might find this an attractive purchase to draw disabled persons looking for some fun outdoors.
Image © Mattro