Whill Inc, which develops and sells “personal mobilities,” announced April 13, 2017, that it has developed a new model, “Whill Model C,” and will start shipment in June 2017 in Japan.

The price of the Model C is ¥450,000 (approx US$4,131, excluding tax), which is less than half the price of the “Model A” (existing product, ¥995,000).

Personal mobilities developed by Whill fall into the category of electric wheelchair. But they can run over small bumps without causing discomfort. Also, they are compact and can change direction on the spot. The Model C can travel as far as 16km (approx 9.94 miles) per charge.

“They can be seamlessly used anywhere, both indoors and outdoors, and enable users to move comfortably on a daily basis,” Whill CEO Satoshi Sugie said.

Unlike the Model A, the Model C can be separated into three parts without using a tool and carried in a passenger car, etc, and its rechargeable battery can be detached.

Specifically, the Model C can be separated into the chair, driving part (rear wheels) and front wheels. For this feature, Whill employed a two-wheel-drive (2WD) mechanism in place of the four-wheel-drive (4WD) mechanism used for the Model A. The company newly developed an in-wheel motor in cooperation with Nidec Corp.

However, the Model C can run over up to 5cm-high bumps while the Model A can run over up to 7.5cm-high bumps. And the length of the Model C is 985mm, which is about 10cm longer than that of the Model A (890mm). The length was increased to improve stability when the wheelchair is running down a hill, etc.

On the other hand, the 2WD mechanism eliminates the need for the part that drives the front wheels, reducing the weight by 64kg (from 116kg to 52kg).

The rechargeable battery of the Model C can be detached and charged in a room, etc. The battery of the Model A needs to be charged by connecting a charger to the main unit. Whill developed the new battery module in collaboration with Panasonic Corp.