Well, due to the three comments on the post, I’m going to share with you the list of companies I have reached out to for the EV and their responses, and who I’d like to reach out to. Always open to suggestions! (This is not for everyone who has helped us, I could thank them for weeks!!)
So, the first thing to say is that I’m specifically targeting companies that have the tech to help me with this project, and also have the money. So each company has a reason behind it which I’ll share. The concept comes from wheelchairdriver.com .
First, people and companies that have said yes and been helpful!
- Jack Zedek and the Zedek extended family. Jack is building the chair, he is the force behind the design and mechanical innovation and the pictures you see on this blog. I’m calling the EV a Zedek Custom Design or something similar. His extended family are also helping out in so many ways. First and foremost, Jack gets top billing!
- Lynn O’Neil and James Bartolozzi. Our friends and realtors have been super generous to us for years and during this illness.
- Tim Smith, Arm and Hammer Custom Carpentry also sponsors the EV, another personal friend (and former boss) who has been so kind to us.
- Convenience Tire and Auto, Timmy Tyrell. Mr Timmy, as I call him, is my mechanic of choice for all my cars! He’s a wonderful man, runs an awesome shop, his son, Mini Tyrell, races for pediatric cancer awareness, and he would like to help with the chair as well!
Ok. People who I have reached out to, and have had positive experience or responses even if they aren’t helping.
- BMW Designworks: Via their website email. These guys designed the seats for BMW’s M series, they also designed the US bobsled for the winter Olympics AND the racing wheelchair for the US Paralympic team. I reached out to them last year and have heard back, but the company isn’t able to help.
- Williams Advanced Engineering: I reached them on Twitter first, then referred to email. The technology group of the Williams Grand Prix Engineering group, they developed the batteries for Formula E, they study lightweight materials like carbon fiber, they study aerodynamics, they’ve built a battery-powered bicycle, they collaborate with companies for innovation. I heard back from a nice lady named Claire, but haven’t established consistent contact, nor a partnership.
- Sparco: Reached out on Facebook and was given an email to reach to. No response yet. Sparco builds racing seats and harnesses, and they make a carbon fiber seat called the SPX that would be perfect.
- Lamborghini USA: They have advanced carbon fiber engineering. And awesome styling. And what man wouldn’t want to have a Lambo badge on the car? I wrote and got a kind response from customer service, they couldn’t help me with carbon fiber but they sent me some swag. I have hope that they might see the light of bringing the world a Lambo EV. Raging bull!
- Personal Contact at VW: I’m asking a lot and no promises here – I’m hoping that maybe someone in VW group would want to invest in a pEV. VW and Audi and Porsche all work on self-driving cars, and on electric motors and controls. With this in mind, I would love to be an advertising board for VW, or Audi, or Porsche, making the name pop out on something people aren’t used to seeing! And with what it looks like so far, i “think” that the pEV has the looks to make people notice! (I also love the R8… and did you know Audi owns Lamborghini? It’s all there, it’s a sign!)
- Zeisel Powerchairs: via email, the response was “we don’t export to the US”. Avoided the whole partnership thing… may try again because they have the know-how on electronics for powered wheelchairs.
- Kilmore Powerchairs: Tom builds a chair similar to my concept for a living. He’s very kind but lives in the UK so I can’t partner with him very easily.
- Williams F1: they can’t sponsor me as they are a sponsored company. Maybe they could hire me anyway.
- Concept2Composite: local carbon fiber fabricator tried to help me make wheels but it fell through. I might ask to make a footplate through them out of carbon fibre.
Ok, negative feedback time. Either they gave responses that weren’t helpful or were kind of flippant…
- Porsche USA: separate from VW, they responded that they build cars, but that’s it. Then radio silence after follow-up emails.
- Haas F1 team: I emailed them 3 times over the course of 6 months – after the second, they blocked my email.
- Trekinetic: a WC company that told me I didn’t want to go fast in a powerchair.
- Koenigsegg: they do not sponsor. (They make a carbon fiber car which is beautiful.)
- Telsa: emailed and was told to email a different contact then was no response.
- (Negative responses: Red Bull – they don’t sponsor outside of their scouts, which was unfortunate.)
No reply at all:
- Ferrari – they don’t have a strong electric vehicle background, but having the Ferrari of EVs would be…. awesome.
- Sauber F1
- Renault F1
- Koons of Manassas
- Under Armor
- Ferrari of DC
- Crawford Composites
So, I still need to reach out to Audi Sport, Mercedes, Ferrari (again via Twitter), Robotech, Emotiv, battery companies, wheelchair joystick companies, and more – the goal would be to have Jack’s prototype become a product for a company, or at least get engineering or product help from those companies in exchange for slapping their decals and brands on everything.
If anyone knows who can make a custom joystick pod, let me know. Or have any other companies that would be willing to invest in this kind of thing. (For example, Toyota and Mercedes both invest in city mobility vehicles, or electric bikes, etc. So does Honda. Companies are looking for a city mobility solution might be interested.)