Would You Trust An Electric Wheelchair To Climb Stairs?

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We’re always happy to cover electric vehicles (EV) in CleanTechnica but electric wheelchairs are something we haven’t done so far. In order to introduce this new topic, we thought we’d show you how some wheelchairs can climb stairs.

Electric Wheelchair To Climb Stairs

How To Make An Electric Chair Climb Stairs

We’ve definitely seen some pretty far out EV platforms. And although our favorite is still the wild eRinGo, by Mohammad Ghezel, it hasn’t made it into production. So, on an even more useful note, when we saw the SCEWO demonstration of an electric wheelchair climbing stairs and thought it would be a good way to start the week with fresh news.

To be fair, the Scewo wheelchair is in its second iteration of the original electric stair climbing wheelchair project. The second generation is still a demonstration prototype, but it is nonetheless under active development. And don’t get too excited yet, the Scewo electric wheelchair from Scalevo is not for sale — yet.

Electric Wheelchair To Climb Stairs

Making an Electric Wheelchair Climb Stairs

In just one year, Bernard Winter, MSc Mechanical Engineer ETH and the initiator of the electric wheelchair that climbs stairs partnered with Pascal Bulholzer, also MSc Mechanical Engineer ETH, and Thomas Gemperle, BA Industrial Design ZHdk. They managed to conceptualize this unique wheelchair in such a short amount of time. And the solution is elegant, if not the least intriguing. All three are still studying at ETH Zurich, a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics university in the city of Zürich, Switzerland, and working on the project in their spare time.

Technically speaking, the Scewo electric wheelchair weighs 95 kg (209 lb) and has four hours worth of use. It should allow for 15 – 20 km (9 to 12.4 miles) range carrying a 100 kg (220 lb) payload. It uses a normal driving and climbing mode. Its maximum speed is 10 km/h (6.21 MPH) with 8° going uphill and – 15° going downhill. As far as its slope angle, it can negotiate 34° and 20 cm (7.9 inches) for every step taken. Two big wheels can drive on flat surfaces but with the help of a set of robust tracks, they can overcome curbs and climb stairs.

Electric Wheelchair To Climb Stairs

It might strike a few of us as odd but not all buildings are wheelchair friendly. The Scewo teams tackle stairs by using sturdy rubber tracks on a wide base for the chair itself. The electric wheelchair stays stable even on spiral staircases. The transitioning from normal riding to stair climbing is automated by the push of a button.

Where the team also shows its creativity is that the electric chair can rotate on a spot, as well as drive over curbs. The wheel size is generous enough to go over obstacles and compact enough to fit through all standard doors.

Electric Wheelchair To Climb Stairs

We’re happy to see this EV climb stairs and know this will be  especially exciting news for those in wheelchairs.

You can follow SCEWO on Patreon, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

Electric Wheelchair To Climb Stairs

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Nicolas Zart

Nicolas was born and raised around classic cars of the 1920s, but it wasn't until he drove an AC Propulsion eBox and a Tesla Roadster that the light went on. Ever since he has produced green mobility content on various CleanTech outlets since 2007 and found his home on CleanTechnica. He grew up in an international environment and his communication passion led to cover electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, renewable energy, test drives, podcasts, shoot pictures, and film for various international outlets in print and online. Nicolas offers an in-depth look at the e-mobility world through interviews and the many contacts he has forged in those industries. His favorite taglines are: "There are more solutions than obstacles." and "Yesterday's Future Now"

Nicolas Zart has 572 posts and counting. See all posts by Nicolas Zart