E-scooter rental firm Dott has revealed a specially modified e-scooter designed for wheelchair users.
The firm has teamed up with French start-up Omni to develop the new machine, which has been named the OmniTrotter. The prototype of a shared version was unveiled in Paris today (Wednesday), and is effectively a heavily modified version of a regular Dott scooter.
To ensure the machine is suitable for wheelchair users the handlebars have been lowered to the height of the person sitting in a wheelchair, and offset for comfort. The speed controller has also been modified, with the power not kicking in at 0.62mph rather than 3mph, to account for wheelchair users not being able to use their leg to kick start the machine.
The wheelchair is attached to the e-scooter via a system that Omni claims works with 95 per cent of all chairs on the market, and which it says takes 30 seconds to connect.
The idea is that the OmniTrotter will be suitable for wheelchair users for journeys they would otherwise have had to take a car for – and could also be easier than public transport options in those cases. While the machine have been offered on a long-term rental basis for trials, the two firms are now planning ways to make them available on the streets of France in the same way as other rental e-scooters.
Dott and Omni are working on revisions to the OmniTrotter prototype, but will deploy a fleet of 10 adapted machines in Paris before the end of the year. Further machines will follow in Lyon, Bordeaux, Marseile and Grenoble, and Dott will fund 55% of the rental price of those machines to help lower batteries to entry.
Nicolas Gorse, the head of Dott’s French operation said that results from an early long-term rental test programme have been “encouraging”. He said: “People who were forced to use their car even for short distances can now use the Dott/Omni pack to commute.
“With the prototype presented today, we want to move forward and propose an adapted self-service fleet in Paris by the end of the year.”
Omni cofounder Charlotte Allaux said that the trials would offer “a major step forward for people in wheelchairs to be like everyone else and get around freely."