Independent review by a long-term mobility user:

Firstly, I wish to state I have no affiliation to eFOLDi (beyond my final sentence) or any other mobility products.  I’m simply very enthusiastic about the eFOLDi, primarily as a mobility scooter, because of what it offers for me personally, in meeting my day-to-day needs.

Reviewer’s Personal Perspective

My experience is with a variety of mobility scooters & powerchairs (mostly second-hand) during the last twelve years.  One at a time, I frequently have to use two scooters & two powerchairs to meet my various needs.

Current, regular needs include; GENUINE battery capacity for regular ’round’ trips upto 13 miles including up (about 1/4 mile x3, requiring reasonable motor power) & down hills, carrying shopping, limited storage space when not in use (some monster four wheelers thereby eliminated), limited travelling time (therefore needing the UK public roads maximum of 8 miles per hour switchable to UK pedestrian areas maximum of 4 miles per hour), reasonable comfort (large wheels + some suspension decidedly preferable on most UK footpaths & roads) & ruggedness with decent ground-clearance (for the same reasons), good stability (therefore seat not too high above ground) yet narrow enough to get through average domestic doorways, good manoeuvrability (e.g. in shops & hospitals, probably necessitating three wheels instead of four), ease of getting the scooter or powerchair into a smaller car than I currently have.  (I presently need a seven-seater VW Touran just because of the size of the scooter now usually in use.)

eFOLDi – Initial Thoughts:

First finding the eFOLDi via a web search for ‘folding scooter’, I was impressed.  The pictures, videos & specifications looked too good to be true to meet my needs.  Oh, & the price!!!

At a show, when first sighting the black eFOLDi prototype, I was even more impressed.  It appeared more compact than the pictures & videos implied to me.  The fully sprung seat somehow looks lower than a standard chair, yet it’s the same height, aiding easy transfer if required.  As a scooter, it belies it’s folding capability & feels easily sturdy enough to safely propel my 98kg (15,1/2 stones), 6’2″ (188cm) mass over typical UK ‘footpaths’.

Controls:

I much favour the instant response, motorcycle type, twist-grip ‘throttle’ of the eFOLDi (instead of the common, laggy, central pivoting, double-ended, forward/reverse lever) & the bicycle type front brake lever with the additional benefits of locking ‘on’ & operating the rear brake lights.  Those (I think obviously) are on the very nicely balanced short handlebar which has necessary switches at the middle rear, ideal for the thumbs.  Not ‘braking’ by the motor probably contributes to improved range as the eFOLDi requires nil power whilst freewheeling (remarkably well on the level).

Transportation/Parking:

Folding to the size of a suitcase negates most ‘not-in-use’ space concerns & then the rear wheels become like suitcase wheels, the whole unit being well balanced with hand-hold height options when lifting the unit up or down steps, on or off trains/buses, etc., if the user or anyone nearby is able to lift the 19kg single piece, but it should be relatively easily rolled up or down ramps.  The thoughtful addition of two small castors at 90 degrees to the driven wheels, simplistically aids almost effortlessly slipping the compacted eFOLDi into a gap between furniture (or other ‘suitcases’) just by tilting  it slightly to raise the driven wheels from the ground.

Storage:

The two zipped side pockets (included) provide storage for the eFOLDi’s tiny charger (a fraction of the size of common lead cell chargers), mains power lead & a folding walking stick (or two) with space to spare.  There’s also a large zipped pocket on the rear of the seat in which I can store my thin jacket &/or cape.  I like to carry a puncture repair kit, spare inner tube & mini toolkit ‘just-in-case’!

Electrics

All of the lights (including indicators) are LED’s which mean minimum power drain for maximum visibility to other road users (except to those drivers who appear to be blind), with an excellent ‘headlamp’.  The horn is a rarity – people can actually hear this one as it’s facing forward unrestricted & is easily the loudest I’ve heard on any scooter or powerchair.

Alighting

Because of the excellent ground clearance & manoeuvrability, the user cannot sit down & swivel on the seat in quite the usual way, although the eFOLDi allows the user to consider various options for getting on or off it.  (1) You can have it completely unfolded & lift one leg between the tiller & seat (like a ladies’ bicycle – my usual preference due to my disabilities).  (2) Have it completely unfolded & lift one leg over the seat rest (like a motorcycle).  (3) You can leave the seat rest folded down, swing one leg around behind the rear wheels, then lift the seat rest (a strap or cord may be useful to save bending down or twisting your back) which I’m likely to have to do on occasions.  (4) Leave the tiller/handlebar folded flat to the front edge of the seat, swing one leg around the front, sitting down, then lift the tiller into place.  (5) Leave the tiller folded with the handlebar end to the front edge of the seat, swing one leg around the front, sit down, then lift the tiller into place.  (6) Sit down from either side with the tiller/handlebar positioned as in either suggestions 4 or 5, sweep the nearest leg over the front & tiller, then lift the tiller/handlebar into place.  Other people may find yet more ways.

There are currently no arm rests on the eFOLDi which, for me, is great as I tend to use my walking stick when getting on or off a scooter, instead of arm rests which get in my way the remainder of the time.  (I’ve always removed redundant arm rests from previous scooters & powerchairs.)  Some people may need to park next to a sturdy table, or such like, to use instead of an arm rest if required when getting on or off the eFOLDi.

Conclusion

Will the eFOLDi suit my needs?  I believe it will suit my current needs far better than any alternative scooter or powerchair I know of.  Compared to my current scooter (which, overall, has been the best & most used of all scooters & powerchairs I’ve owned), the eFOLDi is as good in terms of actual distance possible from one full charge, quicker (current is only 6mph), has better batteries (i.e. small Lithium-Ion with virtually no memory effect instead of pitiful Lead/Gel), has much better ground clearance (current is less than 2″), requires a fraction of the storage space &/or car boot space, somewhat better manoeuvrability & has comparable stability even though it’s wheelbase is narrower.  Folded alternatively, I’ll even have my own private seat on a busy promenade!  (See the video if you don’t understand that last comment.)  Any compromises?  Yes, it’s got slightly smaller rear wheels & I’ll have to work out alternative ‘loading’ for shopping (e.g. a rucksack on the back of the seat), but instead of having to have my Touran with electric hoist (mounted in the boot) required to lift the big scooter in & out, with an eFOLDi I can have an old (proper) VW Beetle & easily put the eFOLDi in place of the front passenger seat.  (Other people can sit in the back.)  If the Beetle option falls through, I’ll consider two seater micro-cars once I’ve got the eFOLDi.  Good-bye fuel-guzzling, dodgy electronics, overly complicated, expensive spares, long parking space requiring Touran!  Instead of a total of four units of powered mobility transport currently, I believe the eFOLDi will be the only one I shall need in future, freeing up a great deal of space at home & it will mean less mains electrcity consumption.

At the show I mentioned, I saw the prototype at the end of the day (seven hours stint), after it had been tried/ridden by many people (upto full speed & not just a few yards) & seldom switched off.  The Lithium-Ion batteries were still performing as if they were fresh, yet they’d had no ‘topping up’ at all.

All I’ve told you means the eFOLDi is a hands-down, real winner, no-brainer – I’ve committed to buying one!


-By John Wilson 

“I had heard how great the eFOLDi was and how it could help improve mobility, but still very much impressed when I got the opportunity to test ride it myself! It was really comfortable with cushioned seat and big wheels. Worked nicely even on grassy and muddy terrain. Packed easily into the boot of a car. Also folded to a chair, which was very handy when waiting for a bus or enjoying a coffee.”

– Barry Slayford, Chairman, Round Table of Inventors

“eFOLDi folds into a drivable tricycle, which is cool because if you’re an elderly person who needs to carry a case or chair, then getting them onto a plane or a bus is a real pain in the backside. If you lack mobility or are a silver surfer, the world of mobility is often overlooked. We’re all getting older and the population is about to go through a big demographic shift and I think eFOLDi is really nice!”

– Jason Bradbury, The Gadget Show Presenter, Channel 5

“What a wonderful opportunity to imbed the Surrey ingenuity of eFOLDi and Sumi Wang into the Entrepreneurship MSc programme… eFOLDi is easy fold, compact but at the same time very sturdy to carry my weight. It will help me get around on campus easily. eFOLDi is a great crowdfunding idea! UK crowds should be excited about this innovative pre-commerce opportunity!”

– Jim Sears, Senior Teaching Fellow, University of Surrey

“I was a whizz on the scooter! I was trying out the eFOLDi at the BBC newsroom. Very sturdy and comfortable to ride on. Very easy to turn the corners and the lights looks really cool. What impressed me the most was how easy it was to fold eFOLDi to a suitcase shape and just drag it wherever you go.”

– Mark Carter, Presenter, BBC Surrey

“eFOLDi is a very clever and well engineered piece of invention! Although I have only evaluated a prototype instead of a final product, I’m truly impressed by the idea and the execution. The eFOLDi is of very good quality with details well designed like indicators, speed controls and battery for air travels.”

– Mark Sheahan, President, the Institute of Patentees and Inventors

“At a first glance, I thought it was just a trolley suitcase with big wheels. So I was really amazed when I saw how it was unfolded to a chair and to a trike so easily, just like a transformer! I of course tried it on and the ride was sturdy, comfortable and fun. A very good piece of engineering! Very impressed!”

– Rosemary French, Executive Director, Gatwick Diamond Initiative

“eFOLDi is a brilliant product and has the potential to make life easier for people with limited mobility as well as those without! We’re thrilled that this fantastic invention has been recognised by Gadget Show Live. Sumi Wang and her father have done a great job in taking this idea forward and I’m sure eFOLDi will be a fantastic product to market.”

– Simon Bland, Business Manager, Reigate and Banstead Borough Council


Independent review by a long-term mobility user:

Firstly, I wish to state I have no affiliation to eFOLDi (beyond my final sentence) or any other mobility products.  I’m simply very enthusiastic about the eFOLDi, primarily as a mobility scooter, because of what it offers for me personally, in meeting my day-to-day needs.

 

eFOLDi - Winner of British Invention of The Year 2016!

 

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eFOLDi - Winner of British Invention of The Year 2016!

 

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eFOLDi - Winner of British Invention of The Year 2016!

 

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