Help with ECV please...

dyna

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 30, 2005
DH is thinkin about getting himself a ECV not so much for Disney it would allow us to go to parks again esp if by some miracle I could get 1 too.

We have NO clue as to where or how to start looking an hoping some of my friends here can give us some guidance.

DH is 6 foot but height from waist up an weighs 210 to 225 (I see so many trying to use ECV that is to small for them I don't want that for DH.

Thinking about his over all comfort with comfortable seat height width including back to front of seat, height of back of seat an support he has lots of back pain, needs to be able to stretch his legs out a bit. Smoothness of ride don't need to feel every crack in sidewalk.

I think we'd prefer 4 wheels to 3.

It's just DH an I got a mini van we can take back seat out an I seen a ramp the other day like we'd need. We'd want to haul it inside the van as the ECV would live there when not in use.

TIA to anyone who can steer us where we need to an do etc

PS DH would never rent a ECV to see if he found it comfy and he just not up to getting out an shopping.
 

mamabunny

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 11, 2012
DH is thinkin about getting himself a ECV not so much for Disney it would allow us to go to parks again esp if by some miracle I could get 1 too.

We have NO clue as to where or how to start looking an hoping some of my friends here can give us some guidance.
Has he ever sat on an ECV, or rented one from an outside vendor at WDW?

If so, that's where to start. What did he like about those experiences? How high did the seat back come up? Was the seat a molded type foam, or was it more like an upholstered cushion? What features did he like? What features did he think he would never use? ...You get the idea. Use the information you have to start building an idea of what is best for him.

If he has never sat on an ECV, then things become trickier - and there is the potential that you could make an expensive mistake. Let's keep going...

DH is 6 foot but height from waist up an weighs 210 to 225 (I see so many trying to use ECV that is to small for them I don't want that for DH.

Thinking about his over all comfort with comfortable seat height width including back to front of seat, height of back of seat an support he has lots of back pain, needs to be able to stretch his legs out a bit. Smoothness of ride don't need to feel every crack in sidewalk.
Right. He's a fairly tall guy, but not in need of a bariatric (heavy duty) unit.

By their very nature, ECVs tend to be a "bumpier" ride, simply because of how they are made. Four smaller (usually puncture-proof hard foam or solid "rubber") wheels on the ground and typically not much in the way of shock absorbers or ride levelers. If he can't stand the idea of feeling the (literal) bumps in his road, he may be better suited to a power wheelchair. Those tend to have a slightly longer learning curve as far as driving them, and also tend to be more expensive. They are also another topic, for another day.

I have yet to actually find a "portable" ECV that will give a smooth, perfect ride. To my knowledge (no matter what the manufacturer or the rental company says) that just doesn't exist.

You can get into some *very* expensive, very heavy duty ECVs that are actually engineered more like a golf cart, and have full suspensions, sprung seats, etc., however those require a trailer to be towed, and are so large that they are not allowed in Disney, or inside most venues, like stores, restaurants, etc. Additionally, remember that Disney (or most any other place) does not allow 2 seaters, or devices that are designed to carry more than 1 person. Disney's bus ramps are listed at 32 inches wide by 48 inches long. Anything larger/longer and you may not be able to load it onto a Disney bus, Monorail or boat.

I think we'd prefer 4 wheels to 3.
OK. That's a personal preference. I like 3 wheels over 4 because I get a tight turning radius, (so I can spin around on one back wheel and I don't need a big open space) People think that they will "tip over" on a 3 wheel. They won't. Believe me, if someone was going to tip over, I would have by now. And I haven't.

Modern ECVs are designed to have a lower center of gravity - so it is less likely to tip over, whether there are 3 wheels or 4. And by engineering the wheelbase correctly, 3 wheels are no "tippier" than 4. It is true that you have to watch the road ahead a bit more with a 3 wheel; for example, the trolley tracks on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom need to be crossed at a 90 degree angle (perpendicular) to the track. And don't drive directly into potholes. (But don't do that with any mobility device, regardless)

What you want to consider here is that every wheel, every piece of shiny plastic (that is just cosmetic), every additional feature - like built in cupholders and giant baskets and thickly padded seats with flip-up armrests... every thing you add to an ECV as a "feature" also adds weight.

Weight kills batteries. Batteries are what propels the ECV.

Batteries are a whole 'nother topic as well. Ideally, you want Lithium Ion; you will get longer life, lighter weight and more battery "cycles" (the number of times it can be discharged and recharged) with no "memory" effect. On the other hand, many of the "standard" ECVs that you will see in use at WDW have batteries that are more like a sealed automobile battery. Cheaper for the manufacturer, but heavier (so ironically, less time to use the ECV) and can take longer to charge.

If you (and/or your hubby) are OK with trading battery longevity for creature comforts and appearances, then again - that's a personal choice. Everyone has to find the right balance for them :)

It's just DH an I got a mini van we can take back seat out an I seen a ramp the other day like we'd need. We'd want to haul it inside the van as the ECV would live there when not in use.
That's a good idea. Here's what to remember about using ramps - the weight of the ramp + how high you have to be able to lift that.

Make sure that you and/or your hubby can pick up the weight of one (or both) ramps by yourself to stow it in the van. It seems - at first glance - that a ramp will be easier and smarter; you can push the ECV up into the back of the van, and you don't have to take it apart, and away you go!

The reality is, that a 100 pound ECV being pushed up a ramp, even with the brake off, is still 100 pounds of "dead" weight you are pushing on. Once you have it up inside the vehicle, you have to secure it - set the brake, and/or tie it down. Then, you have to haul the ramp(s) up and stow them, and (ideally) tie them down as well for safety.

It's a lot to do, and it will seem exponentially harder if it's raining, or icy or cold or too hot. (personal experience)

You also have to be able to do all of that in reverse, every time you want to take it back out of the vehicle. Make sure that you can control the weight of the ECV as it is coming back down the ramp - you don't want to get run over (literally) by a runaway ECV.

Most folks buy an ECV that can either be folded and lifted into the back of the vehicle (these fall into the "super lightweight" category - tend to weigh between 35 and 50 pounds, and are often 3 wheeled) or they buy a unit that can be disassembled (relatively) quickly into "chunks" or parts that weigh about 50 pounds per part, and are then lifted into the back of your vehicle.

The down side to the larger, heavier ECV that has to be taken apart/re-assembled for use is that you have to do that every single time you load it into/out of your vehicle. In all kinds of weather.

Make sure that you can lift at least 50 pounds, or whatever the largest, heaviest part of the ECV is into the back of your van FROM THE GROUND, prior to purchasing.

Storing the ECV inside the vehicle is great strategy - but you will have to make sure you have a way to charge it up between uses. If the battery doesn't come out of the ECV to be charged indoors, you may have to run an extension cord through an (open) window on your van, or leave a door cracked to allow for the cord. Obviously, you will have to disconnect the power cord prior to going anywhere in the van.

My personal ECV lives in the back of my Kia Soul - but I bring the battery into the house to charge it when it requires it. The battery is the heaviest single part of my scooter.

TIA to anyone who can steer us where we need to an do etc

PS DH would never rent a ECV to see if he found it comfy and he just not up to getting out an shopping.
I understand that he doesn't want to go ECV shopping. It's a hassle. It's not fun. And not feeling good on top of that makes it a difficult chore.

But... here's where the potential for that expensive mistake lies. No one here can really tell you what to buy. We can give you information, and we can tell you what we have each bought, and why we bought it, but at the end of the day, your hubby is the one who will be using the device.

I've tried to help you see some of the things that may not be immediately obvious about owing and using an ECV on a daily basis. I'm not trying to convince you not to buy one - far from it. I just don't want you to go down the wrong path, and then be stuck with an expensive mistake that your hubby can't use, or doesn't like.

He needs to be the one who decides what to buy, because he will be the one who is using it. Our personal mobility devices become an extension of ourselves, and for his to be the best possible "fit" he needs to be directly involved in the decision.

I don't know where you live, but if you are in a bigger city where there are companies that rent ECVs, I would start by having a rental delivered to your house. Rent it for the minimum number of days you can, and that way he has a chance to try it from the relative comfort of home. It could be that he will find "the one" right off the bat - but if he doesn't, then you haven't committed to an expensive purchase.

As you probably know, most standard health insurance doesn't cover the cost of an ECV. Not sure where Medicare is currently regarding coverage for these devices; historically, getting an ECV paid for by your insurer is difficult at best.

Also, I don't know if he is a veteran - there are some options for vets, but they must be approved and go through the VA medical system for that. Last I heard, the VA has a list of approved devices.

I know I just typed a whole lot, LOL and I hope it's not too overwhelming. I just want you to make the most informed decision possible. There's a whole lot more to consider - I'm sure I haven't covered near everything, but that's the beauty of our community here. Others will come along, and add to this, and hopefully you will get a good idea of the direction that is best for you and your hubby to go. :)
 

dyna

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 30, 2005
Thank you Mommabunny you have given us a lot to think about.

I'm local to Disney about 45 mins away so the Disney buses are not used much anymore.

DH has visions of riding the ECV up the ramp into the van an riding it off maybe that idea doesn't work...Plans to exit out the side door of van.

Van is garage kept at home an garage has an electrical outlet almost straight out from the side door we might need an extension cord but that not a problem...DH is a retired electrician he knows size of wire needed etc can even make 1 the exact size he needs.

We leave at least 1 of the side doors open in the garage most of the time just to keep the air circulating in van so we don't get that shut up vehicle smell.
 

mamabunny

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 11, 2012
Lucky you, living so close to Disney World! :)

DH has visions of riding the ECV up the ramp into the van an riding it off maybe that idea doesn't work...Plans to exit out the side door of van.
Maybe I'm not picturing your van correctly - has your DH measured the height of the opening of the van? I'm concerned that he will have to duck to ride "into" the back of the van - and that's a best case scenario. Additionally, unless you have very long ramps, the ECV may not have the torque to propel up the ramp with a rider, let alone by itself. Standard length ramps will create an incline that is greater than the ECV is designed to operate at. And backing down an incline that steep is *not* safe with a rider aboard. There won't be room inside the van to turn the ECV around to ride it out forward - and even if that was possible, it would be quite unsafe as well; the angle at which the front end would impact the ground coming off the ramps would most likely cause damage to the ECV, and possibly flip the rider over the front end, onto the pavement.

You could *possibly* use the ramps - if you have long enough ramps to create the proper incline. However, that will involve placing ramps well out into traffic in a parking lot - and possibly all the way across the lane of traffic, depending on how the lot is laid out. That much ramp - even folding "lightweight" ramps - will most likely be too heavy for you to lift, or if it is built in sections, you would have to be able to lift multiple sections (again, think about how many times can you lift 50 pounds into and out of the van, from ground level?) to create a ramp safe enough to ride on.


We leave at least 1 of the side doors open in the garage most of the time just to keep the air circulating in van so we don't get that shut up vehicle smell.
We do that too! LOL my neighbor thinks I'm crazy, but I don't like getting into a "stuffy" vehicle! :)
 

dyna

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 30, 2005
I see our problems now thank you Mommabunny... DH has said no more about the ECV so maybe he knows his idea won't work too unless he brings it up again I just going to let it go for now.
 


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