No matter what type of mobility device you use, the allure of being able to go farther and faster with less effort and toll on your body is always appealing. If you use a power chair or assist, the limiting factor is battery life. Thankfully, advances in battery technology are extending the range of wheelchairs, allowing their users more freedom to explore than ever before.
Ian Mackay has completed two 300-mile border-to-border crossings of Washington state in his wheelchair, first going north to south and then east to west. Although lengthy adventures like these are nothing new for him, his journeys have a twist.
A C2 quad, Mackay tackles the terrain, which includes long climbs and descents over steep passes, in his 3-year-old Invacare TDX. Remarkably, he averages 40 miles a day without stopping to recharge. The secret to his long-distance success is that he supplements his lead-acid batteries with a lithium-ion one mounted on a tray behind his chair. A friend custom-built a wiring harness that allows Mackay to toggle between the two types with the flip of a switch.