Car 2.0: an Electric Vehicle for Wheelchair-Bound Drivers Car 2.0: an Electric Vehicle for Wheelchair-Bound Drivers

Car 2.0: an Electric Vehicle for Wheelchair-Bound Drivers

by Sarah Stankorb

August 16, 2012

If you get around in a wheelchair, you often find yourself depending on friends and family for the simplest errands—a trip to the doctor's office, an outing to the movies, even just picking up milk. Stacy Zoern, a former patent lawyer turned car manufacturer, has been in a wheelchair her whole life and understands what a hassle finding transportation can be. 

Now, the Kenguru is in production and will be up for sale in the US market in the next 6-12 months. Priced at $25,000, with electric vehicle tax incentives and vocational, rehabilitation funding, some drivers might be able to get the car for free. It’s a cute little ride that opens in the rear so that drivers can wheel right in and lock their chairs in place. It takes about eight hours to charge the car on an at-home plug (charging stations juice it up faster). On one charge, it can go 60 miles.

It’s not quite highway ready though. Because it adheres to guidelines for low-speed electric vehicles, the Kenguru maxes out at 25 miles per hour. The current model is designed for a manual wheelchair, but the next, joystick operated model will be power wheelchair-ready—development costs for it are being crowd-funded through RocketHub

Zoern, who uses a power chair, is still waiting for the new model to drive the Kenguru herself, but she is proud to build a vehicle that will let people find independence in their everyday lives.

"[Transportation] is a huge obstacle and it doesn’t need to be," says Zoern. "When you create a solution for that, the whole world just opens up."

Sarah Stankorb More Info

Sarah Stankorb's articles and essays have appeared in publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, CNNMoney and Salon, with regular contributions to GOOD. @sarahstankorb
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