A month ago my folding electric wheelchair arrived from Better Products for Disabled People. I invested my back dated Personal Independence Payment into this purchase after finally agreeing with Occupational Therapists that an electric wheelchair would broaden my life beyond what I could enjoy with my mobility scooter.
I tried lots of different electric wheelchairs before deciding to ask for a trial of the BPDP10J but all of them had one major drawback, they wouldn't fit in our car, let alone in a smaller car. My goal for the electric wheelchair was to get out and about more with friends in their cars and for work using taxis; but the conventional power chair market had nothing which could help with this. It was the folding aspect of the BPDP10J which appealed to me and made it something worth trying.
I emailed BPDJ and spoke to Shaun who said he had a customer who would happily bring his wheelchair to me to try. Within a few days Alan and his wonderful wife arrived at my house with his BPDP10J wheelchair, unloaded it, opened it and invited me to have a spin. I couldn't believe how easy it was for Alan to get the wheelchair out of his car and was amazed by the simple way it opened up ready for use. I had a slow, and then quicker, spin around the close outside my home and was sold almost straight away. My only concern was that the footplate was small and meant I couldn't get my legs comfortable, which I knew would become a major issue with my MS pain. Alan said that BPDP were looking at making larger footplates and I should speak to Shaun, which I did who said he would make it happen for me, no problem at all.
I can not overestimate the benefit of speaking to someone like Alan who is also disabled and seeing the chair in action; or the positivity of Shaun at BPDP in every conversation we ever had and the way he completely understood what my issues were and what I needed. I was concerned that I would be getting the first of the newly designed models, but was reassured that they would make sure the chair would be altered to meet my needs. I was safe in their hands.
The worst part of the whole experience from enquiry to trial to order to delivery was the wait to get the 10J model; it seemed to take forever to arrive from China and make it through customs. But it was worth the wait, which actually was less than 3 weeks, to have the first of the newest specification models with the larger footplate; it is wonderful.
Over the last 3 weeks I have tested the BPDP10J all over the place. I started around the house but quickly decided I needed a larger space to practice my turning skills, especially my reversing. I think this was as much to do with my hand eye coordination, extremely minimal eye sight and confidence than anything.
We decided that the best place to go would be our local supermarket and I put a warning on Facebook for everyone so that they knew the yellow peril (Alan named us thus) was on the move. I know the store well and have taken my mobility scooter there quite a few times and therefore this was a good place to compare and contrast as well as try out the BPDP10J maneuverability.
Mike and I were both really impressed with how little space it needed in the boot of the car. It could probably fit behind a front seat if no one was in the back, but we haven't tried that out. In the supermarket I was shocked by how much better it could get round obstacles and corners, it literally turns on a penny if I get my hand eye coordination sorted. It can get through much smaller spaces and is much smoother as well as a much more comfortable position, leaving me less tired and therefore more able to cope with the other MS symptoms. The yellow colour did nothing to help people see me, but I've decided that that's as much to do with being lower and disabled people being invisible than anything else.
I took the 10J to a garden centre, a local coffee shop, to a restaurant, to the theatre, to a scouting meeting and to church over the next few days and the only problems I encountered were that it doesn't cope so well offroad and that everyone wants a go!!
Then this past week we have been on holiday in Lancashire. We were staying in a beautiful cottage in the countryside and we took both the mobility scooter and the BPDP10J. The plan was to use the mobility scooter around the farm and anywhere with offroad type elements; and use the wheelchair everywhere else. Over the week I took it all over Blackpool with great success along the promenade, across tram tracks, down the piers, through arcades and shops and into restaurants;
around Manchester city centre and across to the old UMIST campus;
to a number of different restaurants where it was always the most comfortable seat in the place; and I even got down to the lamb pens on the farm which I really didn't expect to manage.
So, in case you haven't guessed, my verdict is that the BPDP10J is brilliant. It fits in pretty much any car, it goes on for miles and miles, it's really comfortable and easy to use and it looks cool too. I won't use it for a walk in the woods, but pretty much everywhere else it is my wheels of choice.
I have received no remediation for this review, but Better Products for Disabled People have made a £100 donation to the MS Trust in my name.
Below I have provided a video of the BPDP10J in action along with some of the specifications.
Folding size 590×325×780mm
Unfolding size 975×590×935mm.
Loading capacity of 180 kg.
It can reach to 6km/h with a driving range of 25 km.
10J can climb up to 12°.
It weighs 24 kg (without batteries) and 27 kg (with batteries).
It has a seat width-depth-and height of 480mmX430mmX460mm.