Electric wheelchairs have come a long way in the past few years. Thanks to technological advances, you can now find models with features like omnidirectional wheels, Telsa-like remote summon functionality, and even automatic obstacle avoidance. But even with all these newfangled bells and whistles, most powered wheelchairs still suffer from one glaring fundamental flaw:They’re not particularly easy to transport.
Sure, many of them are capable of driving dozens of miles on a single charge, but they’re also not designed to fit in a car if you should ever need to take them along for a longer journey. Most are fairly large, heavy, and not built with portability in mind. But at CES 2022, California-based wheelchair maker Whill is taking aim at that problem with an innovative new product.
The Whill Model F, as it’s called, is a lightweight, foldable electric wheelchair. It’s designed specifically to collapse down and fit in the trunk of an average car, but without compromising on functionality. The chair weighs just short of 60 pounds, has a top speed of 4 miles per hour, and can travel over 12 miles on a single charge. It also boasts a range of smart usability features, such as digital locking/unlocking, a spacious storage compartment, and swappable batteries.
“Our product and services are created through the concept of smart and inclusive mobility development,” Satoshi Sugie, CEO of Whill, said in a statement. “We want to provide innovative technology to allow individuals the ability to independently reach their destination, no matter how far.”
The Model F has huge potential to make it easier for people to get from place to place, whether they’re traveling by car, plane, or public transit. Pre-orders have already started, and the first wheelchairs will start shipping out in spring 2022. No word on the price yet, but other Whill wheelchairs go for about $4,000, so it’s a safe bet that the Model F will be similarly priced.