Solar Powered Wheelchairs on the Run

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Here's the happy result of a meeting of the hearts and minds of an environmental activist and a small innovative company. A newly disabled woman realised that she was dependent on electric batteries to power her wheelchair around the countryside where she lived. Working with Beamer, a design and engineering firm, they modified an existing outdoor model, the Tramper, and made this partially solar--powered wheelchair. It was already heavy-duty and designed to travel over fields. The addition of the solar panels can extend its range by about 20%. The company is now researching the use of lithium iron batteries that could double the distance that it can travel.

As for its happy owner, she has now planned a solar-powered wheelchair cavalcade, the SolaRola. In order to publicise her campaign for solar powered wheel chairs, and sustainable energy sources, a fleet of solar powered vehicles will be travelling 120 miles from London to Bath, along back country roads. They will be accompanied by a solar-powered ice cream van from Yeo Valley Organic. In Bath at an agricultural fair there will be events highlighting ecology and sustainability, featuring the wheelchairs ridden by celebrities and Para-Olympians. :: Guardian