Solar Powered Wheelchair Design Complete With Smartphone Charger

It seems like there is a solar powered concept design for just about everything today, and that even includes wheelchairs. This wheelchair design has retractable solar panels and even a solar powered gadget charger. It was created by a team of students at the University of Virginia’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. Their wheelchair design won first place in the World Cerebral Palsy “Change My World In One Minute” competition.

If this wheelchair was available to anyone who needs it, it would change some people’s lives forever. The students took inspiration from retractable roofs on convertible cars to create the solar powered panels on this wheelchair design. According to the University of Virginia website, “The wheelchair can operate for more than 4 and a half hours at a speed of 5 mph on a fully charged battery, a range increase of more than 40% over batteries alone, and can run indefinitely at a speed of 1 mph on solar power alone, without using the battery.”

The solar panels serve two purposes. Not only do they allow the wheelchair to charge even on cloudy days, but they also provide shade on sunny days. Everything on this wheelchair can be controlled with a joystick. Anyone who has enough mobility to move a joystick can control the chair with ease. The wheelchair also has several USB power outlets so the user can charge a smartphone, tablet or any other mobile device using solar power.

These wonderful students decided to send their prize money (from winning this contest) and their completely operational wheelchair prototype to the man with Cerebral Palsy who inspired them to create this in the first place. 17 million people around the world have Cerebral Palsy. It’s a permanent disability which affects movement. I hope someday this joystick-controlled super-wheelchair can be available to anyone who needs it.

Solar Powered Wheelchair Design

(Click Images To Enlarge)



Via: [Damn Geeky]


  • comment-avatar
    Greg Tedder 6 years

    what would it cost to build a system?

    • comment-avatar
      Emma Beverage 5 years

      I love this idea! What about adding a small fan on each side to capture the wind power to help keep the battery charged? Could you design one with a second chair behind the first so that me and my disabled sister could run around together? That would need a basket large enough to hold at least three or four bags of groceries. How much would that cost?

  • comment-avatar
    Frederick Abayeta 6 years

    This is great work. Am a mechanical engineering student and would like to build one at my school in Ghana ie university of Cape Coast. I will need your assistance. My email address is below.

  • comment-avatar
    jesse 6 years

    i need the design consideration for this project because i want to make something similar for my final year project in school….my email address is

  • comment-avatar
    ROBERT 5 years

    i want to solarise two power chasirs thsnks

  • comment-avatar
    Bridgette 5 years

    I think this needs rethinking with smaller panels as these are domestic solar panels for roofs. Always felt it should be done but this does look rediculous, clumsy and unsafe!