Affordable personal mobility for wheelchair bound drivers has taken a step closer to reality with the announcement of financing and priority reservation systems.
Kenguru is a unique electric city car specifically designed for quick and easy access by individuals in wheelchairs, by simply rolling in through the rear-entry liftgate, docking the wheelchair and locking it in, belting in and then driving away using standard hand controls.
Roughly the size of Smart Fortwo and weighing in at 500 kg (curb weight), the front-wheel drive car features emergency doors on each side and modern auto amenities — Bluetooth connectivity, climate control, power windows and rearview camera, among others. It also includes a jump seat for a passenger.
Initially proposed three years ago, the Kenguru was recently unveiled at the REHACARE 2015 show in Dusseldorf, Germany in fall 2015, as it readies for a 2016 launch.
The heart of the vehicle is the KLD OneDrive, consisting of two 7.5 kW electric motors that put out a combined 400 lb-ft of torque (to take the low-speed vehicle to its top speed of 40 km/h in about five seconds). It’s rated by the manufacturer at the equivalent of 255 miles per gallon (0.92 L/100 km equivalent), and a range of 80 km on a full charge that reportedly takes six hours, using a standard household outlet (or can be upgraded to wireless charging for $2,995). The 6 kWh lithium-ion battery is housed under the floor.
And it’s all covered by a 5-year warranty.
The car is expected at select dealerships in the U.S. (as part of the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association, or NMEDA) in 2016, with an initial production run of 1,000 cars. It’s expected to come in at $24,995 U.S. Potential buyers can reserve a place in line at the vehicle’s website kenguru.com/reserve with no deposit required, or they can go on a priority list for as little as $750 (which comes with a $1,000 credit) up to $1,250 (with a $2,500 credit).
Kenguru says it expects that once all incentives are factored in, the car will be available at little or no cost to disabled veterans (taking into account the US’s Veterans Administration Automobile Allowance that provides a grant toward the purchase of a vehicle, as well as its modifications and enhancements.