I want to share with you a story of a young woman named Cambry, who is an inspiration. Over 6.8 million Americans use assistive devices to help them with mobility. Many of these devices are wheelchairs. In Cambry’s case, her wheelchair is not motorized, so she has to use her arms and core to move around, which can be challenging in some cases, like when going to a gas station and pumping gas.
She and Zack, the owner of the YouTube channel JerryRigEverything, bought a Tesla Model X from their friend Dan, and it has made her life much easier. The Model X “is pretty well-adapted to me,” Cambry says.
“There’s a lot of cars out there that are great for people with physical limitations like myself. Some are better than others, but pretty much any car can be adapted. But there are not very many cars that don’t require you to go to the gas station, and if you’re a wheelchair user, you know that’s a big deal,” Cambry says in a video uploaded to YouTube by JerryRigEverything.
This shows another way that electric vehicle charging is a greater convenience than going to a gas station, especially since you can often do that at home.
Zack and Cambry break it down in the video why the Tesla Model X is the perfect car for her. The battery range is nearly the same as a tank of gas in a non-electric vehicle, for starters. Automatic doors, the falcon-wing doors, which add a touch of personality, and Cambry loves how you can open and close the back hatch with the key fob. With her last car, she never used the back hatch because she couldn’t reach to close it. This makes her life a lot easier.
This speaks volumes about the vehicle. While that use case wasn’t the focus, the Model X is a vehicle that was made for people with physical limitations or disabilities.
In the video, Cambry also shows you how she gets inside her car — with no assistance from Zack. Cambry and Zack explain just how hard it is for a wheelchair user to buy gas. “You have to transfer the wheelchair and yourself in and out of the car twice. It’s like going to the gym just to get gas,” she says. Having an electric car that you can plug in while in the comfort of your own home is ideal for Cambry. Although they don’t need to go to the gas station, Cambry still has to get in and out of the car, of course, and Zack points out that the process is still the same.
In the video, she shows us how she does it. With the automatic door opens a bit, she pulls it open more, and then rolls up to the Tesla in her wheelchair and starts with her feet and legs first. She is unable to use her legs, so she has to use her arms and hips to get in. She grabs the steering will with her right arm and balances herself onto the wheelchair with her left as she pulls herself into the Tesla and adjusts herself into the driver’s seat.
The next challenge is to take the wheelchair apart and put the pieces in the backseat. Zack helps her when he’s with her, and since the seats in the back fold down, there is enough room to put the chair in. Cambry disassembles the chair, starting with the cushion, then the wheels, and then places the frame of the wheelchair in the passenger seat next to her.
Zack also had to add in some protection for the Tesla since Cambry has to load her wheelchair on a daily basis. Over time, without this protection, the metal of the chair could scratch the paint of the car. They also have seat covers and a screen protector for the display.
How Does Cambry Drive?
One question many may have is how Cambry drives if she can’t use her legs? She uses the same thing she gets herself in and out of the car with: her hands. One of the many modifications that she has had to have for every car are hand controls for driving. Cambry demonstrates how to use the hand controls for driving in the video.
Zack also talks about Autopilot and points out that they both know that it’s not at Full Self Driving (FSD) yet, and until then Cambry still has to drive. Sure, it’s convenient and makes driving easier, but until it’s FSD, Cambry still needs to be in control of the vehicle. One of her favorite features of the Model X is that when you apply pressure to the brake, the door closes. She also loves the fact that the steering wheel, as well as the seats, heat up. Like me, she’s always cold.
Zack says his favorite feature is that it’s quicker than most sports cars. In the video, Cambry has a little fun with her P100D to demonstrate that. Zack, who is in the passenger seat, asks her, “Are you ready?” Her reply: “Are you ready?”
Another great feature for Cambry is Smart Summon. The reason why is that people like to be mean and park in handicapped parking spaces without actually being handicapped. Or sometimes they will park too close to her, and she needs a lot of room to maneuver to get into her car. Smart Summon makes it to where Cambry can park anywhere and then she can just call the car to her, like a kitten.
Cambry also uses Autopilot for the first time in the video, and even though it makes her nervous (the idea of trusting the car to drive itself), it gives her a little bit more freedom with her hands.
I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.