At the recent Solar Citizens EV Expo, I had the inspiring experience of meeting and later interviewing Greg Hayden. He was using a most cunning device. I think it is the Tesla of Wheelchair assist. It’s a battery-powered one-wheel motor that attached to his wheelchair and made it easier for him to transverse the damp grass between the stalls and electric vehicles. It is called a Klaxon Klick mini.
Greg had a single-vehicle motorcycle accident in 1982 and ended up as a paraplegic — T8 complete was the diagnosis. This however does not mean he is inactive. It is normal for him to do 40 to 50 laps in a 50 metre pool or ocean swims and he competes in the hand cycle triathlon.
After years of working in administrative positions at automotive firms, Greg decided to go to university and train as a primary school teacher in 2016. He now works as a supply (substitute) teacher in the southwest of Brisbane. Unfortunately, these schools are often built into a hillside. “Sometimes I would get out of the car, and then have to climb 300 m up a hill. Then have to come down the hill for assembly and then back up to the classroom,” he said. “I think I was heading for a shoulder reconstruction!”
Greg wrote to his local member of parliament to gain support from the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Within six weeks, his request was approved and he was able to order the Klaxon Klick mini from Wicked Wheelchairs.
According to Greg, the chair will do 14 km/h on a flat surface and 7 km/h uphill. But he doesn’t wheel at these speeds inside the school. The kids are naturally curious about the chair, but Greg doesn’t use it in the classroom — he wants his students to concentrate on their reading and their maths. The Klaxon charges from a normal power point just like a phone. In the 4 months that he has had it, he has never had it go flat, because he tops up the battery regularly. He only uses it in the schools where it is needed.
The Klaxon has cruise control, regen braking, and a motorbike-style throttle. The battery can be removed for charging. The drive device disconnects with a click, which makes it easier to put the chair and the drive in the back of his Honda CRV.
The right chair can make all the difference in your life. That’s the motto of Wicked Wheelchairs — and Greg, too.
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