Toyota's "Well Chair" System Makes Minivans More Wheelchair Friendly

Toyota has announced an integrated system for disabled passengers that better integrates wheelchairs with a range of its popular minivans. The “Well Chair”, introduced at the 2014 International Home Care & Rehabilitation Exhibition, is expected to be rolled out by the end of this year.

At present, most efforts towards accommodating disabled road travelers have been directed at drivers – the innovative Kenguru electric car being one example. Real world experiences suggest, however, that far more wheelchair-bound commuters are passengers who must subscribe to pricey and inconvenient mobility services. These services usually employ oversized vans equipped with bulky, expensive chair lifts and as such, work more like public transit than private transport.

With the Well Chair, Toyota is seeking to exploit an empty market niche: non-disabled drivers caring for and traveling with disabled passengers.

The system consists of a custom wheelchair and one of several models of Toyota minivans (including the Voxy, Noah, Practices, Hiace, Porta, and Noah) modified to easily accommodate users of such wheelchairs. The Well Chair adjusts its shape to a more reclining mode that is not only more comfortable while traveling, it allows for a more secure and stable mounting within the vehicle.

Some models will also be available with custom features and equipment suitable for service dogs. Pricing is unconfirmed at this time though Toyota will be providing additional information closer to the product launch date. (via Impress Watch)