FAQs

Answers to your most-common questions.

Does the Model M meet my needs?

User Benefits

Cool Design

Compact, minimalistic design provides a greater sense of normalcy, especially for younger users in a school setting. Current users also suggest a greater sense of visibility and approachability. Designed by an award winning designer, it’s a futuristic and fashionable design for a chic and stylish feeling.

More Power

Powered wheelchairs in general have many advantages over manual wheelchairs. For example, the powered drive control enables smooth wheelchair control without the need for motions that could result in repetitive strain injuries. A power option can also reduce fatigue at special events or after strenuous activities. A power option is optimal for those currently using an ultra-lightweight wheelchair if the force, speed and stroke for environments is not safe or effective for functional manual propulsion. Advanced functionality allows for a greater sense of independence.

Active Lifestyle

Model M particularly provides the power and nimbleness to accomplish the necessary tasks of an active lifestyle. It can drive around the house and through the community, covering rough paved surfaces and mild terrains such as low grass, packed sand and gravel. Model M’s 4WD is great for outdoor activities on surfaces including grass, ramps, pebbles and uneven surfaces. The 4WD capability is also exceptional for indoor activities on a variety of surfaces including: tile, wood, thresholds and thick carpet. Model M’s battery range allows professionals and students to commute between the home, office, and school. Compact size and anti-roll lock allow the user to easily utilize public transportation including school buses. Weight bearing arms, bars and seat allow for easier transfers and activities requiring reach.

Recreational Needs

For those who enjoy being active outdoors, the world is filled with unavoidable obstacles. Model M allows for hiking long distances from your cabin to the nearby lake, and can handle the various cracks and inclines that surround us.  The 10-degree incline capability provides a way to get around areas situated on hillsides or other sloped locations. Speed and nimbleness allow for participation in adapted sports.

Save Time

Everyday obstacles can lead to frequent, time consuming challenges that prevent people from getting around quickly. People who are busy with school and travel could benefit from the maneuverability and accessibility provided by Model M. Speed and range can create greater motivation to complete daily tasks, especially as it reduces the amount of time spent on each activity. 4WD and all-directional wheels help reduce the amount of time spent planning and worrying about where you can and can’t go.

For Paraplegia

Primary reasons to use Model M

●     Compact power option

●     Preserve shoulders

●     Drive on rough terrain

●     Travel long distances

Paraplegic patients generally like to use a manual wheelchair for its compact size, maneuverability and the fact that it keeps their upper body as active as possible. Using both powered and manual wheelchairs can prevent early wear and tear in athlete’s shoulders. Specifically, wheelchair athletes who regularly exercise are often recommended to preserve their shoulders from wear and tear. Model M can be beneficial to these users as well based on these features:

●     Compact frame: Model M is about 24” wide, so it can easily fit through doorways, narrow halls and smaller home and apartment spaces.

●     Power option: Using a powered mobility device, even in combination with a manual wheelchair, can be extremely beneficial in increasing mobility for those limited by shoulder pain and carpal tunnel syndrome.

●     4WD: In combination with the 9” all directional front wheels, the 4WD allows the users to handle varying terrains and obstacles of up to 3”, so you don’t have to worry about its outdoor functionality.

●     All-Directional Wheel: Traditional casters are replaced with our patented wheels which each include 24 all-directional rollers, allowing Model M to easily turn around sharp corners or in tight spaces.

●     Distance: WHILL has a battery range of up to 12 miles, allowing full time students and professionals to commute between work and home.

●     Support, but not too much: You can add all of the accessories you need for stability. Model M’s contoured back support helps maximize postural alignment so you can sit comfortably while keeping your posture aligned.

●     Pressure relief: Model M’s pressure relief handles work with “push up” and “lean” pressure relief techniques.

●     Independent transfers: Model M’s weight bearing arms, powered seat slide and foldable foot support also help with independent transfers, as well as activities that require reach.

●     Pull up closer: The 9” powered seat slide is perfect for pulling up to restaurant tables, or for helping you get closer to another seat for transfer.

For Quadriplegia

Primary reasons to use Model M

●     Minimalistic design

●     Compact size

●     More powerful than power-assist

●     Training the core strength

Quadriplegic patients with lower injury level who do not need tilt, recline, and elevating leg rests will still sometimes be prescribed a powered wheelchair due to limited capability to propel independently. Some quadriplegic patients use power-assist on a manual wheelchair, however the power provided with power-assist is limited and insignificant compared to the 4WD capability of Model M. Unlike big and bulky powered wheelchairs, the Model M is sleek and compact. A renovation would not be necessary to make Model M fit in a house. Additional support and active posturing create greater sense of ascendancy over the body, especially as it may help improve core strength and balance. It is a perfect alternative to the traditional powered wheelchair for these reasons:

●     Our minimalistic design retains its functionality without all the added baggage. All in all, Model M just looks better.

●     Compact frame: Model M is about 24” wide, so it can easily fit through doorways, narrow halls and smaller home and apartment spaces.

●     4WD: In combination with the 9” all directional front wheels, the 4WD allows the users to handle varying terrains and obstacles of up to 3”, so you don’t have to worry about its outdoor functionality.

●     All-Directional Wheel: Traditional casters are replaced with our patented wheels which each include 24 all-directional rollers, allowing WHILL to easily turn around sharp corners or in tight spaces.

●     Power option: Using a powered mobility device, even in combination with a manual wheelchair, can be extremely beneficial in increasing mobility for those limited by shoulder pain and carpal tunnel syndrome.

●     Support, but not too much: You can add all of the accessories you need for stability. Model M’s contoured back support helps maximize postural alignment so you can sit comfortably while keeping your posture aligned.

●     Pressure relief: Model’s pressure relief handles work with “push up” and “lean” pressure relief techniques.

●     The pressure release handle is essential to “correct” pelvic obliquity, maximizing pressure distribution and minimizing significant risk of additional or recurrent pressure ulcers.

●     Intuitive steering control: Model M goes exactly where you tell it to, and its responsiveness, acceleration and overall speed can be adjusted to your comfort level.

●     Pull up closer: The 9” powered seat slide is perfect for pulling up to restaurant tables, or for helping you get closer to another seat for transfer.

For Multiple Sclerosis

Primary reasons to use Model M

●     Modern design

●     Great ground clearance

●     Easier to sit at a table

MS patients and many other people with limited mobility choose scooters as a powered option without all the rehabilitative support of a powered wheelchair. Most scooters are not built for inside use and are often not practical in everyday situations. The scooter does not allow the user to sit at the table facing straight. Many scooters do not have the capability to clear high thresholds in a doorway. Model M can be a good fit for MS patients who currently use a scooter but need to shift to a device with a little bit more support due to progressive nature of the disease. Model M does not have a negative stigma attached to it like conventional mobility devices do. People do not perceive the Model M as something for people who are sick or ill, but something that is cool and innovative. Model M is an exceptional alternative to scooters for these reasons:

●     Our minimalistic design retains its functionality without all the added baggage. All in all, Model M just looks better.

●     Pull up closer: The 9” powered seat slide is perfect for pulling up to restaurant tables, or for helping you get closer to another seat for transfer.

●     A hand up: Model M’s pressure relief handles and weight bearing arms are helpful when you need to stand up or move to another seat.

●     4WD: In combination with the 9” all directional front wheels, the 4WD allows users to cover varying terrains and obstacles of up to 3”, so you don’t have to worry about its outdoor functionality.

●     Compact frame: Model M’s approximately 24” frame takes up much less room than a standard scooter, allowing for greater maneuverability within tight spaces.

●     All-Directional Wheel: In addition to the compact frame, WHILL’s patented all-directional wheel technology means WHILL can turn on a dime, so no more three point turns to get out of the kitchen.

●     Support, but not too much: You can add all of the accessories you need for stability. Model M’s contoured back support helps maximize postural alignment so you can sit comfortably while keeping your posture aligned.

●     Distance: Model M has a battery range of up to 12 miles, so you can commute to work or school, or run errands around town.

●     Intuitive steering control: Model M goes exactly where you tell it to, and its responsiveness, acceleration and overall speed can be adjusted to your comfort level.

Letter of Medical Necessity

Below is an example developed by WHILL of what a Letter of Medical Necessity could look like for a fictional wheelchair user William who is diagnosed T5 AIS A SCI.

Current Mobility Device:

Manual wheelchair

Medical / Social / Environmental History:

William is a 34 yo. male who sustained a T5 Complete (AIS A) Spinal Cord Injury as a result of a bicycle accident on September 26, 2015.  He underwent a T4 to T10 posterior spinal fusion at a medical center.  He was transferred to the acute rehabilitation unit for comprehensive rehabilitation and was discharged to his home.

William lives with his wife and their 3 children in a single story home.  All home modifications are complete with the exception of the master bathroom and additional backyard egress, which is currently in progress.   His transportation is by car and mini-van.  He is not driving at this time, however, is planning on modifying his mini-van with ramp and hand controls to allow him to drive independently.  The approximate number of hours per day he spends in his wheelchair is 16.  Other equipment in home includes a transfer tub bench, hydraulic standing frame, over-bed trapeze and transfer board.

Functional Status:

William is paralyzed in his trunk, hips and lower extremities. He is unable to walk and uses a rigid manual wheelchair for all mobility.   He has full motor function in his upper-extremities.  Due to prior R shoulder injury, he experiences decreased strength range of motion and chronic pain. The injury has been formally diagnosed as bicep tendon and rotator cuff tear with degenerative arthritis.

Due to the level of his spinal cord injury he does not have functioning back and abdominal muscles.   His respiratory capacity is compromised and therefore optimal endurance is compromised.

He is independent in morning personal care and functional mobility activities such as toileting, dressing and transfers.  He does experience considerable R shoulder pain with certain activities and requires physical assistance for bed transfers, bed mobility as well as pain medication by the end of the day.

He is independent in propelling his manual wheelchair short distances indoors on level terrain.   Due to Right shoulder injury, he requires maximal physical assist of one person to propel his chair for long distances, in the community and on uneven terrain.

Current Issues That Necessitate Power Wheelchair:

William is the father of three children ages, 8, 10 and 12.  He shares parental responsibility with his wife who works full-time as a nurse.  He currently requires caregiver assist for outdoor mobility and nightly activities.

It is essential that William be safe and independent in all personal care and functional mobility in his home and in the community, not only to achieve his own independence but to be available for parenting and household management activities.

William plans on returning to his previous employment and resuming his prior position as a software engineer.  In order for him to fulfill his work obligations he will need to be independent in all wheelchair mobility during an eight-hour period both in his office and throughout the entire work campus.

A power wheelchair will enable William to be independent throughout his day at home and in the community.  In light of his spinal cord injury, the following benefits the of a power chair will include:

1.    Reduce the propulsion-related repetitive shoulder strain experienced in pushing a manual chair

2.    Conserve energy that he will need to perform all of his personal care and transfers to and from bed, tub bench, sofa and vehicle throughout the day.

3.    Return to work and efficiently perform all assigned activities

Justification:

The WHILL Model M has been determined to be most appropriate due to:

1.    The frame design of the WHILL is unique and unlike the frame style of the traditional power wheelchair.   This will assist in decreasing the negative stigma that a disability and power wheelchair can hold.

2.    Home and work site evaluations were conducted to determine which power chair was most easily maneuverable in both environments. The WHILL wheelbase and seat frame is more compact than chairs of equal seat dimensions.  This will provide    increased maneuverability in his home and the tight working quarters of William’s office space.

3.    The all-wheel drive feature performed optimally on uneven outdoor terrain such as gravel and grass.

The following accessories are essential to accompany the chair.

●     Cushion is essential for maximal pressure relief on sacrum and buttocks    while sitting and standing in the chair.  William has absent sensation in all areas below his level of injury and has a history of sacral skin breakdown.

●     Rigid back insert Provides necessary lumbar and thoracic support to facilitate proper trunk alignment and pelvic position.  Will assist in inhibiting trunk deformity and skin breakdown.

●     Pelvic Positioner- Keeps users body safely supported and secure while in the chair

The Above Equipment Will Assist William in Meeting The Following Goals:

●     Safe and independent indoor, outdoor and community wheelchair mobility on all surfaces and terrain

●     Return to independent functioning at home and work and efficiently perform all personal care and functional activities.

●     Reduce the incidence of skin breakdown and progression of deformity

●     Promote healthy total body alignment.

●     Promote total body comfort throughout the workday and increase pain free sitting tolerance.

Does the Model M require a prescription?

  • Yes, you need to get a prescription from your physician or doctor.
  • Your physician determines the medical necessity of providing you with a wheelchair, as evidenced by a prescription.
  • WHILL’s Resellers cannot sell Model M to anyone without a prescription.
  • WHILL will not take orders from reseller unless they confirm the user has a prescription.

What types of terrain can the Model M and Model A navigate?

WHILL’s 4WD allows it to travel on rugged surfaces including cracked sidewalks, grass, pebbles and even light snow.

Check out the videos on our YouTube channel to see WHILL in action.

How do I take a Model M on public transportation?

If you are going to ride in Model M while in a car or public transportation be sure to order the optional tie down points.

WHILL’s 4 point tie down system is RESNA tested and safe to use on any ADA compliant form of public transportation including MUNI.

For example, in San Francisco, MUNI requires (https://www.sfmta.com/getting-around/accessibility/access-muni-buses) that any vehicle which doesn’t fit within the 30” x 40” securement area be tied down using the 4 point securements. WHILL accommodates those rules because it not only fits the 30” x 40” area, but it also has 4 tie down points. Check your local public transportation website for more info on bringing your powered mobility device on board.

Federal Transit Administration – Questions and Answers Concerning Wheelchairs and Bus and Rail Service

How far can a Model A and Model M travel on a full battery?

WHILL runs on two 12V 50Ah sealed lead acid batteries that take 8-9 hours to fully charge. WHILL can travel up to 15 miles on a full charge.

At which parks can I drive a WHILL personal EV?

The National Parks Service website includes information about the accessibility of individual National parks. Model M is suitable for any trail listed in the park’s “Accessible Trails” section.

Where can I purchase a Model A or a Model M?

Please enter your zip code into our store locator to find the nearest WHILL dealer.

You can also contact info@WHILL.us for purchasing information or call 1-844-MY-WHILL (1-844-699-4455).

Can I transport a WHILL in a car?

Yes, both WHILL Model A and WHILL Model M can be transported in many vehicles. Note that only the Model M has the securement points necessary to enable someone to sit in the wheelchair while riding in a vehicle. There are two ways to transport WHILL.

1.Using a Ramp

Vehicles that are compatible with WHILL are listed below. Generally, a vehicle needs an opening that is 40 inches high and 50 inches wide. We recommend the WheelzAhead Tour, a collapsible and very portable ramp that is 36-60 inches long by 7.5 inches wide. WHILL easily drives up the ramp using the directional controller and fits nicely in the back of the car. The whole loading and unloading process takes about a minute. See how to do it here:

 

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2.Using TriLift

WHILL’s compact products just got even easier to transport thanks to our friends at TriLift Mobility . Now you can bring WHILL wherever you go without having to worry about limited cargo space or bulky platform attachments. TriLift’s minimalistic design compliments WHILL’s petite frame, allowing you to attach WHILL to your vehicle without adding much to its length. Even better, TriLift’s simple attachment process combined with WHILL’s intuitive functionality makes connecting the two a breeze.

 

trilift

The TriLift system requires the attachment of a bracket to your WHILL. The bracket is essentially permanent, as it is not meant to be removed on a regular basis, but it does not require any warranty- voiding customization. The Trilift system works as a set. Along with the bracket attached to your WHILL, TriLift also requires a lift attached to your automobile’s Class II or III hitch. To attach WHILL to the lift, simply back WHILL up so that the triangular bracket is aligned with the smaller triangular lift. The lift is powered, so simply use the remote to elevate WHILL. You will see the smaller triangle interlocks with the larger one, keep raising the lift until WHILL is fully off the ground and secure.

Check out TriLift’s gallery to see how it looks on different vehicles. TriLift can be used with any vehicle that has a Class II or Class III Hitch. TriLift costs $3,500 for the bracket plus an installation fee. Click here to find a TriLift dealer near you. For more information on TriLift’s cost and size specifications, contact the manufacturer directly here.

 

What is the WHILL product warranty?

WHILL ultimate care 5-year new personal EV limited warranty

For five (5) years from the date of purchase, WHILL will repair or replace at our option to the original purchaser, free of charge, all parts found upon examination by an authorized representative of WHILL to be defective in material and/or workmanship with the following exclusions; wearable parts including tires (front and rear), trim components such as covers and seat cushions that are scratched or defaced due to wear and tear.  The battery and tires warranty is limited to 1-year only.

How does the Model A and Model M turn?

Although the WHILL Model A and WHILL Model M have some similarities to other mobility devices, it is worth explaining the feel and advantages of their unique drivetrain.

Model A and Model M both have 4WD with belts that link each rear and front wheel. This provides increased traction as compared to other driving systems. For example if the rear wheels lose traction, the front wheels are still capable of propelling the device forward.

Model A and Model M use patented all-directional wheels which allow them to “glide” when spinning. There is no wobble associated with change in direction as happens with casters that need to spin to face the direction of travel. Also, the large diameter of the front wheel provides more climbability compared to most caster chairs.

It’s important to note that Model A and Model M turn on their rear wheels, therefore the pivot axis is near the user’s tail bone (similar to rear wheel drive systems). It does not “fishtail” like a front or mid wheel drive chair, and the majority of the chair is in the user’s view, which can help prevent collisions.

What are the benefits of the front omni-wheels?

The all-directional wheel technology is one of the advanced features of WHILL Model A and WHILL Model M that has been creating a lot of speculation and interest.

Conventional all-directional wheel technology was invented for vehicles such as forklifts and cars but has never been an effective application for wheelchairs due to several design flaws in existing implementations. Seeing these efforts, we believed that the same concept used in these other vehicles could be perfected and ultimately applied to personal mobility to create a revolutionary device.

The issue with current personal mobility devices is that there is a trade off between turning radius and terrain coverage. When a device has smaller casters, it enables a small turning radius, but it limits the ability to drive over small bumps and curbs. This is why some people choose to use larger wheels to traverse through rough terrains, and sacrifice the tight turning radius that smaller casters provide.

Witnessing these issues first hand, our team of engineers decided to use all-directional wheel technology for the front casters. The all-directional wheel engineered by WHILL is built using 24 small rollers that collectively create one large caster. The rollers all move individually allowing you to glide sideways and achieve a tighter turning radius while simultaneously providing the greater terrain coverage. Our WHILL engineers have tested and refined the omni wheel numerous times to create a front caster so sophisticated that it redefines the whole concept of personal mobility. The team’s pride and dedication is evidenced by the attention to detail and countless hours put into this single component on the device. Some may see it as just another wheel, but we see it as the next generation of personal mobility.

Is the Model M FDA approved? Is the Model A?

The Model M is FDA approved. However, the WHILL Model A is not considered a medical device and has not been submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for review or clearance. The product aims to improve mobility for all.

How is the Model A configured when it’s delivered?

We ask our partners to send us their suggested configuration settings based on your body measurements and seating preferences. We then adjust the seating as much as possible prior to shipment. When our partner delivers the unit, he or she will complete the configuration by fine tuning the device so that it fits you perfectly.

Click here to see the many ways that WHILL Model A’s seating can be configured to fit individual needs.

How fast does the WHILL Model A go?

The WHILL Model A’s maximum speed is 5.5 miles per hour.

On the Model A the speed settings can be configured by using the WHILL App. The app allows the user to decrease the maximum speed. It also allows the user to alter the speed of forward acceleration and deceleration, reverse acceleration and deceleration, and turn acceleration and deceleration individually.

Still have a question?

Email us at info@WHILL.us or call 1-844-MY-WHILL