Indian Company Develops Cheap and Effective Electric Wheelchair Technology
Small Indian company Ostrich Mobility based in Bangalore, might be the rising star in field of affordable electric wheelchairs. Company entered field of powered wheelchairs back in 2003, when first prototypes for indoor use were developed. In 2004 company launched two outdoor electric wheelchairs, Model 1 and Verve. Production was done in cooperation with SSS Industries. In 2005 company introduced first models with joystick and touch-pad, and in 2006 sophisticated electric wheelchairs for adults and children were put to market (models V100 and V40). In 2007 company introduced first ever electric wheelchair with split frame chassis that is base for new electric wheelchair – Pristine. 2008 model of Pristine offers top speed of 7 Mph (10 Km/h), and wheelchair’s batteries offer drive range of 20 miles (30 km). Price of this electric wheelchair is 2500-2850 USD.
Recently company rounded its offerings under a global brand of E-wheels, where its unique ideas and engineering solutions are combined in what is the most cost effective electric wheelchair on global market. This is a must, as average Indian salary is below 1.000 USD/year. Now split frame design is put in all electric wheelchair offerings from the company. Company currently has production capability of 100 wheelchairs per month.
E-wheels concepts builds on quality manufacturing with emphasis on Safaty, Reliability and Comfort – providing solutions in vibration, speed, slope handling, terrain driving, center of gravity, night driving and summing all in cost effectiveness of final product, which – we are sure – many wheelchair buying guides will recognize. Company revolutionized design of its E-wheels, by implementing its own patented solution – the split frame.
The Split Frame Chassis assures good drive control, better maneuverability, good control capabilities when negotiating slanting and rough road conditions by reducing the side drag, ensures very fine control over the equipment when driving up or down gradient. In conventional chassis electric wheel chairs the wheels lift up when there is a level difference in the ground or floor the wheel chair is running. This can cause loss of control lead to accidents. The split frame chassis makes sure that all the four wheels touches the ground in a level difference up to 100 mm thus giving a better drive control and better maneuverability in tough terrain conditions. This design also helps to drive across inclines with in 15 degrees. The split frame thus reduces risk of accidents for an electric wheel chair.
Care has been given to safety features to make the equipment ideal for any body. Tires have treads that adds more grip. The seat belt, bucket seat and head rest give the user safety at higher speeds. Special care has been given to avoid sharp edges that can hurt. The greatest safety feature is the invention of split frame chassis that allows all the wheels to be in direct contact with ground in almost all tough road conditions, resulting in improved driving control and maneuverability – reducing the risk of accidents.
Conventional wheel chairs have a single frame chassis on to which the wheels, motors, seat and batteries are fixed. For e-wheels there are two frames. To one frame the seats and the front wheels are fixed and to the other frame the drive wheels, motor and batteries are fixed, both these frames being connected to each other by a flexible interconnect. The wheels of the single frame chassis lifts up at a small level difference in ground conditions where as he split frame e-wheels tires will always be in contact with the ground.
The anti-tipper wheels are adjustable and can be adjusted to restrict or match the gradeability.Other safety features include thermal cut-off for motors, over current protection, short circuit protection; battery deep discharge protection and battery overcharge protection. The equipment uses motor, motor controllers and battery chargers that are internationally approved and confirming to various standards. The motor controller also confirms to various EMI and EMC standards. LED lights and side indicators are provided in selected outdoor models to enjoy night driving. Ironically product designed for Indian market has to more reliable and rugged than for western markets – terrain and surroundings are less cultivated and more offroad like. The reliability of the product has been strenghten by demanding tests in various conditions. The e-wheels are tested with loads that exceed three times the official max-load. The equipment is also safely tested for impact loads, equivalent of 3G. The chassis is made of rectangular tube sections and the life of the chassis is assured by ED painting that makes the inside of the tubes rust free even at long hours of salt spray test. The outside of the chassis is powder coated. Sliding parts are chrome plated for long life. The tires are selected that lasts long.Comfort is a prime requirement for the user. The seats of e-wheels are designed to give maximum comfort to the user. In model Pristine, buckets seats provided gives comfort similar to a car. The all-pneumatic tyres selected for high-speed models like Pristine provides drive comfort and better road grip for comfortable ride. The comfortable handling of the e-wheels can be done with the world-class joystick control module. Seat reclining, adjustable foot rest, swing away arm rests all add comfort to the user.
Vibrations can be serious particularly when driving in outdoors or on uneven surfaces. The seats are designed for vibration absorption to a great extend. Vibrations are also dampened by the use of pneumatic tyres or solid tyres with low shore hardness. The split chassis also helps reducing vibrations.
Ostrich mobility offers many models of electric wheelchairs, so it can match any users wishes and requirements. Starting from very low speed mobility equipments for indoor applications to high speed mobility equipments for outdoor and on the road application. The speed of the equipment and the design of the equipment are directly linked. Even at top speed, every wheelchair remains stable and safe.
The e-wheels are designed for gradeability up to 15 degrees with maximum load. At 15 degrees inclination the user can safely drive across which other electric wheel chairs dare not to do. The invention of revolutionary split frame chassis technology gives a new dimension in driving personal mobility transporter. The e-wheels can be taken to the toughest terrains with ease. This is possible by allowing all the wheels in contact with the ground. Low centre of gravity helps to this cause, as it is maintained as low as possible to avoid overturn and issues related with cornering forces. This low CG makes the e-wheels fit to drive across inclines and maneuver terrains.
Quality at low price point
Ostrich sees the quality as the most importaint key to achieve cost-effectiveness. The cost effectiveness of its electric wheelchairs has been brought by indigenous product development, using very high quality parts and components from established and well-known vendors and value engineering.