We asked Frank Sodermanns, Managing Director and founder F. Sodermanns Automobile GmbH
The demand for electric vehicles has steadily increased in recent years. Small, agile EVs are becoming ever more popular since they make ideal city cars. However, to benefit people with disabilities, it takes more than a standard model to plug into the future. F. Sodermanns Automobile GmbH collaborated with German Electric Vehicle (EV) manufacturer e.GO Mobile SE to create this type of sustainable vehicle. On the occasion of the presentation of the first converted e.GO Life, REHACARE.com asked Managing Director and founder Frank Sodermanns about the reasons for the cooperation and learned about the countless possibilities of the little speedster.
The fully automatic wheelchair loading system, which stows the wheelchair in the trunk, is probably the most striking feature of the small electric car, but by no means the only one.
What prompted your collaboration with e.Go Mobile?
Frank Sodermanns: We came up with the idea of converting the e.Go Life for accessibility and approached e.Go Mobile. It was clear from the start that we wanted to create a unique car model with many different options. This was important to us because our goal is to enable interested buyers with different disabilities to try and experience the e.Go either as a passenger or as a driver. e.Go was very receptive to the idea and immediately gave us a vehicle to use for development.
Sodermanns has years of experience in vehicle conversions. Did you take the special requests of people with disabilities into account when you modified the model?
Sodermanns: We have met many customers with different abilities throughout our more than 26 years in the business and indirectly always include their needs in our designs. We know and continually focus on what our customers need and want. It is our job to advise our customers and find the best modification.
The eGO Life also holds a number of driving aids such as hand controls for operating the gas and brake, steering wheel buttons for controlling secondary functions such as turn signals, horn or lights, camera systems.
What are the options for converting the e.Go Life?
Sodermanns: Basically, any modification is possible. What makes this vehicle so unique is its loading system, which uses a robotic arm to move the wheelchair from the driver’s seat to the trunk compartment. We must utilize the trunk as this model is a three-door vehicle. Other modifications comprise options for easier boarding and loading including a rotating and swivel transfer seat, a foldable transfer aid as a permanently installed sliding board on the B-pillar support post or automatic step bars and running boards. We also offer a range of driving aids such as hand controls to operate gas and brake, steering knobs to manage secondary functions such as turn signals, horn or lights, camera systems or even the innovative Space Drive System, which facilitates driving via joystick. These are just some of the many possible options. The e.Go can be tested in our showroom in Wassenberg. We are happy to assist you with the car purchase as vehicles are ordered from e.Go. Interested buyers can also contact the e.Go store directly for further information.
Are you planning to convert other e.Go Mobile electric vehicle models?
Sodermanns: Our first step is to see how well the converted e.Go is being received. Needless to say, we are totally open to modify other e.Go models to meet the unique needs of our customers.