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Thread: Driving from wheelchair - foreign country

  1. #1

    Driving from wheelchair - foreign country

    Tooling around on the internet this weekend I found a website for the Kivi Soul eMotion vehicle for driving from wheelchair. It seems this vehicle, I believe it's a KIA, is available in about 14 countries. I did not see USA listed and I'm curious why not.

    I'm sorry I don't know how to post the home page for this vehicle, but I found very interesting information there. They say they can do different configurations for driving such as wheelchair user in driver's area; two wheelchairs at front for driver and passenger areas; regular driver's seat and wheelchair in passenger area; wheelchair user in back of vehicle as passenger.

    Just wondering if anyone is interested in exploring this website and sharing their thoughts. If a person wanted one in the US how would they go about it? Would mobility dealers here import something like this to fine tune it for potential customers? Would this vehicle be any improvement over the current offerings of mobility dealers for full size vans and mini vans, etc.?

  2. #2

  3. #3
    Often this is due to the manufacturers not wanting to go to the expense of crash testing or emission control testing required for selling a vehicle for use in the USA, especially for a vehicle with a limited market.

    (KLD)
    Last edited by SCI-Nurse; 01-07-2020 at 01:43 AM.
    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Kulea's Avatar
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    I have been studying this for over 5 years. There is even a North American Distributor (Genesis Mobility https://www.genesismobility.com) I tried working with, but there just doesn't seem to be a way. First, the cars are Kia Soul's converted in Italy, but they are European Diesel versions. Since they don't have the US safety label, they can't be imported to the States. The distributor thought of 2 alternative possibilities, either shipping American Kia's over there for conversion and shipping them back after, or convincing Kia to directly ship some American versions to the conversion factory. But...American vehicles are gasoline and the factory production is set up for the diesel vehicles. A whole new production scheme would have to be created for gasoline cars, which would have to be justified with some demand (apparently there aren't many countries preferring gasoline). The conversion factory would be willing to do some "prototyping" for one, or a few vehicles. However...the next hurdle is the EPA. Since the ENTIRE vehicle floor is lowered, the exhaust system has to be moved. The EPA declares this an alteration, even though nothing was added or removed. It requires the vehicles to be retested to allow re-entry into the States. And, as far as I can tell, that is where the distributor has stopped. Without a clear path forward (and enough demand to justify the expenses) no one seems to be pushing it anymore. I would gladly pay quite a bit extra to get one of these vehicles.

    So, if anyone else has any ideas on how we can make it happen, please let me know. I haven't talked to the distributor in a while, so my info might be a bit inaccurate or out of date. I would LOVE this vehicle or one like it (Europe has many similar conversions). Perhaps if enough people contact the distributor, he may get the ball rolling again.

    What I don't understand is why no American conversion factory will produce a similar vehicle. I talked with Freedom Motors and they think it's near impossible to do what the Italian shop is doing. Seems like someone could go over there and study how they are doing it.
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  5. #5
    I've asked this question many times and haven't gotten an answer. Maybe someone can answer this time.

    When driving from your wheelchair, how do you mitigate the risk of whiplash?

    If you don't have an answer you are risking a second SCI. It happens.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by August West View Post
    I've asked this question many times and haven't gotten an answer. Maybe someone can answer this time.

    When driving from your wheelchair, how do you mitigate the risk of whiplash?

    If you don't have an answer you are risking a second SCI. It happens.

    It is my understanding that there is a head/upper body support that swings (?)into place once the wheeler is in position. In the Kivi Soul vehicle that's being discussed here, I saw in the web home page the comment that a person's power wheelchair has headrest protection. So, I'm guessing that for the Kivi Soul, at least, there may be a safety issue or prohibition if one wants to be driving from a manual chair and not a power chair.

    In my own situation I use a ZX1 when I go anywhere and that creates a whole other set of issues as there's no "lockdown" YET for someone driving from their wheelchair with zx1 attached, OR doffing the zx1 either, as the mounting equipment for a "lockdown" would be installed on the wheelchair camber bar - negating the use of a zx1.
    My wishful thinking is that I could use my 10 year old power wheelchair to drive, and have any lockdown installed on it. I would give up some of my use of my beloved zx1 if it meant I could drive from my wheelchair in some form or another. (I could still attach it to my manual wheelchair when not driving).

    Maybe someone will soon realize that aging people with paralysis are perfectly capable of safe driving but the TRANSFER to the driver's seat can make driving more limited, and that more choices and options are needed. It shouldn't cost thousands of dollars above vehicle cost for a disabled person to drive.

  7. #7
    Many of us are with you on this. As we age transfers are trickier and chances of injury really grow, i find myself driving less. Reason being every bad shoulder injury i have had occurs transferring into car/van, makes me leary
    Quote Originally Posted by triumph View Post
    it is my understanding that there is a head/upper body support that swings (?)into place once the wheeler is in position. In the kivi soul vehicle that's being discussed here, i saw in the web home page the comment that a person's power wheelchair has headrest protection. So, i'm guessing that for the kivi soul, at least, there may be a safety issue or prohibition if one wants to be driving from a manual chair and not a power chair.

    In my own situation i use a zx1 when i go anywhere and that creates a whole other set of issues as there's no "lockdown" yet for someone driving from their wheelchair with zx1 attached, or doffing the zx1 either, as the mounting equipment for a "lockdown" would be installed on the wheelchair camber bar - negating the use of a zx1.
    My wishful thinking is that i could use my 10 year old power wheelchair to drive, and have any lockdown installed on it. I would give up some of my use of my beloved zx1 if it meant i could drive from my wheelchair in some form or another. (i could still attach it to my manual wheelchair when not driving).

    Maybe someone will soon realize that aging people with paralysis are perfectly capable of safe driving but the transfer to the driver's seat can make driving more limited, and that more choices and options are needed. It shouldn't cost thousands of dollars above vehicle cost for a disabled person to drive.
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by triumph View Post
    It is my understanding that there is a head/upper body support that swings (?)into place once the wheeler is in position.
    My understanding was, from previous discussions here, that the system that used to be available for this in the USA was no longer available, but I did find this: https://www.amfbrunsamerica.com/futuresafe.php

    There are a few available in other countries:

    Australia: https://www.mobilityengineering.com.au/blog/bodyguard

    Netherlands: https://tripodmobility.com/en/products/bodyguard/

    Does anyone know of others?

    (KLD)
    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by SCI-Nurse View Post
    My understanding was, from previous discussions here, that the system that used to be available for this in the USA was no longer available, but I did find this: https://www.amfbrunsamerica.com/futuresafe.php

    There are a few available in other countries:

    Australia: https://www.mobilityengineering.com.au/blog/bodyguard

    Netherlands: https://tripodmobility.com/en/products/bodyguard/

    Does anyone know of others?

    (KLD)
    Comment:
    The Tripod Mobility one seems to be manual so looks like it's for someone who would have an attendant attach it. The power operated device would be great for wheeler driver.

  10. #10
    We are "behind the 8 ball" on this issue of driving from a wheelchair in USA - so few choices.

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