Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Czech firm creates car for wheelchair users

From the Prague Daily Monitor in the Czech Republic:

Prague - Two Czech firms have completed the development of a mini-car that will allow wheel-chair-bound people to ride inside the car without having to move from the wheel-chair to the driver's seat, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes Aug. 27.

"We have a function prototype and we are planning to produce two to three models for homologation," MfD quotes Ladislav Brazdil, head of ZLKL Lostice firm, as saying.
The other firm taking part in the project is Auto Projekt Centrum.

Brazdil said his firm has gained a subsidy from the European funds and that a prototype can already been seen in the streets of Plzen, west Bohemia.

It took two years to develop the mini-car that can seat two people, MfD writes.

"We are considering making a battery-powered version and a variant for people without any physical handicap," Vladimir Friml, from Auto Projekt Centrum, told MfD.

The two firms hope to gain homologation by end-August 2009. Brazdil said the car will cost 150,000 crowns and more, depending on the engine.

ZLKL counts with making up to 500 cars annually, MfD writes.

The car does not yet have any name. The producers wanted to acquire the Velorex brand, but they have failed.

Velorex, a three-wheel car with a pipe framework covered with imitation leather was developed and started to be produced in then Czechoslovakia in 1936 for handicapped people. It can still be seen on Czech roads.

Four Velorex cars will cover the legendary Route 66 running from Chicago to Los Angeles that all Americans consider one of their fundamental symbols this autumn. The journey will be some 4000 kilometres long.

Unlike Velorex, the new car will not be covered with imitation leather. Its frame is made of aluminium and the body of composite materials, MfD writes.