A six-wheeled all-terrain powerchair capable of tackling tougher terrain than any other mobility aid can begin manufacturing on a larger scale after the firm that builds it secured seed funding from the Development Bank of Wales.
Off-Road Engineering Ltd, which is based in Denbigh, North Wales, netted a £25,000 loan to act as working capital so it can meet the orders it has had from across Europe.
The company’s HexHog is the brainchild of engineer Siôn Pearce who heard of a disabled farmer unable to access his land safely.
The powerchair has a flexible chassis to keep all six wheels on the ground and powered by a lithium-ion battery has a top speed of 9mph, making it compliant with European mobility device regulations.
Pierce told a news outlet that other wheelchairs dubbed ‘all-terrain’ are suitable for flat or muddy surfaces but “struggle with the rugged countryside terrain”.
He told Insider: “From private individuals who enjoy an outdoor life to farm workers who have lost their ability to continue working due to an accident, the Hexhog is ideal for anybody with a physical disability who needs the capability of a quad bike but is dependent on a wheelchair.
“The help from the development bank has made a huge difference. Their faith in our product and our ability to take it to market means that we now have the cash-flow to fund our initial manufacturing.”
Meanwhile, Heather Abrahams, investment executive with the Development Bank of Wales, said: “Siôn has spent five years testing and developing the Hexhog in the harshest of mountain terrains and extreme environments.
“This is the ultimate off-road wheelchair offering unprecedented access to extreme terrain.
“Off-Road Engineering has great international potential and we’re delighted to see that orders for the Hexhog are already coming in.”
Pearce, worked to bring the device to the market five years ago and began selling units in Europe, which he believes to be the product’s largest market. He subsequently began trading via Da Vinci Mobility to reach a wider market.
In March he expressed concern that barriers put up by Brexit could stunt the company’s ability to upscale.