Chairiot Solo: The Car for Drivers with Disabilities
The car industry has never really offered help to those in wheelchairs when providing mobility options. Sure, you can take out the driver’s seat in a large van and get a motorized platform to hoist you into the vehicle, but modifications can be expensive and hazardous. Imagine if it only took drivers with disabilities just 40 seconds to get into their cars!
This year, Chairiot Mobility Inc is offering drivers with disabilities an alternative to the expensive, bulky modified vans that they’re used to driving.
The Chairiot Solo, a single-occupant electric car, started delivery to testing homes around Riverside, California in spring 2014. Since then, the car has made headlines as a breakthrough for drivers with disabilities.
The best aspects of the Chairiot Solo? Not only is the vehicle electric, but drivers never even have to leave their wheelchairs!
The Chairiot Solo Offers an Eco-Friendly Set of Wheels to Drivers with Disabilities
At the start of the electric car craze, the Chairiot Solo arrives at the perfect time for drivers with disabilities looking for better options.
To begin a drive, the occupant will lift the back hatch of the Chairiot Solo and roll up the ramp right into the car. No need to hoist oneself out of one chair and into another!
The wheel chair becomes the driver’s seat. Once the chair is secured in place, the driver buckles up and has all the vehicle’s controls at his fingertips.
One of the buttons on the car will lower the entry hatch, which has the license plate and a permanent handicapped identifier embedded on it.
Lastly, just start up that electric motor and hit the road! The Chairiot Solo doesn’t offer room for passengers or much cargo space, but for around-town mobility, it’s a breakthrough for drivers with disabilities.
Specs on the Chairiot Solo
The Chairiot Solo, intended for neighborhood mobility for drivers with disabilities, is considered the first car of its kind in the US market.
The vehicle starts at $19,000. It can achieve speeds between 25 mph and 35 mph, based on the regulated state-wide limits for neighborhood electric vehicles (NEV). And the range on one charge caps at about 50 miles. Thus, drivers won’t be taking it outside city limits much, but with a price around $19,000, it’s an accessible alternative.
The body is 87 inches long and made of a fiberglass shell welded on a steel chassis. Available colors include black, yellow, blue, red, and white. The battery takes between 6-8 hours to charge and offers around 600 total cycles. Other features on the Chairiot Solo include a car stereo, defroster, headlights, dome lights, side reflectors, warranty, and support. And you’ve gotta love the 157 MPGe that the absorbed glass mat (AGM) battery package gives!
“Because of its price point, there is a whole new category of disabled wheelchair users who will not only have personal transportation but the freedom that comes with it,” said Ralph Megna, founder and president of Chairiot Mobility Inc. The company is currently gathering feedback for future models.
Perhaps this car will finally change what I picture when I hear “Chairiot Solo”:
Aaron is unashamed to be a native Clevelander and the proud driver of a Hyundai Veloster Turbo (which recently replaced his 1995 Saturn SC-2). He gleefully utilizes his background in theater, literature, and communication to dramatically recite his own articles to nearby youth. Mr. Widmar happily resides in Dayton, Ohio with his magnificent wife, Vicki, but is often on the road with her exploring new destinations. Aaron has high aspirations for his writing career but often gets distracted pondering the profound nature of the human condition and forgets what he was writing… See more articles by Aaron.