BMW Wheelchair

BMW North America will be building performance wheelchairs for the US Paralympic Track and Field team to compete in the upcoming Rio Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It won’t just be any wheelchair according to USA Today, it’s designed to go fast.

First of all, the wheelchair will of course be of a lightweight structure, meaning that it will be constructed out of carbon-fibre as opposed to aluminium. It will also have a redesigned chassis, and even receive BMW’s engineering touches. To reduce drag coefficient numbers, BMW’s “signature aerodynamics efficiencies” will be applied, while the steering and braking systems will modified as well.

“Ultimately, our goal is to make sure the athlete’s energy is used to propel themselves versus the chair they’re sitting in. The whole goal is to make the chair invisible,” said Trudy Hardy, vice president of marketing for BMW North America. BMW is a company that “likes to solve mobility challenges,” she added.

The prototype is expected to be ready by early 2016, with final enhancements to be made a few months before the Rio Paralympics in September 2016. Interestingly, BMW was also involved in designing and creating a bobsled for the US team to compete in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics – the said team took home a bronze medal, their first in 62 years.