On the occasion of the launch of the new Ergo 08L model, Martin Vernay, co-founder of ErgoConcept, delivers some information on the company’s motivation to invest in a new range of folding electric wheelchairs.
You are deploying a range of light and compact folding electric wheelchairs, why did you choose to complete your offer with the E08L model?
ErgoConcept is a family business created in July 2014, with my father, Jacques Vernay. We are pioneers in the development and distribution of lightweight folding electric wheelchairs. At the launch of the company, we marketed only the Ergo 07L, which was a real innovation in the offer proposed to people with disabilities and reduced mobility. At that time, there was no wheelchair as light and compact as the Ergo 07L.
Our philosophy is based on a permanent questioning of our solutions. We are constantly looking for improvement by listening to users, service providers and healthcare professionals. It is an inexhaustible source of ideas that allows us to see and design our chairs from different points of view. The Ergo 07L has undergone about 40 modifications between the first prototype and its current version. So it was a natural step for us to offer our customers a completely “reinvented” version of the lightweight folding electric wheelchair in 2019.
To design this new version, the Ergo 08L, we had brainstorming sessions, questionnaires and discussions to identify all the areas for improvement that we could make. And there was a lot of work ! Everything was rethought, reinvented, improved and tested to reach a model that satisfied all those involved. Obviously and fortunately, this new model, like all our references, will evolve according to user feedback.
How is this model complementary to the E07L and E09L?
The initial idea was to merge the strong points of the 2 models E07L and E09L and to “synthesize” them in a new chair. Combine the lightness of the Ergo 07 with the positioning settings of the Ergo 09L. But the notion of “complementary” is essential in our eyes. We are aware that each user’s needs are unique, depending on their morphology, pathology, age, leisure activities, environment or lifestyle… It therefore seems essential to us to get closer to each person’s needs by offering a wider range of wheelchairs, combined with a large number of accessories that allow each wheelchair to be unique, like our users.
Can you explain why the E08L model is a real innovation on the market?
It is the first wheelchair in its category that offers a multitude of adjustments (backrest, seat, footrest, armrests…), while guaranteeing a lightness and practicality that has been largely rethought. We have been working on this new model for more than 2 years, and today, the first echoes are very positive. We have been able to listen, understand and analyse new ideas, turning them into concepts, tests and prototypes. We have sometimes made mistakes, but, driven by this desire to bring new solutions, we have succeeded in developing a chair that meets our requirements.
What is this new E08L user type ?
This chair is totally customizable, so it has been specifically designed to adapt to the different needs of each user. Moreover, with all accessories we have developed, there are many possibilities to make it an ideal model. With its 30 km of autonomy, 10 inch rear wheels and 8 inch front wheels (pneumatic or pneumatic tire), it can be used both indoors and outdoors. The Ergo 08L is therefore aimed at those who want to improve their daily mobility, from their home to their local activities, as well as at travellers who are looking for more flexibility in their travels. And since this compact model weighs only 25 kg, Ergo 08L can be easily positioned in the trunk of a city car, so it is very practical.
Are you considering other mobility solutions?
We have new ideas every day (and every night). Having a sales force in France and abroad gives us continuous feedback, and opens up new prospects for development, both in new mobility solutions and in accessories, some of which could really change the lives of some users.