Saturday, December 10, 2011

WHILL Turns Manual Chair Into Powerchair

WHILL, a Japanese mobility company, recently debuted a prototype of their WHILL personal mobility device at the Tokyo Motor Show.  The premise for this device is to give wheelchairs who may not necessarily need a powerchair full-time but could use the power for traveling long distances.  It seems that this could only be used outside as this would significantly add width to the chair when in use.  More information and images after the jump.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bridgestone Shows Off Air-Free Tires On A Scooter

Air-free tires are not a new idea in the world of wheelchairs and scooters as foam-filled and solid-rubber tires have been available as options.  Solid tires are extremely durable and the worry to maintain optimal tire pressure or even a puncture is not there.  Despite this, there are a number of people who prefer conventional pneumatic tires due to the better ride that a solid tire could never offer.  What if there was an option that allowed a wheelchair/scooter user to have the ride of a pneumatic tire with the benefits of a solid tire?  Bridgestone has recently demonstrated their solution with their Air-Free tire.  More info after the jump.

Ford To End Production of Econoline, Replaced By Transit in 2013

Ford has announced that the Econoline, the full-size that is widely used in North America for wheelchair vans, medical transports, and taxis, will end production and be replaced by the Transit in 2013.  The Econoline has been sold in North America for decades and has become the mainstay of wheelchair vans, becoming the full-size vehicle of choice when one's wheelchair does not fit into a minivan.

The Transit is not a bad replacement at all.  Outside North America, it shares the same reputation as the Econoline and performs exactly the same purpose.  To prove its capabilities, Ford has been putting the van through the same tests to ensure that the Transit can handle the same abuse that the Econoline has been subjected to for decades.  With a variety of lengths, heights, engines, and even the choice of front or rear wheel drive, the Transit should be able to fill the big shoes in the wheelchair van market that will be left when the Econoline production finishes.