Taking it further
Wait-lists are already forming for the Kenguru in France and the U.K., and the vehicle is expected to hit the U.S. market later this year, Zoern says. The company is also in talks to distribute the vehicle in Germany, South Africa, Italy and Spain in the coming years.
The current model, which can travel at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour, can only accommodate manual wheelchair users – meaning Zoern still can’t drive the vehicle herself. A slightly larger model with joystick operation is in the works for power chair users, but the startup needs more funds to make it happen.
“There are a lot of people in my boat who are power chair users and who are still waiting in line for a joystick model to come out,” Zoern says. “So, we’re working on that as fast as we can.”
Earlier this summer, Zoern’s company, Community Cars, launched a RocketHub campaign to raise funds to build a power chair-accessible Kenguru. The campaign, which runs through Sept. 16, has raised less than 10 percent of its $100,000 goal, but Zoern is confident that the idea will catch on.
“I definitely feel a momentum building…but you still don’t know when you’re going to turn the corner,” she says.
Building cars, changing lives
The all-electric Kenguru will surely do its part to change the planet. But by bringing mobility to millions of Americans who never had it before, this EV has the potential to change lives in the process.
“There are at least 3.3 million people in the U.S. alone who use wheelchairs,” Zoern says. “So, thats a huge amount of people who are having difficulty.”
“Able-bodied people can take it for granted. They just don’t realize what it would be like if you don’t have a car, you can’t ride a bicycle, you can’t take a taxi and a lot of public transportation is not accessible. What do you do?”
Priced at $25,000, the Kenguru provides mobility at a fraction of the cost of vehicle modifications – allowing drivers to affordably gain independence while keeping carbon impact at a minimum.
For added affordability, the vehicle’s price tag can be reduced by federal tax credits for electric vehicle purchases. With additional incentives from vocational rehabilitation programs, some drivers may be able to further reduce the price of the Kenguru, or, in some cases, get it at no cost, Zoern says.
Get your own Kenguru
Looking to snag a Kenguru for yourself or someone you know? While the vehicle hasn’t hit the U.S. market yet, you can still score one by donating $18,000 to the Kenguru RocketHub campaign.
No, you haven’t done your math wrong. That’s a full $7,000 less than the retail price of the Kenguru, and as an added bonus, you’ll be helping the company produce joystick-operated cars for power chair users.
For more information on how your donation can get you a Kenguru, check out the company on RocketHub.
For a better look at the vehicle, watch this video: