The electric car market is growing in Brazil, and new models of vehicles that use clean energy are emerging on the market. Although it may seem like a recent initiative, the concept of an electric car has existed since the 19th century. However, for the last five years, a Brazilian developer has been working to create an electric car that is not only environmentally friendly, but also solves one of the biggest problems for drivers with disabilities: accessibility.
The Stima, designed by Luigi Mangini, CEO of Green Innovation, the Brazilian company responsible for creating the car, was officially presented last September at the Reatech International Fair of Rehabilitation, Inclusion and Accessibility Technologies in São Paulo, the largest economic center from Brazil.
Mangini’s electric car venture is bold and efficient, being the first national project to reach the market and the only car with a universal design, that is, it can be used by people with or without disabilities, since all the controls are within reach. hand in hand and are accessible both by hand and on foot. Activating the vehicle’s electronic command opens the rear compartment, allowing the user to access functions including coupling the seat to the steering wheel and the control panel.
With capacity for three passengers, the two seats behind the driver are retractable. It also has airbags, anti-lock brakes and seat belts. Although it is designed for urban use by licensed drivers, it can also be used for more specialized purposes including restricted areas such as airports and gated communities, as well as driving instructors and other unique settings.
Mangini has two sisters who use wheelchairs. The main objective is to enable social equity for people with disabilities, giving them autonomy to carry out their daily activities independently and maintaining the commitment to respect the environment through the use of clean energy.
Considering that Brazil does not have a tradition of electric cars, Mangini guarantees that the user will not have problems recharging his vehicle.
“Our vehicles do not depend on charging points,” says Mangini. “They can also be recharged at any residential socket (110-120 volts). There is no such exclusive dependency.” This factor is fundamental considering that there are only 1,500 public charging stations in a country with an immense territorial extension; With an estimated area of 8,514,876 square km, Brazil is the fifth largest country on the planet.
Mangini stresses that electric vehicles will be customized according to customer needs.
“[A]After a test drive and an initial analysis, a survey of needs is made,” says Mangini, adding that “the steering wheel and the controls are positioned and installed for a better adaptation to the user, since it can be driven in both directions. , with the feet or the hands.” The inventor assures that it will be the cheapest vehicle on the market, around $13,000 USD, with all the adaptations already included, but this price may increase depending on the customizations that are added, such as performance and autonomy. , according to the specific needs of each client.
However, before taking to the streets of large urban centers, the driver will go through an adaptation and user training, even in the most basic version of the vehicle. Capable of reaching speeds of 100 km per hour, various customizations are available including having three fixed seats or just one and other adaptations depending on the driver’s preference.
Although some have raised doubts about the problems in finding maintenance for such a specialized vehicle, the Brazilian president guarantees that it can be done by traditional mechanics and is very simple; With around two hundred parts and pieces, the car has far fewer parts than traditional cars.
The company initially produced 100 units for its launch and already has orders from more than twelve countries, including Argentina, Chile, Ecuador and others. In fact, the price is one of the main attractions, since making similar adaptations to a normal vehicle would cost an estimated $22,000 USD, if not more.
A similar electric vehicle design was launched in mid-2018, especially for people with disabilities. Initially developed in Hungary, production of the Kenguru moved to Pflugerville, Texas. However, production of the vehicle fell through due to design limitations; it had seating for just one person, top speeds of just 45 mph, and other factors.
The National Health Survey, conducted in 2019, showed that 17.3 million people over the age of two in Brazil had some type of disability.
Rafael Ferraz, 38, has been disabled for eleven years and says few people can afford to retrofit a car because of the high cost.
“Adapting any conventional car, even with discounts for people with disabilities, would always end up doubling the cost,” said Ferraz, who is an accessibility and inclusion consultant. The report.
“This, in fact, is the main obstacle. Because this is a group with multiple expenses, such as rehabilitation, medications, caregivers, etc., the car for the person with a disability should be less expensive.”
“At least now, with this new vehicle created for us, it will help a lot of people who use wheelchairs.”