Rimac Automobili is no stranger to our pages, but it's usually for the Concept_One supercar or its sleek spinoffs. Today, though, the company is talking up a feel-good alternative use for the electric vehicle's batteries: powering a wheelchair for a young fan, Rolly Bugnar, who suffers from a serious and legitimate case of range anxiety.

"We were confident that we could relatively quickly adapt our battery for a wheelchair." – Mate Rimac

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."

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.

Show full PR text
Rimac Technology in Wheelchair

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:

Sportscars
Future mobility
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."


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 27 Comments
      Kevin Potts
      • 4 Months Ago
      Great to see this happening, this perfect example of cutting edge technology used for problem-solving, as opposed to using new technology for luxury and leisure. Now if someone out their can help Rolly Bugnar with some much needed suspension for his chair.
        Camaroman101
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Kevin Potts
        yeah, those brick and stone paved roads look like a harsh ride
      This Guy ...
      • 4 Months Ago
      Coming off of a bad day, this brings a tear to my eye and smile to my face...
      Brodz
      • 4 Months Ago
      He said the batteries and new found power had reached the limit of the wheelchair, and he wants better stability, and capability. It'd be great to see Ferrari or McLaren to make him a carbon fiber wheelchair chassis.
        Narom
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Brodz
        Got me thinking if i could repurpose my mums wheelchair when she gets a new one...
      Roy Roddey
      • 4 Months Ago
      Nice job Rimac!
      Narom
      • 4 Months Ago
      Well the real autoblog is exactly where i saw this...
      11fiveoh
      • 4 Months Ago
      That floating head is crazy
      Ross
      • 4 Months Ago
      I could definitely see that nut Rush Limbaugh say "why buy a Chevy volt when a wheelchair has identical range?"
      BB91103
      • 4 Months Ago
      He need to write Lotus and ask them to design a suspension for that wheelchair then he could really have some fun.
      Brodz
      • 4 Months Ago
      Great human interest piece. It also helps people to see a bit of Rimac's facility and the work they're doing there. It's also great advertising for the company, and we see it's not just vaporware. I'm interested to see more from Rimac Automobili.
      Julio B
      • 4 Months Ago
      I wish more companies did more projects like this for PR instead of spending millions on TV ads. I will remember this and the Rimac name for a long time but I don't even watch TV anymore.
      Technoir
      • 4 Months Ago
      Tesla need to buy this company and hire all its staff.
        citidriver
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Technoir
        Interesting side note: Nikola Tesla was born in what is now Croatia. Great company, Mate!
      Ross
      • 4 Months Ago
      Well, with a range like that I can see many people who aren't physically handicapped buying this product.
    • Load More Comments