So Bugnar contacted Rimac to see if the company could repurpose its batteries for his daily conveyance. Mate Rimac, the company founder and CEO, said, "Since we have already used the technology originally developed for the Concept_One supercar in other products like the high-performance Greyp Bikes, we were confident that we could relatively quickly adapt our battery for a wheelchair. ... It still took us months of development and adaptation, but we are all very satisfied with the performance and reliability of the prototype system."
"We were confident that we could relatively quickly adapt our battery for a wheelchair." – Mate Rimac
What did Rimac do? It took the li-ion battery system from that Greyp G12 bike as well as the company's battery management system, vehicle control unit and human machine interface. As you might suspect, the wheelchair now has better range (37 miles vs. just six with the old lead acid batteries) and weighs less. The new batteries went from 70 pounds down to 47, and the EV has more consistent power, too. You can tell Bugnar is a true EV fan, since he likes to keep close tabs on the individual cells and he wishes his wheelchair could go faster.
Sadly, Rimac Automobili doesn't have a plan to sell any wheelchairs like this, but we expect a lot of wheelchair users would enjoy a new ride like Bugnar's. See what we mean in the video below. It might be the most heartwarming seven minutes you'll spend online today.
Sveta Nedelja, July 22nd , 2014. – Rimac Automobili has proven once again that technology developed for electric supercars can be used in various applications. An adapted battery system was integrated into a standard wheelchair in order to improve the user's quality of life. The new battery system drastically increases the range, reduces weight, improves overall performance and drastically reduces the environmental impact of battery-powered wheelchairs.
Rimac Automobili has the ambition to spread their technology into different products – wheelchairs are just one of many potential applications. Mate Rimac, founder and CEO: "Rolly Bugnar, a young and extremely bright young man, contacted us to help him improve his wheelchair. Since we have already used the technology originally developed for the Concept_One supercar in other products like the high-performance Greyp Bikes, we were confident that we could relatively quickly adapt our battery for a wheelchair. All our systems are designed with modularity in mind. We have chosen to take the Greyp G12 battery system, Battery Management System (BMS), Vehicle Control Unit (VCU) and Human Machine Interface (HMI) as the base for this project. It still took us months of development and adaptation, but we are all very satisfied with the performance and reliability of the prototype system."
The comparison between the old battery and the Rimac system is unveiling the potential of this technology. The range was increased from 10 km to 60 km. The battery weight was reduced from 31,7 kg to 21,1 kg while the projected lifetime is increased 10 times. According to Rimac's predictions, the new battery system will last for 10 years without loosing any capacity while the traditional wheelchair batteries have to be replaced every year. Combined with the recyclability of Lithium batteries, this solution does not only improve the life quality of the wheelchair user, but significantly reduces the environmental impact of electric wheelchairs.
For Rimac Automobili this was a pilot project with no plans for commercialization. Monika Mikac, COO of Rimac Automobili elaborates: "Our company is based four different pillars:
Electric vehicle technology
Engineering and prototypes
We are already quite diversified, entering the wheelchair market would be an entirely different field for us and. Before any steps towards commercialization, we will have to do further studies."