World’s first all directional drive powerchair to be launched
A new revolutionary powered wheelchair will be unveiled at the 2017 Mobility Roadshow by TGA (NAEC Stoneleigh, 1-3 June 2017, Hall 1, stand B6 and Test Track).
The WHILL powerchair from TGA is a pioneering electric wheelchair known as a ‘Personal Electric Vehicle’ (PEV). The device is sleek, compact, hi-tech and delivers levels of manoeuvrability never seen before in the UK according to the company.
Developed in Japan by former Toyota and Nissan engineers, WHILL has been in production for 18 months, however, it is being introduced to the UK market for the first time by TGA.
In addition to trustworthy 4-wheel-drive (4WD) performance, the WHILL encompasses revolutionary all directional drive and kerb climbing front wheels – the world’s first for powerchair design.
Visitors of the Mobility Roadshow can experience the drivability, comfort and stability first-hand on the TGA test track.
WHILL has been described as an ideal powerchair for style conscious individuals seeking greater independence at home, work or travelling, with the conventional powered wheelchair design being replaced by a cutting-edge PEV concept that is streamlined and modern.
The all-directional front wheels encompass 24 rollers that rotate sideways when turning, meaning the powerchair can turn 360 degrees on its own axis and deliver a turning circle of 71cm. The patented 9.8’ wheels also have the ability to climb 3’’ kerbs to make urban and city environments more accessible.
WHILL also has the capability to power over rougher rural terrain such as sand and gravel, which have traditionally proven to be challenging for powered wheelchairs. The 4WD drive system and large 12.5’’ rear wheels allow it to negotiate uneven surfaces and propel users up a 10-degree slope without loss of stability or traction.
The armrests swing away with minimal effort so users with limited strength or hand dexterity can still achieve easier side transfers and the control joystick comprises of a ‘computer mouse-style’ device that requires minimal pressure to operate and is highly responsive. The control interface can be specified for either left or right-handed operation.
WHILL has a user weight capacity of up to 220lbs (99kg), a manageable top speed of 4mph (6.4kph) and its 2 x 12v 50ah batteries deliver a range of 12 miles (19.3km).
In terms of bespoke seating, WHILL provides a range of specifications so personalised comfort and appropriate postural support is assured. There is a range of heights, depths and angles for the seat, back support, armrests and foot support so the optimum driving position can be achieved through a detailed assessment process before purchase. For easier access to tables and desks, WHILL includes powered seat slide so users can move forward into a more comfortable position when dining or sitting at a workstation.
Daniel Stone, TGA Managing Director comments: “WHILL is a new kind of powered wheelchair, it is a ‘Personal Mobility Vehicle’ that rewrites all previous convention so disabled individuals can access life on their own terms and with confidence. It encompasses unparalleled ergonomics, precision movement, assured stability and remarkable manoeuvrability – all aimed at delivering inclusion and equality. I would like to invite all Mobility Roadshow visitors to come and experience WHILL. Once you sit in it, you will immediately begin to appreciate why this new TGA innovation is so special.”
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