June 17, 2006
Kenguru a car for the disabled
Vehicles for people in wheelchairs aren’t awfully strange, but they’re virtually a transformation of a standard car. Style has rarely been a priority in industrial design for the disabled until now. Designed in Hungary, the Kenguru is a small, electric-power auto specifically designed for wheelchair users. A Kenguru provides a much more maneuverable and efficient mode of local transportation. The car’s interior space has no front seat – just a space built to house the driver’s own wheelchair so all he/she has to do is simply roll in through the extra large car doors and into position. The wheelchair locks into place, within easy reach of the car’s controls which are centered on a joystick. The designer’s goal was to create a vehicle that would be easily used by disabled drivers, with minimal maintenance and reliable operation, all on a platform that used an “environmentally sound energy source.”
Like most electric mini-cars, it has a limited range; up to about 60 kilometers or roughly 35 miles and travels at speeds limited to surface streets up to 40 km/h, or roughly 25 miles per hour. The Kenguru was a top nominee for the 2005 INDEX design award in the “Community” category (won by Architecture for Humanity). The Kenguru is available for $ 12,500 in Hungary and free with healthcare if an individual qualifies.