by Ian Ruder and Tim Gilmer, with Bob Vogel

Whill-2

Minimalist. Attractive. Design forward. Pretty.

Those aren’t words usually associated with power wheelchairs, but they keep popping up in conversation after conversation about the WHILL, a new “personal mobility device” designed and brought to market by a team of former auto industry designers. After five years of design and testing, a good degree of Internet fame and a successful funding campaign that resulted in $11 million, the WHILL — pronounced like “will power,” not “wheel” — is finally available to a nationwide market.

See Bob Vogel’s test results:
Test Driving the WHILL

With a low-profile frame highlighted by two white arms emerging from just in front of the rear wheels, the WHILL resembles a wheelchair that was ripped off the set of a futuristic sci-fi movie more than it does any power chair currently on the market. It is sleek. It is eye-catching. As one user told me, “It’s like the Apple of wheelchairs.”

The current version, the Model A, does not have all the features that wheelchair users with higher level spinal c