EQUAL: A Compact Electric Vehicle Specially Designed for People with Disabilities
A new eco-friendly vehicle from Absolute Design could make independent, low-emission transportation possible for people who utilize a wheelchair. Most of us can’t even imagine what life would be like with a disability. We take walking, running, driving a car, and playing with our kids for granted, but for those who must spend much of their day in a wheelchair, these things are a challenge. Although accessibility has improved drastically over the past few decades, many things–especially vehicles–just aren’t designed with a disabled person in mind. That’s all about to change thanks to Equal, an electric vehicle concept that’s currently gathering funding on Indiegogo.
Based in Croatia, Absolute Design was founded by professional transportation designers Vedran Martinek and Dario Dropucic, both of whom are passionate about delivering vehicle designs that are accessible by all. “We launched this campaign because our project has great potential and now’s the right time for us to present our own vehicle to the world; the vehicle that has purpose and will significantly change lives of disabled people,” writes the pair on Equal’s crowd-funding page.
At first glance, the Equal looks a lot like the tiny smart cars that have become fairly common, especially in big cities around the world. What makes this vehicle different is the entry system: instead of two doors located on the side, the entire back end of the car raises to allow a disabled person to navigate their wheelchair into the vehicle without assistance.
“Because of the innovative construction and the use of electric hub motors in the back wheels, there is no need for any mechanical linkage between the wheels. That allowed us to make a clear path for the disabled person to simply and independently enter his/her car without ever exiting the wheelchair,” explain the designers. Once seated inside, it’s nearly impossible for people outside the vehicle to tell that the driver is disabled, something that the designers felt was important for those who are tired of standing out in a crowd because of their physical limitations.
But a rear entryway isn’t the only thing that sets the Equal apart. The driving system boasts an adjustable steering wheel with a spinner knob for easier one-hand steering. It also includes the Autoadapt Carospeed Menox, an intuitive hand control device that is used to accelerate or brake. The interior, while modern and stylish, includes rails and handles that the person uses to enter and exit the car. There’s also an impressive amount of easily-accessible storage space, something that most conventional smart cars don’t offer.
The campaign, which has just about two months to go, hopes to raise $150,000 to develop the Equal for commercial sale.
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