When 67-year-old Czech man, František Trunda, had both his legs amputated eight years ago, he thought he’d lost his independence forever.
One of the biggest losses was the inability to do something as commonplace as drive a car. He was forced to ask his wife or son to chauffeur him wherever he needed to go.
But a creative group of Czech engineers at the Light Construction Factory has designed a new car that puts wheelchair-bound people back behind the wheel – and gives them newfound independence.
It’s called Elbee – a unique, specially made car for the disabled.
Needless to say, it was far from easy…
Built From the Ground Up
With no previous models to work from, the team had to start completely from scratch.
As design engineer, Josef Franc, says, “It’s special, because whatever you see is something new. The worse thing was that we didn’t have anything to look at for inspiration. We had to develop and construct everything ourselves and then have it approved by officials.”
That process took them a decade to perfect – and they’ve overcome some significant challenges.
For example, project manager, Ladislav Brazdil, states, “The main advantage of Elbee is that disabled people do not have to change from their wheelchair to the driver’s seat.”
The car has a double ramp, so the wheelchair user simply rolls into the driver’s position, and the chair clicks into place.
But that’s just one part of the mission.
As you’re probably wondering, how do leg amputees then actually drive the car?
All the necessary controls are on the steering wheel, enabling the driver to hit speeds of up to 50 mph.
In addition, the car is small enough to fit into tight spaces and gives the driver easy access to the pavement.
Take a look…
This is a true, life-changing innovation – one that means wheelchair-bound amputees like Frantisšek Trunda can roll directly into the Elbee and drive like able-bodied people.
And they don’t need any special approval, either… just a regular driver’s license.
The car costs around $19,000, and Light Construction Factory hopes to expand the Elbee’s production in order to make sure that all disabled wheelchair users are able to continue driving.