Power mobility device maker Whill is kicking the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) off in style with the debut of its stylish new Model Ci electric wheelchair — a newer, lighter, more versatile model of its already impressive accessibility vehicle. Called the Model Ci, Whill’s stylish new personal electric vehicle is about as far from the antiquated scooters and wheelchairs of yesteryear as a Tesla Model X is from a box cart.
The Model Ci packs a lithium-ion battery allowing it to travel 10 miles on a single charge, with top speeds of five miles per hour, meaning the equivalent of a gentle jogging speed. Navigation is primarily carried out using a joystick in the right armrest, although you can also make like you’re James Bond in Tomorrow Never Dies and drive it using a smartphone. (You can additionally use your smartphone to check how much battery you have left.)
It’s not just the control mechanism that’s smooth, either. The Model Ci features specially designed “omni-wheels” which employ multiple rollers for a powerful drive its creators describe as a “glide,” letting you navigate proficiently whether you’re on undulating city streets, off-road terrain, or just maneuvering in the comfort of your own home.
“With its modern design, the Model Ci challenges today’s conventions with a product that, due to its futuristic appeal, eliminates the stigma and adverse psychological impact that affects people who use mobility devices,” Satoshi Sugie, CEO of Whill and a former Nissan designer, said in a statement. “The result is not just freedom of mobility, but freedom from the self-consciousness often associated with a wheelchair or scooter.”
Another impressive feature of the lightweight Model Ci, which tips the scales at just 115 pounds, is its ability to easily break into three modular components for easy packing in the back of a car. Last but not least is the fact that, unlike so many of the exciting products and innovations we cover at CES each year, there is no lengthy wait for the Whill Model Ci. It is available now for $4,000.
With that combination of pluses in its corner, it’s no wonder the Whill Model Ci has already scooped up a 2018 Best of CES Innovation Award.
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