Electric Wheelchairs and How They Are Put Together

Wheelchairs are very powerful tools that have a history dating back thousands of years. However, most of the technology behind the modern wheelchair, with of course the exception of the wheel itself, is much newer. Instead, the modern manual wheelchair based off of the E&J design, which is characterized by a lightweight hollow tubed frame, which can be folded when not in use.

Today, manual wheelchairs remain incredibly popular, but the electric wheelchair is also a very common choice for the wheelchair user. Not too surprisingly, the modern electric wheelchair also has its roots in the E&J Wheelchair design. This is because the first electric wheelchairs were simply E&J wheelchairs that had been outfitted with an electric motor. Early manufacturer would sell electric conversion kits designed for use with the E&J design, but today the electric wheelchair has a significantly different design that to that of a manual wheelchair.

Most modern electric wheelchairs, which are often called power chairs, feature a relatively small base, which is covered in molded plastic. The base contains the electric motor, wiring, wheel base, and rechargeable batteries of the wheelchair. Some are quite small, while others have a much large wheel base, resulting in a much larger wheelchair. Attached to the top of the wheelchair base is a chair, which can usually be swiveled to make entering or exiting the wheelchair much easier.

The reason the base of an electric wheelchair is so small, especially when compared to that of a mobility scooter, is that by design a wheelchair must be able to be driven directly up to a table or desk, without requiring its user to transfer to another chair or a bench. For heavy duty electric wheelchairs, the base is usually larger, but it is still designed so that the power chair can be driven directly up to a desk.

Rear-Wheel Drive Wheelchairs

The number of wheels on a power chair is one way that they are classified. Rear wheel drive wheelchairs usually have a set of wheels in the front and a set of wheels in the back. The rear wheels are responsible for moving the wheelchair and are slightly larger than the front wheels, which are typically there for support only.

One of the advantages of a rear-wheel drive power chair is that they are very stable. The weight of the user is spread out more evenly around the base of the chair, resulting in a very stable wheelchair.

Mid-Wheel Drive Wheelchairs

The Mid-Wheel Drive Wheelchair actually has three sets of wheels. The front set and rear set are much smaller and are designed to provide stability and support. It is the mid wheels that are responsible for moving and turning the wheelchair, which offers the advantage of greatly improved maneuverability. This is an important feature, as many wheelchair users rely on their power chair for indoor use.

However, it is at the expense of the extra stability offered by a rear-wheel drive power chair. This is because most of the weight is placed on the mid-wheel, which significantly changes the wheelchairs center of balance. This is not to say that mid-wheel drive wheelchairs are unstable, simply that they are less stable than rear-wheel drive wheelchairs. As a result, for outdoor use or high weight capacity, a rear-wheel drive power chair will usually provide better service.