Need Parts Advice for Building an Electric Wheelchair

Hi guys,

I have a really special project which I need to help a handicapped guy to build an electric wheelchair.
The idea is to use electric skateboard parts for the drive system. Money isn’t an issue here.

What are the best products I can buy which includes: dual BIG motors (torque is very important, not speed), dual VESC, pneumatic wheels and trucks.


I’d consider using AWD 10in airless hub motors. They’re heavy and reliable. Mount the battery low and you have yourself a fast and stable wheel chair with all the torque you could ever want


@Fosterqc :arrow_up:


I’m making a go kart using an old wheel chair that had a transaxle. I think for reliability hub motor like @jack.luis said is a good option.
I would concentrate on keeping all the heavy weight low and central. I know when my grandpa was going into his paralysis stage, his lightweight wheelchair would knock over very easily because he couldn’t control his body, and having a very light shortwheel electric chair meant he uhmm had one major fall where he rolled down a hill. Thankfully, he was fine.

An other option is as I’m doing, using the original transaxle. It’s a differential so one motor controlls both wheels. It makes for good cornering, but traction is a bit of a tradeoff.

I wouldn’t use too many esk8 parts, you need a redundant system for someone handicapped imo.

Maybe an existing Hilary frame or axle. These have disc brakes installed. Hubs is definitely the best option without it being overly complicated.


For reference I’m using an Invacare Colibri frame


It all depends what he/she wants to do with it and we’re he/she wants to go no point building a race car if you intend to go up mountains


You’ve seen this right?

If money is no object you could start with that and replace the electronics with some serious business.
Maybe it’s too big for the city tho, so starting with that Colibri thing instead?


We already had it, don’t buy that shit haha (1000euro new)
You can find it on eBay used for like 200 which is a good deal.

You can also buy just the transaxle for around 100euro. My transaxle has a gearing of 59/3. You need a big kB motor if using smaller wheels. Using 10" with a 500kv motor gives me 60km/h

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Oops I got confused. I thought Style was using a Colibri for his build.

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Thanks for all the comments guys. I guess I wasn’t clear enough about this specific project.

The idea is to take an existing lightweight wheelchair and add it an option of being electric when needed. The drive system is going to be mounted on the wheelchair in such a way that it can be folded when unneeded. Therefore, the system itself should be light, and I think scoter hub motors are not an option since they are big and heavy.

In this project my responsibility is to build the electric part of it and not the mechanics.
What I’m looking for:

  • High quality dual VESC. Thinking about; BKB Xenith V2, Maker-X Go-FOC DV6, maybe Trampa?
  • Good big brushless motors - what are the best options?
  • Good off-roading wheels.
  • Wide and high quality trucks - any suggestions?

Again, money isn’t an issue here, I want the best parts possible.

2 Likes™-turbine™-series-6542-motor-hypertrucks-fit

You can do any thing from a
jockey wheel at the frount
Friction drive on the existing wheels
replacing the wheels with bike hub motors
Sprocket the current wheels

Do you have pic of the chair your modifying there’s lots of way the foled depending on the moddle most the sports ones fold down and removing the bash Gards and wheels were the hospital ones foled sideways

Most wheel chairs are designed to be pushed from behind and tip the frount small wheels up to get over things with the centre of gravity over the back axle this is incredible bad if moterising as the just do wheels and fall backwards you may need to move the back wheel backwards or consider a sports chair as thay already moved the real wheels back

OP please dont buy these this was a joke response lol

this would help a lot.

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I’m gonna try to friction drive the rear wheels with koolwheel hubs.

Why? 1 Inspired by this post , 2 it was cluttering my office. 3, if they have buttboard/seated lap for funsies on race day, the SRB riders won’t stand a chance. :sunglasses:

Shit, @JaysTCB recently hit 70-80mph laying flat. Maybe I’ll add cup holders and stock them with his favorite beer and win by tricking him in to taking a pit stop for cold one. :thinking:

I’ll send a pic of the rear wheels when I get home. You could almost do a bird scooter hub direct swap.


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I am here because I was reading posts with a plan to make an off-road (hopefully beach) vehicle for my wife. My wife lost her hands and feet a decade ago due to sepsis. She can walk a short distance on prosthetic legs on level ground, but uses a compact power wheelchair when we are out and about.

Manual wheelchairs are 2 wheel drive with reverse, and there is no inherent limitation to them making a 90 degree turn in three feet and ejecting the rider. Depending on the person’s disability, they may be stuck until assistance arrives. Because of this some caution is warranted, especially in the testing phase.

Work on a spare chair, not their daily chair.

Have you examined the existing options?

From what you describe, a good option would be one of the kits that adds a single hub wheel to the front of the chair, and lifts the front casters. They are all in one affairs. First a bracket is added to the manual chair, then the:
wheel-motor-battery-esc-controls unit
Can be attached or detached in about 15 seconds.
These usually have about 15 miles of range at 15mph, but they are a good starting point to mod.

If you want to attach motors to the chair’s existing wheels, be aware that the small front casters and the front back center of gravity will be limitations. If you change the castors, their turning radius will be different, and maybe limiting. If you change the center of gravity they may not be able to hop a gap. When you have the chair reverse it may tip them over backwards.

If you want them to have a kick ass chair that uses modern technologies, check out wheelchairdriver both for the home page and the forums.

I am planning on making a joystick controlled chair.
I will use:
opentx for the joystick to differential steering with throttle curves I can draw instead of code

Uumotor hub wheels with built in encoders, I would like better, but that is the best high torque motors with encoders I could find. Qsmotors also make nice hub motors, but they don’t have encoders

Dual vesc esc


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