Electric Wheelchair

In an era where the importance of accessibility, independence and inclusivity is becoming increasingly known, electric wheelchairs have emerged as a transformative technology that empowers individuals with mobility challenges. They have come a long way since they were first used to assist veterans in WW2. With advancements in technology we have developed what were originally heavy and bulk electric wheelchairs to wheelchairs offering enhanced comfort, versatility, equipped with various features and ease of use.

electric wheelchair
electric wheelchair
electric wheelchair
electric wheelchair

How much does a good Electric Wheelchair cost?

The price of an electric wheelchair can fluctuate significantly, contingent on the features, brand, and model. Entry-level models may begin at approximately $1,500, whereas more sophisticated models equipped with supplementary features can reach prices exceeding $15,000.

What is the difference between a Mobility Scooter, a PowerAssist Wheelchair and an Electric Wheelchair?

An Electric Wheelchair, also known as a Powerchair, Motorised Wheelchair, or Electric-powered Wheelchair (EPW), is a type of wheelchair that relies on an electric motor for propulsion, typically utilizing differential steering, as opposed to manual effort for movement.

A PowerAssist Wheelchair, on the other hand, is a manual wheelchair with a PowerAssist Motom attached to the Wheelchair axel. 

The difference between these two chairs is that Powerassist combines self-propulsion with smart motor propulsion. A power wheelchair is heavy, wide, and joystick operated.

Lastly Motor Scooters are most similar to an Electric Wheelchair but configured like a Motorscooter. They are primarily intended for short-term indoor use, and they often exhibit characteristics such as bulkiness, challenging portability, weightiness, and limited maneuverability. These scooters may be utilized by individuals who face challenges when walking in venues like stores or public spaces but possess the capability to independently transfer from a vehicle to a mobility scooter, ensuring quick accessibility, for instance.

electric wheelchair
Mobility Scooter
Electric Wheelchair
PowerAssist Wheelchair
Electric Wheelchair
Electric Wheelchair

Will Medicare pay for a Powered Wheelchair?

No, Medicare in Australia will not cover the cost of a Power Wheelchair regardless of what some Google Articles might say. Centrelink do offer an Essential Medical Equipment Payment (EMEP) if you use certain equipment in your home, but this does not include Electric Wheelchairs or Mobility Scooters.

Since 2013, Wheelchairs in Australia have been covered by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) under the category of assistive technology products. The NDIS is a scheme of the Australian Government that funds costs associated with disability. 

How can I get my Powered Wheelchair covered by NDIS?

First you need to qualify for NDIS funding. You can find out more about the NDIS eligibility requirements and application process here. 

Once, you have NDIS funding you need to qualify for level 3 or level 4 assistive technology. To find out more about assistive technology go here. To apply for level 3 or level 4 assistive technology you need to complete the appropriate NDIS assessment form with the help of a qualified assessor or occupational therapist. You will also need a quote for the device from a registered NDIS provider. Then you will lodge this to the NDIS, if you are NDIS managed, or your Plan Manager, if you are Plan Managed, for approval.

What are the disadvantages of an Electric Wheelchair?

Whilst Electric Wheelchairs provide the ability for people with limited mobility to gain a sense of independence and freedom in their lives, it’s important to consider and weigh up the disadvantages of such machines to understand fully what your getting into.

  1. Cost: Electric wheelchairs can be expensive. High-quality models with advanced features and customization options can come with a substantial price tag. Additionally, ongoing maintenance and repair costs can add to the overall expense.

  2. Complexity: Electric wheelchairs are equipped with various components, including motors, batteries, control systems, and electronics. This complexity can lead to potential technical issues or malfunctions that require professional assistance for repairs.

  3. Battery Life: Electric wheelchairs rely on batteries for power. While modern models often use efficient lithium-ion batteries, they still have limitations. Users must be mindful of their battery level and plan for recharging to avoid unexpected power loss.

  4. Weight and Size: Some electric wheelchairs can be heavy and bulky, which may make transportation and storage more challenging. It can be particularly problematic in smaller living spaces or when using public transportation.

  5. Terrain Limitations: Electric wheelchairs may not perform well on all types of terrain. Rough or uneven surfaces, steep hills, and obstacles can pose challenges. In such cases, users may need assistance or an alternative solution.

  6. Dependence on Technology: Electric wheelchairs are highly dependent on technology. If there is a technical issue, users may find themselves without a means of mobility until the problem is resolved.

  7. Accessibility: Not all environments are designed to accommodate electric wheelchairs. Users may encounter obstacles in older buildings, public transportation, and outdoor settings where accessibility infrastructure is limited.

  8. Maintenance and Repairs: Electric wheelchairs require regular maintenance to ensure their proper functioning. Repair costs and downtime during maintenance can be inconvenient.

  9. Learning Curve: Operating an electric wheelchair can have a learning curve, especially for individuals who are transitioning from manual wheelchairs. Users need to become proficient in handling the controls and mastering maneuvering skills.

  10. Safety Concerns: There is a potential for accidents, particularly if users do not have complete control over the chair or if the chair malfunctions. Safety measures, proper training, and regular inspections are crucial.

Electric Wheelchair
Electric Wheelchair

Should I get an Electric Wheelchair or a Mobility Scooter?

Are you wondering whether you should purchase an Electric Wheelchair or Mobility Scooter? Well, firstly it’s important to say that the mobility aid you choose to purchase really depends on your individual needs and preferences. Such factors you need to take into consideration are your mobility, your budget, your storage space, what vehicle you will use to transfer the mobility aid around, how much space you have in that vehicle, the key differences between the aids and your daily lifestyle. Whilst, we do not have capacity to go into the details of every factor you should consider here, we do highly recommend you do your own research and speak to a specialist, like an Occupational Therapist, or NDIS approved supplier. 

Can you turn a regular Wheelchair into an Electric Wheelchair?

Yes, there are a number of different add-ons you can add to your manual wheelchair to make it electric. 

Such add-ons include:

The power assist
This system includes powered wheels that replace the existing manual wheels to create a power assisted manual chair.
See more here.

This is an add-on system that replaces the manual wheels with 16” or 24” powered wheels that can be controlled with a joystick.
See more here.

Alber Smoov
The SMOOV one is your own innovative, smart electric drive that you can dock to your wheelchair whenever you need it.
See more here.

Alber E-Fix
The drive can be individually programmed and can therefore be adapted perfectly to your personal needs.  The e-fix also allows you to cover greater distances and handle slopes effortlessly.
See more here.

Alber E-Motion
The push rim activated add-on that takes the strain off and makes it easier to move the wheelchair over long distances and slopes.
See more here.

Alber E-Pilot
The epilot is an electric add-on scooter that is easily docked to the manual wheelchair. This significantly increases the mobility and independence of the wheelchair user.
See more here.

Klaxon (all-models)
KLAXON KLICK devices have the advantage of being small, light, compact, suitable for travel and everyday use without the need for personal assistance due to its innovative Linking System Klaxon® (Worldwide patented). The Linking System Klaxon® (Worldwide patented) connects to any handbike of the KLICK product range in seconds, allowing you to switch between your favourite KLICK handbikes with ease. The universal connection hub adapts to all manual wheelchair types, including foldable wheelchairs.
See more here.

AAT Solo
The lightweight add-on drive for your wheelchair. Enjoy long drives and live actively with your family – SOLO makes you mobile and flexible. This device does not only enrich your every day life but it also increases your quality of life. The SOLO’s very easy converting concept transforms your manual wheelchair into a light and versatile electrical wheelchair in no time at all.
See more here.

AAT Servo
Its standard program to drive uphill and downhill as well as its intelligent braking function make driving safely up- and downhill feasible. The working concept of the SERVO combines physical power and active mobility while it relieves joints and muscles.High-capacity motors, discreetly blending into the wheels, support the wheelchair user’s initial movement. The wheelchair user’s impulses on the gripping rings are registered and put into motion due to the newly developed, intelligent sensor system.
See more here.





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