The Kenguru electric car looks to give wheelchair users more freedom

A new electric car designed specifically for wheelchair users is set to launch in the US later this year.

Called Kenguru, the Hungarian name for Kangeroo and so called because it cuddles you like a pouch, the car will be only slightly bigger than a wheelchair and aims to give its driver greater freedom.

"At the moment many wheelchair users who want to drive are forced to buy large minivan styled vehicles that are very expensive," explained Stacy Zoern, a Texas lawyer disabled by a muscle disease, to Pocket-lint.

Zoern should know, after saving for months to buy a $100,000 minivan that had been customised especially for her, she was in an accident and it was written off.

So when she heard about the Kenguru car, she was so excited that she convinced its creator, Istvan Kissaroslaki, to not only relocate half way around the word to Austin, Texas, but to team up to make sure the car became a reality.

Kenguru, which is hoping to have the first production models on the road say the car, which is akin to the Smart car, will cost around $35,000 - $40,000.

Wheelchair uses simply open the boot via a remote control and then wheel into the back of it, ready to drive off. It doesn't have a seat. 

You only have to look at the car to see why there is a huge price difference. Unlike a big minivan, the Kenguru is a small vehicle suitable for only one passenger.

Running an electric motor that you can power off the mains at home, it will have a top speed of 25mph and a range of about 45 miles according to its co-founders.

That might put some people off, including the lack of storage space for shopping, but spending an evening with the two founders it doesn't seem to be about that.

Kenguru is all about allowing its owner to get out of the house and go further than the corner of the street. It's something that Zoern knows about only too well, as she explained that currently if she wants to go anywhere, she has to rely on others to give her a lift. That's something that, with the launch of the Kenguru, she is hoping to change very soon.