A new off-road mobility scooter could open up the joys of the countryside to those with walking impairment, say its developers. Jim Drury reports.
The Boomer Beast is a mobility scooter with a difference. Canadian firm Daymak calls its three-wheeler the first all-purpose vehicle of its kind, giving the disabled and elderly access to both on and off-road travel. SOUNDBITE (English) MIKE CHOW, PRODUCT DESIGNER FOR DAYMAK, SAYING: "We designed it go through any type of terrain, because of the big fat tyres, you can either put it soft for going on off-road trails like this, so it can act as extra shock absorbers and everything else for the sand and snow." An in-built 12-watt solar panel charges a lithium battery, potentially providing continuous daytime charge - or up to six hours' travel at night. With a topspeed of 40 kilometres per hour, it's controllable by a pre-programmed phone app. SOUNDBITE (English) WING FEE YUNG, APP DEVELOPER FOR BOOMER BEAST, SAYING: "It's through Bluetooth....The bike comes with a bunch of presets. We have turbo, off-road, and eco mode. Eco mode lets you conserve your battery - on flat ground you get longer range - and off-road is just optimised to go a little bit 'torquier' for the off-road usage. Turbo gives you a ten percent boost on speed." The app promises to stop over-enthusiastic riders driving too fast on the sidewalks. SOUNDBITE (English) MIKE CHOW, PRODUCT DESIGNER FOR DAYMAK, SAYING: "We sell it prepared to according to your community or county or state or city for what you would like to do, that's what the app is there for. You can lock it in, or your dealer can lock it in." Test drivers say the Beast opens up the countryside to the infirm. SOUNDBITE (English) STEVE ERRICO, DAYMAK BOOMER BEAST TEST DRIVER, SAYING: "Instead of being caged to a sidewalk or on a side street or something, they could get out in the bush, out in the trails, all that kind of stuff." This user agrees. SOUNDBITE (English) RAY HERL, DISABLED MOBILITY SCOOTER USER, SAYING: "It gets me out more. I'm able to go down to the beach, go over to the mall, get around to do things that normally would take me a bit of time." The Beast comes in three versions, costing up to 6,000 dollars. The first batch will be shipped in September.