complicated equipment for the disabled?

Between electric cars and PMR, the current does not flow! While Europe voted to ban thermal vehicles from 2035, bodybuilders have yet to find the solution to adapt them to this public. Battery problem..

Soon a 100% electric Europe? On 8 June 2022, the Danish Parliament voted to ban the sale of new thermal cars (petrol, diesel or hybrid) from 2035 on the old continent in order to limit CO2 emissions. Leitmotif? 30% of greenhouse gases come from cars. If the ecological goal is laudable, however, it may curb the autonomy of certain disabled drivers. Major issue: Inability to mount some vehicles due to placement of batteries. For Tony Masapollo, Director of Pimasspecialist in fitting cars for people with reduced mobility (PRM), it’s time to use the other to anticipate this major technological change!

Handicap.fr: Why is it complicated to adapt an electric car?
Tony Masapollo: When you want to adapt a thermomobile to a PRM, you generally attach the wheelchairs to the ground. But in electric vehicles, the batteries are located in the floor; it is therefore too dangerous to touch the ground unless you have the detailed plans for the car and take it apart, but that would take a long time. We are therefore not currently investigating these models.

H.fr: For what type of development is this e.g. a problem?
TM: To transport a person in a wheelchair, the regulated height is 1m35, which is not offered in Kangoo traditional for example. It is therefore necessary to pay », that is, lower the floor. Bodybuilders have not yet found the solution for electric cars. But a few weeks ago, the sector was surprised Peugeot announced that its entire utility line had gone electric. The group will therefore no longer produce berlingo heat e.g. No professional is prepared for this change.

H.fr: And that is not the only limitation…
TM: The weight is actually different. When a Renault Captur thermal weighs between 900 and 1,000 kilos, its electric version reaches 1,400. Knowing that for public transport (Trafic, Master, Jumpy…) there is generally around 75 kilos for a passenger valid and 160 for those in wheelchairs. These vehicles therefore risk exceeding the total permissible weight and causing problems in the event of braking. In addition, charging stations for electric cars are not always available or particularly practical for people in wheelchairs…

H.fr: Faced with the number of mayors, starting with the one in Paris, calling for the banning of thermal cars from city centers, we will have to react very quickly…
TM: Yes. However, the conversion for the transport of people with reduced mobility is still a small market. But bodybuilders will have to adapt… and fast! It’s a matter of a few months…

H.fr: Does this issue mainly concern people with disabilities when they are drivers or passengers?
TM: The biggest problem concerns the transport of passengers, including in individual vehicles. For drivers switching to the original seat or to a swivel seat, the interior transformation can still be done without too much trouble. But the problem will also arise for drivers who stay in their wheelchairs and benefit from a lashing on the ground created afterwards. Although I personally find it completely inappropriate to drive in a wheelchair.

H.fr: Why?
TM: During heavy braking or impact, the body moves forward, slowed by the seat belt, provided it is fitted correctly – knowing that the kinetics are not optimal for a wheelchair user – and then goes back. However, no armchair backrest or headrest can withstand the force of this ” return “. It’s a business showcase, but in terms of security, it really leaves something to be desired!

H.fr: To return to adaptations, what solutions will drivers with reduced mobility have?
TM: You need to turn to manufacturers who still offer thermal models, which are sometimes much more expensive. However, note that within a few years there will only be 50% electric cars in Europe, 30% in China and 40% in the US. So the internal combustion engine will always exist…

H.fr: But the problem is not so much production as regulations in certain cities…
TM: Safe. However, at the moment, all the vehicles used for the transport of disabled people escape the standard ” WLTP (for the Worldwild harmonized test procedure for light vehicles) thanks to an exemption. It should last…

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