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When it comes to getting around in a wheelchair, options are limited. There are wheelchair-accessible vans, but over that past 10 years the costs to convert a vehicle to accommodate a driver and their chair has gone up to about $80,000. Wouldn't it be great if there was a less bulky, more stylish option for getting around town? Texas-based lawyer Stacy Zoern started with the idea to bring personal, green transportation to those in wheelchairs after finding the Kenguru EV online. She discovered that this unique vehicle had been produced in Hungary, but that the company had run out of funding. Zoern put together a business plan, raised $2 million and bought the company, bringing all parts and manufacturing to the U.S. Once all the parts were in place, she incorporated Community Cars, in Pflugerville, Texas.

The Kenguru is an all-electric city car with a major selling point: a rearward ramp allowing drivers to roll in with their wheelchairs and fasten directly to safety equipment from their chair. Zoern says that the Kenguru will allow many who can't afford the big vans to travel in small urban areas.

The Kenguru has a max speed of 25 mph and a range of 60 miles. We imagine seeing this used in small cities where going 25 mph wouldn't be a problem for other motorists. The Kenguru is so compact that it would likely fit in most bike lanes.

An 8-hour charge is required to fully recharge the Kenguru, but after the wait--and as we experienced--the Kenguru is a lot of fun to drive. The EV is driven by two permanent magnet motors outputting 2 kW each power the rear 12 x 2.2-inch wheels. Our drive impressions of the Kenguru are mostly positive in that the car has good pickup and turns quickly, displaying agile handling. Beyond drive impressions, the car works to solve many of the problems wheelchair users have when commuting.

KENGURU

By locating throttle and brakes on the steering handlebars (similar to a four-wheeler) the Kenguru allows people without the use of their legs to control the vehicle. Currently in development is a joystick-controller that will let those with limited arm strength to drive. This is the ultimate goal for Zoern, as she is unable to drive without the joystick model. She has Spinal Muscular Atrophy and has never walked.

The price of the Kenguru is $25,000, but there are many government incentives--both for EVs and folks with disabilities--that can reduce the costs to $20,000 or, in some cases, free.

Community Cars is in need of further funding to meet demand and make the dream of a joystick drive Kenguru a reality.



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  • 22 Comments
      • 2 Years Ago
      We were hit with a $500 insurance increase for my wife's Honda. Both of us have a perfect driving record with no claims ever. Shocked by this increase I went online to get some quotes for her car. The two sites I first visited were actually more expensive than our new rate, but then I found ( http://bit.ly/SaveonInsurance ) I got a quote within minutes and ended up saving over $300 on our car insurance!
      GEORGE RUTTER
      • 2 Years Ago
      I love it. I would love to have one. I have to depend on my wife to get to places.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Nice site AOL! Really enjoyed seeing all the new technology. Now if we could only get America fully onboard!!!
      • 2 Years Ago
      My sister is totally dependant on others to get around and lives in the country, where there are no buses or other assistance. How would she go about getting one of these? She is on a very, very limited income. She is so depressed most of the time about being at the mercy of others. She is 63.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I want to get one of those cars! I am in a power chair and I hate to have to depend on others to get to places. Please tell me where the line starts!!
      dkp50
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wonderfull Idea- Why Not Have Medicare Pay for one as well, just like they do for a Elec. Scooter? They get $6k from Medicare for those Scooters, why not the same for one of these? If you get a Scooter? You also have to spend $30k or more for a Big Enough VAN or SUV to Put it in and transport it..
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think the Kenguru has been a long time coming. My brother-in law had to have his legs amputated so, a wheelchair was his life. He could not go far. In the winter he could not get anywhere.My brother-in- law could have got out of his house and went around town and to his favorite fishing spot. He had to wait for people to come and see him . He also had to wait for people to drive him to the store. Unfortunantly he has passed. PLEASE, if you have the means to help, please do.The world could be a better place. Giving back the independence, to people, that only dream about it.
      jac848
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is such a great idea i wish i had the money for one or my insurance would cover it.. I have been in this wheelchair for right at 20 years now and i have built myself a few golf carts i could use but i couldn't go the the store only two miles away for all legal reasons and it seems everyone is all to busy to take time out for me so i do without lots of thing i do need for a week or more, Maybe after these have been out a while i can find a used one out there to save on..
      GEORGE RUTTER
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think if they made them affordable,you would see them on the roads. I would love to have one.
        dkp50
        • 2 Years Ago
        @GEORGE RUTTER
        1. Medicare pasy $6,000 towards a SCOOTER 2. And you also need another $25-$35k for a Big Enough SUV or van to transport it 3. Why not the same towards One of these instead? I have a Nice Big Elec. wheelchair Scooter, but It sits in my Garage most of the Time, and only can use around me Neighborhood Why? No way to Transport it to use it to go shopping or into town or anywhere else for that matter. Haven't got $30k to buy a Van For it..
      dkp50
      • 2 Years Ago
      Just get it Medicare Approved and like the Scooter, can pay upto $6,000 towards it..! and Alot Better than getting a Scooter and then need a Van to Transport it..
      • 2 Years Ago
      How can I get on the waiting list?? I have very limited transportation available and this would be an answer to my prayers!
      • 2 Years Ago
      I have been in a power chair since 06. I have a truck that picks up my chair and puts in the back end. But I am no longer able to get myself inside the truck. This sounds like a great solution to me. I want something for the local area. I hope that this can get going... I am a big woman so this size will not work for me...and the power chair is heavy as well. But I am really excited that you are working on it. I will keep reading to see how this progresses..
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